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Connemara ponies head off to South Korea

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Connemara ponies are set to break new ground internationally and leave their footprint on the fields of South Korea.

Nineteen ponies left Clifden on Wednesday morning on the first leg of their long journey to the Far East in an initiative pioneered by the Connemara Pony Sales company based in Clifden.

The nineteen ponies that left Clifden – ten of them bought in Connemara – are part of a 30 strong contingent of the breed that will lay the foundations for the fostering of the Connemara breed in South Korea.   The remaining eleven ponies were collected from Mullingar.

Five representatives from a company involved in the equine industry in South Korea came to Ireland in recent weeks and viewed upwards of sixty mares in the five to eight year old category.

Pádraig Heanue, manager of the Clifden Mart and Connemara Pony Sales, says it was a highly focused initiative.

“Our contacts with the South Korean group have been ongoing since last November and there were a wide range of issues that had to be dealt with before the trucks finally rolled out of Clifden with the ponies on board,” he said.

The Korean group wanted all mares to be in-foal, and blood testing regimes, scanning and a battery of examinations had to be carried out at the Equine Centre.

The Korean group had two vets with them and the thirty ponies from the native Connemara breed were carefully selected.

Pádraig Heanue explains that the first objective of the Korean group will be to begin the breeding programme.

“They are set to immediately double their numbers when the 29 mares foal this year.  From there on the stallion that has gone out will be used in the breeding programme,” he said.

Mr Heanue says that the Korean sales could not come at a better time.

“It was more difficult to get sale for mares as there is a new emphasis on trained and broken-in ponies.  So this initiative opened up a new avenue for us”.

The South Korean company focused on the Connemara pony because of its temperament.  While their project is in the early stages, they see many possibilities in the Connemara pony for breeding and showing purposes – and for eventing and competitions.

While details of prices paid are not being disclosed it is understood that the Connemara pony initiative has cost the Korean group substantial money.

Even the logistics of getting the ponies transported halfway across the world are highly challenging.

They will travel by road and by sea ferry to Germany and from there a special plane has been chartered to transport all 30 ponies to South Korea.

After their long journey they will be put out on farmland.  And in the Far East they will begin their mission of establishing a permanent foothold for the native breed from the mountains of Connemara on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean.

Connacht Tribune

Tuam students have warm welcome for Eddie, the Labrador who is already top of the class

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Eddie the dog, Tuam's Mercy Convent newest addition.

A North Galway school has unveiled their newest member – Eddie, the three-year-old Labrador dog.

The new canine recruit works as a therapy, or education, aid for students in Mercy Secondary School, Tuam – and he has already been a huge hit with students.

Scoil Bhride Principal Gearoid Leen has described the dog as an essential part of the learning process within the school.

The pure-bred Labrador is one of just eight community dogs that have been assigned to schools across the country.

This week, the new arrival was introduced to students and parents as part of the learning process. The presence of the dog relaxes students and, apparently, helps with their concentration.

Eddie’s fourth birthday is on March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day – and, such is his instant popularity, the students have a special celebration in mind.

The newest addition to the secondary school has been trained by the Irish Guide Dogs Association and Eddie, along with his trained handlers Sarah Molloy and Catherine Murphy, now becomes part of the essential learning process within the school.

The Labrador and his handlers work alongside the teachers and educational staff in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions.

Together, Eddie and his handlers participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Parents have responded positively to the new arriva, saying that more schools should try and apply for the scheme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Claregalway traffic plan is still stuck in neutral

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Stuck...another setback for Claregalway traffic calming scheme.

The long-awaited traffic calming scheme in Claregalway has suffered yet another setback – with engineers now looking at an ‘alternative solution’ amid a dispute over land acquisition.

A meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District heard the Council was seeking to acquire privately-owned lands to progress a surface water drainage scheme at the bridge – but despite protracted negotiations, the Council had hit ‘difficulties in finding a solution’.

Until the surface water issue was sorted, the long-approved traffic calming scheme could not progress and because of the delays, the local authority was now looking at an alternative plan.

Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind) hit out at what he called ‘inordinate delays’ to progressing the scheme and said it was almost three years since Councillors approved planning permission for the traffic calming scheme.

“People can only put up with so much and this is a national primary road,” said Cllr Cuddy.

“Claregalway seems to be a forgotten area – an area totally neglected by the Council and by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).”

Regular road flooding outside Centra in the town meant a drainage scheme was required and Senior Engineer Damien Mitchell said the traffic calming scheme would not go ahead until that was completed.

“We are still having trouble acquiring the land at the bridge. It is quite sensitive at the moment and we are looking at alternatives because it is taking so long to find a solution.

“We thought we were reaching a solution recently but the situation has changed again,” said Mr Mitchell.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Domestic violence hits Covid heights

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Galway saw a 43 per cent hike in the number of Garda call-outs for domestic violence last year compared to before the pandemic.

But experts have warned the worst may be yet to come – with predictions that people fleeing domestic violence are more likely to present now that restrictions are lifted and services resume.

That’s the fear of Dr Carol Baumann, head of the domestic abuse service at Cope Galway which runs Galway’s refuge Modh Eile House. The service has seen a twelve per cent increase in demand in the last year compared to pre-pandemic times.

It corresponds with an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents responded to by Galway Gardaí in 2021.

Figures released by the Aontú party found there were 1,792 domestic violence incidents reported to Gardaí here, a jump of 285 compared to 2020 and a hike of 539 incidents on the figures for 2019. That’s an increase of 19 and 43 per cent respectively.

Dr Baumann believes these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the situation on the ground.

“In general women only go to the guards where physical abuse has taken place or there is a risk of it, but abuse is much more pervasive. At the moment life is feeling abnormal and when the world is not feeling stable, you’re not going to destabilise it more by seeking help,” she opined.

“I think the real increase will come after the pandemic not during it.

“When you don’t feel safe, when you feel you have no control, you don’t have autonomy over your choices, that’s domestic violence. The pandemic aggravated that, but it didn’t cause it. What the pandemic did was unmask intimate partner abuse – urging us to limit our contacts, limit our movements, that was music to the ears of somebody who wanted to abuse a partner.”

She fears that many will be coming to the end of their tether after a long two years of restrictions being imposed and lifted.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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