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Connemara station to assess potential for ocean energy

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Technology currently being tested off Galway Bay in Connemara is on the crest of new wave energy.

Plans to develop an ‘ocean energy test bed’ in Galway Bay are currently being advanced by a collaboration of several State agencies.

It is planned that a sea-station, off An Spidéal, to assess and harness the potential of ocean energy, will be installed this coming summer.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Marine Institute, the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (UCC) and SmartBay Ireland are working together to develop the ocean energy test bed in Galway Bay.

The project is being funded by Science Foundation Ireland and will provide a test and demonstration facility for marine energy and technology. It will be deployed at the existing one-quarter scale wave energy test site near An Spidéal and will be used for testing, demonstrating and validation of renewable energy devices and marine environmental sensors and technologies.

The project includes a standard telecommunications cable from a shore station via the new pier at An Spidéal to the wave energy test site providing power and data connectivity.

It also consists of a subsea test and monitoring devices; and a floating ‘sea station’ platform which is currently being tendered for by SEAI.

The four kilometre cable will be installed in April, 2015 using the Marine Institute’s research vessel the R.V. Celtic Explorer and will come ashore at the pier at An Spidéal.

The cable will attach to the sea station at the test site. The sea station will be a small floating research platform approximately 50 metres squared.

It will facilitate power and communication to wave energy devices and will act as a simulated grid connection. It will also provide a safe and stable research environment for scientists and engineers who need to work at the test site, according to SEAI. Subject to successful procurement it will be deployed at the test site in summer 2015.

The Galway Bay test site is located 1.5km off An Spidéal in water depths ranging from 20m – 23m within Galway Bay and is used for testing quarter-scale prototype wave energy devices.

According to SEAI, “The license for the site has been held by the Marine Institute since 2006. The site has provided test and validation facilities for a number of devices to date. Extensive historical wave and weather data is available for the site. This data has been gathered and collated since 2008, and can be made available to potential device developers upon request.”

The SEAI added it has been, “working closely with the Marine Institute to promote and develop ocean energy potential in Ireland. At 900,000 square kilometres Ireland’s sea area is around ten times the size of our land area.  With one of the best offshore renewable energy resources in the world, the opportunities are immense.

“In February 2014 the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan to enable Ireland to develop this potential and to become an export market in green energy with enhanced security of supply. SEAI have been working closely with DCENR to implement this plan.”

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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