There is consternation in South Connemara over the extraction of millions of litres of water from a lake which is being used by the operators of a local fish farm.
Locals say that the lake is often used to feed the local regional water supply when there is a drought – and they add that water levels are dropping dramatically.
Added to all of this is the fact that the two mile long pipe from Loch an Oir lake to the sea at Cill Chiaráin was allegedly damaged and is now the subject of a Garda investigation.
The operators of the fish farm off the coast at Cill Chiaráin are bringing fresh water from the lake to treat salmon that have contacted Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD).
It seems that the salmon stocks are immersed in the fresh water as a means of getting rid of the potentially fatal disease.
But there is anger that a pipe measuring between two and three miles was installed without any planning permission, it is alleged by locals.
A spokesperson for Marine Harvest said that they were working closely with all the relevant authorities to ensure that these essential measures could be undertaken swiftly and appropriately.
“This is a short term measure, taking place over five days, and we do not anticipate any impact on the water supply to the local population.
“There has been extensive consultation locally and we have the expressed support of the local community group,” the spokesperson added.
Resident Aine Ni Cheannabhain said that the pipe was going over a mountain and across a Special Area of Conservation without any permission being sought. She argued that an Environmental Impact Study should have been carried out but this was not done either.
Ms Ni Cheannabhain said that Udaras na Gaeltachta had the licence for fish farm and that it was being operated by Marine Harvest, who breed organic salmon in various parts of the world.
Cllr. Tomas Welby explained that there was an upper and lower lake and this particular lake was used in the event of a shortage of water.
He also said that the water was extracted by means of a diesel pump and there were local fears that this could cause contamination to the lake.
Cllr. Welby added that if it was an individual using so much water, they would be charged handsomely for the privilege by Irish Water.
Irish Water said that there was no agreement in place to extract the water from the lake and that they were monitoring the situation to ensure that there was no impact on the drinking water.
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.
It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.
General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.
She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.
Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.
Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.
Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.
She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.
Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!
Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.
Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.
Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.
The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.
Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.
“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.
*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.