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Connacht Tribune

Crackdown is working on fly-tipping



Galway County Council’s campaign to stamp out illegal dumping is working, a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee has heard.

According to Chair of the JPC’s Illegal Dumping & Littering sub-committee, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher, the €82,000 spent by the local authority cleaning up litter blackspots has rid many areas of the scourge of illegal dumping – with an investment in CCTV cameras acting as a deterrent for repeat offenders.

In many cases, culprits have been rooted out, by means of anonymous reports or by searching the rubbish for evidence which may reveal their identity, said the Loughrea-based councillor, adding that the Council is successfully bringing the culprits before the courts.

“It’s great to note that there are cases in front of the courts for people who were caught dumping. These people have been warned, on radio, in the papers, all over the place.

“I’m not sorry for them,” said Cllr Maher.

CCTV cameras have been installed, or are due to be installed, in a number of locations known for regular dumping. The cameras, which are hidden in boxes, could be placed anywhere, said Cllr Maher, and so those engaged in the activity are unaware they are being watched.

He praised the work of Gardaí who join forces with community wardens to tackle the problem – an approach he said had been hugely successful.

“The initiative we are taking is working and I think we need to promote Galway as a green county,” said Cllr Maher.

However, he warned that staff numbers in the Environment Section at County Hall would need to be increased if the problem was to be solved once and for all.

“I am calling on Galway County Council to make sure there is enough staff because presently, there is not.

“The people who are illegally dumping are not always nice people to deal with and it is understaffed,” said Cllr Maher.

Chair of the Joint Policing Committee, Cllr Peter Roche (FG) said despite the “exorbitant” cost of carrying out clean-ups, the benefits were “extremely welcome”.

Referring to one particular area that has been cleared in Abbeyknockmoy, Cllr Roche said it was now a popular route for local walkers.

“The one thing that must come from us, as a Council, is resources. I don’t want it to be that we’d ever, as the local authority, be skimping with the resources we employ or deploy in tackling this blight on society.

“Anyone who thinks it’s okay, or continues repeatedly dumping, won’t get away with it for too long,” said Cllr Roche.

Cllr Maher said the sub-committee had also been working with local businesses to reduce waste and packaging and praised one local fast food outlet for the example they had set.

“I have to compliment Supermac’s. They have set up a green team in each of their outlets and they do a litter pick after closing, 100 yards to each side of the business.

“They have reduced packaging and I have to compliment Pat and Una McDonagh for that,” he said.

The sub-committee has been working to encourage businesses to eliminate single-use plastics in favour of items like paper straws and reusable cups.

Cllr Maher said they were in talks with the Council to ensure that all of its operations would be setting an example, and called on the Gardaí to do the same.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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