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Council asked to tackle illegal encampments

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Service roads just off the motorway approaching Ballinasloe are being used as illegal encampments by members of the Travelling community.

These service roads were used during the construction of the motorway and are now just being used by local landowners to access their property.

But now Travellers have moved in to these roads and Galway County Council has been asked to deal with the matter.

A meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council was informed that was an illegal encampment on one of these service roads close to the town.

The matter was raised by Cllr. Aidan Donohue of Fine Gael who said that it was not acceptable from a visual point of view.

He asked officials if there could be a barrier put up on these roads to prevent illegal settlements from taking place. He said that these roads were links to several farms.

Senior Roads Engineer Evan Molloy said that the involvement of the land owners in area was required in this situation.

He said that it was not a public road but he gave an undertaking to make contact with the operators of the M6 Motorway to try and deal with the situation.

Sinn Fein’s Cllr. Dermot Connolly made reference to a similar road at Beechlawn, Ballinasloe where he said that there was a problem with access.

He asked what was the situation if this road was being used for unauthorised purposes.

Chairman Cllr. Michael Connolly asked if he too was referring to an illegal settlement. “I never said that”, replied Cllr. Dermot Connolly.

In response Evan Molloy said that it would probably require the extinguishing of a right of way in this particular case. He said that this would have to go through the process of being published.

Cllr. Timmy Broderick asked what was the status of roads that had become cul-de-sacs as a result of the construction of the M6 Motorway.

He was informed that service roads were the responsibility of operators of the motorway. He was also informed that Council roads that had terminated as a result of the motorway would be maintained by the local authority.

But the issue of illegal settlements of the motorway on the approaches to Ballinasloe will be investigated by officials.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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