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Data protection frustrating efforts to tackle illegal dumping

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Data protection red tape is blocking those trying to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping, a meeting of County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) was told.

According to Cllr Shaun Cunniffe (Ind), councillors have been told that new bylaws to regulate the collection of waste will be restricted due to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – as waste collectors will not be able to divulge the names of those who have contracts with them.

Furthermore, Cllr Cunniffe said a list of those who are disposing of rubbish correctly would be useless, adding that until there is a “TV licence-style” waste collection register, there would be a reliance on community clean-ups to stop the countryside becoming a haven for fly-tippers.

“If the waste disposal companies were to inform us of those who have a waste disposal contract, you would only have a list of those who are compliant.

“We need to confirm how people dispose of waste and ensure that it is compliant with the waste disposal regulations,” he continued.

Cllr Cunniffe said that having been involved in various community clean-ups, and bearing witness to the work that community groups like Tidy Towns do, he was often left wondering if he was “mad” to be cleaning up other people’s rubbish.

Senior Executive Scientist with Galway County Council, Ann Dolan, said Council resources were stretched to the limit dealing with illegal dumping and said there was to be a move away from community clean-ups – with local authorities tasked by the instructions from Government to come up with more effective means of eliminating fly-tipping.

“The Department has said . . . they don’t want funding used for cleanups. They don’t see the value in it and personally, myself, I don’t either.

“We’re just moving the problem – moving it from one road to another,” said Ms Dolan.

Chair of the JPC’s Illegal Dumping and Litter Awareness sub-committee, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (FG), told members that GDPR was also making it difficult to secure the erection of CCTV cameras at dumping hotspots – but the message that those caught would be “crisply fined” was getting out.

The Council has not yet appointed somebody to monitor CCTV and that was something he said was a priority for the sub-committee.

Cllr Maher suggested mirroring a community effort in Limerick where Good Friday would be used as a county-wide clean-up day.

“It is a great initiative for Galway to follow suit,” said Cllr Maher. “If we all came together for two hours that day, we could clean the county.”

Cllr James Charity (Ind) said that while community efforts were great at promoting collective responsibility, it was not good enough that the many were expected to clean up for the few.

“This is wanton and deliberate vandalism,” said Cllr Charity, adding that the confusion over GDPR were making it impossible for CCTV to be effective.

Taking the N84 Headford Road as an example, he said there were 10,000 cars per day travelling that road – and if GDPR required the permission of every driver to record their data because of the dumping site’s position next to the road, CCTV could not be used.

“This is a legislative issue and the Oireachtas needs to deal with it,” he added.

Chair of the JPC, Cllr Pete Roche (FG), said where there is currently CCTV installed, a more concerted effort needed to be made to extract the footage when illegal dumping occurred.

“The company that installed the CCTV cameras are not efficient enough in coming out and removing the chip to identify the perpetrator,” said Cllr Roche who explained the footage “eats its tail” after a relatively short period of time.

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots

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The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway passengers are all smiles at Shannon!

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Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport

The smiles on the faces at Shannon Airport very much told its own story this week – with passengers taking to skies as the easing of restrictions and the first day of the European Digital COVID Certificates took effect.

And it wasn’t just the joy of travel starting to resume that lifted spirits at the airport but also the announcement by Ryanair of a new once-weekly service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) to commence on August 7 – the third new service announcement for Shannon Airport over recent weeks.

There was a real sense of excitement as passengers of all ages became very much at ease with the heightened public safety measures in a ‘back-to-the-future’ day for the West of Ireland gateway airport.

There were reunions as inbound flights arrived but also a palpable degree of anticipation as others got set to depart on the earliest flight out of the airport today, the 7:10am flight to Gatwick.

Among those boarding was Clarenbridge native Claire Tomlin and her husband Jake, together with their three children, including their twins who turn a year old next week.

“It’s been amazing to get back. The kids saw their grandparents for the first time and their cousins and aunties and uncles, so it was fantastic,” said Claire.

“Shannon is just so convenient for us because it’s only about 40 minutes’ drive. So, it just makes everything a lot easier in terms of getting to and from places with little ones. So, yeah, Shannon is a great resource for us. Really, really good. We hope to be able to go back more and more.”

It was smiles all around for Shannon Airport staff as they got back to doing what they do best. “Well, today is a great day because you can see the atmosphere around the place, people are at ease here and they’re glad to be back, they’re glad to get up in the sky again,” said Shannon Duty Free Sales Associate Helen Quinlivan.

“It’s great to see the excitement. People are really looking forward to going back and seeing their loved ones and they’re very at ease.”

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A man lies on a bed of nails at the opening of Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road, on October 26, 1972

1921

Silence is golden

Leaders on both sides have stated that the best assistance the country can give in the making of peace is to keep silence.

During the past week there has been a great deal of speculation, most of it harmless enough, as, for instance, the enterprising American journalist’s “exclusive” on the first meeting of the British Premier and the President of the Irish Republic; much of it positively mischievous, as the case of the efforts of a certain journal, which has grown hoary in the reputation for throwing in the apple of discord, to anticipate failure in advance.

Our American colleague was on surer and on safer ground when he told of how de Valera and Lloyd George met.

“Mr. Lloyd George,” he cabled, “was sitting at his desk when the Irish President entered. For just a minute these two gazed fixedly at one another. Then the British Premier walked across the intervening space and shook de Valera by the hand. He led him to a seat where they sat side by side. The atmosphere was tense. They faced one another. Then Lloyd George reached down for a box of cigars. But the Irish President is of Spartan mould. He neither permits himself to drink nor smoke. He politely but firmly waved the box away. Mr. Lloyd George, however, selected and lighted a Havana, and as the smoke curled upwards the atmosphere became decidedly easier!”

Good planning

The wise and practical man always lays by a store against the time when supplies will be scarce. One of the most serious effects of the prolonged drought is the scarcity of supplies of fodder for cattle-feeding during the coming winter and spring.

The hay crop is not more than half the average yield. The corn crop is far below normal. Turnips in many districts are a partial failure. We have frequently emphasised the importance of growing catch-crops to supplement other feeding stuffs raised on the farm, but it is only under circumstances such as the present that their utility is brought home to farmers. Owing to the early harvest, a larger area than is usual can and should be put down this season. This would make good, to some extent, at least, the shortage of hay and other feeding-stuffs.

The demonstration plots laid down by the County Committee of Agriculture have shown that catch-crops, such as vetches and rye as well as other mixtures, can be successfully grown in all parts of County Galway.

We would urge on farmers the desirability – nay, the necessity – of procuring seed and making early preparation for the sowing of an increased area of catch-crops this season.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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