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Connacht Tribune

Concannon cuts loose as St James’ advance in title race

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St James' Alan Deacy tries to shake off the attentions of An Cheathrú Rua’s Stiofan O Briain during Saturday's senior football championship tie at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Enda Noone.

St James’ 2-18

An Cheathrú Rua 2-13

ST James’ maintained their 100%-win record in Group One of the 2018 Galway senior football championship when they defeated An Cheathrú Rua by five points in Salthill on Saturday evening.

A third group game victory on the trot has earned the city side a quarter-final place alongside Corofin, their opponents in the final group game, which will decide who tops the table.

An Cheathrú Rua suffered their second loss of the campaign and must muster a win against Claregalway in the last round of group games to secure senior status and avoid the relegation play-offs.

With 20 minutes gone, An Cheathrú Rua were seemingly cruising: Seven points to the good (1-7 to 0-3) and the impressive Oisin Ó Gríofa pulling the strings at centre-forward.

But the Gaeltacht outfit failed to push home their advantage and St James’ led by six points at the break, 2-11 to 1-8. Two words sum up this remarkable 13-points swing: Eoin Concannon.

Wearing 14, but operating wherever he liked in the James’ attack, Concannon gave an exhibition of football that simply destroyed the Connemara men.

Everything Concannon touched between the 20th and 30th minutes of the opening half resulted in a score: he struck 1-7 – all from play – during that 10 minutes spell, which effectively decided the game in his side’s favour.

No matter who An Cheathrú Rua put marking Concannon – Iarfhlaith Ó Conchubair, Cóilín Ó Domhnaill and Seamus Ó Loidéain all tried their hand at it – the former county star ran rings around them, and made it look almost effortless.

Concannon raised three white flags in three minutes to spark the revival. Then his goal came after midfielder Aaron Connolly dispossessed corner-back Seán Ó Tiarnaigh, who had collected a short kick-out, and brought James’ to within a point of their opponents.

An Cheathrú Rua stopped the rot when Niall Ó Briain split the posts but Concannon wasn’t done yet and the he struck four more points on the spin, including two within 20 seconds of each other in the 25th minute. Concannon was playing puck!

After 29 minutes Jack Ó Gaoithín came on and picked-up Concannon. In fairness, he did a better job than any of the players that had marked him up to that juncture – and kept him relatively quiet after the break, as the substitute stuck to him like Velcro – but by that stage the damage was done.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Unauthorised developments in County Galway go unchecked for months

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The Planning Enforcement Section of Galway County Council is so understaffed that complaints of unauthorised developments are not being investigated for months, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

In one case, a complaint alleging a house was under construction in a picturesque and environmentally sensitive part of Conamara without planning permission was not investigated by the Council for at least six months.

And it can be revealed that there is a ‘large’ backlog of complaints of unauthorised developments in the county, which the Planning Enforcement Section at County Hall has blamed on staff shortages, according to correspondence obtained by the Connacht Tribune under Freedom of Information (FOI).

In response to repeated requests by a concerned member of the public to intervene and investigate an allegation of unauthorised development in an environmentally protected area of Conamara, the Council’s Planning Department indicated it was too stretched.

“Unfortunately, the planning enforcement section is experiencing a period of prolonged staff shortages and consequently there are a large number of files awaiting investigation/review,” it said.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Access Centre provides pathways to University of Galway for the disadvantaged

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Photo of Imelda Byrne

Great leaps have been made in recent years to make access to tertiary level education a realistic prospect for once marginalised groups in society.

With the deadline for CAO applications approaching next week, the Access Centre at the University of Galway is aiming to reach as many underrepresented groups as possible ahead of next academic term.

Head of the Access Centre, Imelda Byrne (pictured), said research has shown that those who once felt third level ‘wasn’t for them’ are increasing their presence at UG, and bringing a richness to the sector that had for a long time been missing.

In the five years up to 2021, there was a 100% increase in the number of students registering for the Disability Support Service at the university, while those coming from Further Education and Training courses in institutes like GTI had surged by 211% over four years.

“The message that we really need to get out there is that the CAO is not the only route into third level. There are a number of pathways,” says Imelda.

“There are loads of places set aside for students coming from a place of disadvantage,” she continues, whether it’s national schemes such as the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) for socio-economic disadvantage; or the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE); or the university’s own programme for mature students.

Those places are there to ensure those from all backgrounds get an opportunity to reach their education potential, tapping into hugely talented groups that once may have missed that opportunity.

“What we have seen is that when they get that opportunity, they do just as well if not better than other students,” continues Imelda.

For HEAR and DARE scheme applicants, and for those hoping to begin higher education as a mature student, next Wednesday’s CAO deadline is critically important.

But beyond the CAO applications, the Access Programme will open up in March to guide prospective students, whatever challenges they are facing, into third level.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council ‘missing out on millions’ in derelict sites levies

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Photo of Cloonabinnia House

Galway County Council is missing out on millions of euro in untapped revenue due to a failure to compile a complete Derelict Sites Register.

That’s according to Galway East Sinn Féin representative, Louis O’Hara, who this week blasted the news that just three properties across the whole county are currently listed on the register.

As a result, Mr O’Hara said the Derelict Sites Levy was not being utilised effectively as countless crumbling properties remained unregistered – the levy amounts to 7% of the market value of the derelict property annually.

The former general election candidate said Galway County Council was ill-equipped to compile a proper list of derelict sites and called on Government to provide the necessary resources to tackle the scourge of dereliction across.

“There are still only three properties listed on Galway County Council’s Derelict Sites Register . . . anyone in Galway knows that this does not reflect the reality on the ground and more must be done to identify properties, and penalise owners who fail to maintain them,” said Mr O’Hara.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the Council failed to collect any of the levies due to them in 2021.

“This is deeply concerning when we know that dereliction is a blight on our communities. Derelict sites attract rats, anti-social behaviour and dumping, and are an eyesore in many of our local towns and villages.”

“The Derelict Sites Levy should be used as a tool by local authorities to raise revenue that can then be utilised to tackle dereliction, but they are not adequately resourced to identify and pursue these property owners,” said Mr O’Hara.

(Photo: The former Cloonabinnia House Hotel is on the Derelict Sites Register).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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