Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Department earmarks second site for school after negotiations fall through

Denise McNamara

Published

on

Deputy Denis Naughten

Negotiations over a site earmarked for a school for children with special needs have fallen through – but the Department of Education is now in talks with a second landowner about an alternative location.

St Teresa’s Special School in Ballinasloe had been threatened with closure earlier this year as the provider Ability West was unable to meet the insurance premium, which skyrocketed by nearly €24,000 in two years.

The school, which has 20 students and 15 staff, is currently located in temporary accommodation on the grounds of St Brigid’s, the former psychiatric hospital in the town.

Moving into a purpose-built facility is predicted to result in a sizable reduction in insurance costs as the risk of incidents is lessened.

Former minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that negotiations for the purchase of a site for the new school which had been in train since May have failed to reach an agreement. The Department was now engaging with another landowner to buy a second site.

In answer to a parliamentary question from Deputy Naughten, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh stated that the sites were identified by Galway County Council and were then comprehensively assessed before a preferred site option was identified. There is no indication when or if the deal will be concluded.

“Please be assured that this Department is doing all it can to progress the matter,” insisted Minister McHugh.

Deputy Naughten said parents needed a clear commitment of funding for the project.

“For far too long children with special needs have had to travel great distances to access education. We now have a facility on our doorstep and we need a commitment that the money will be put in place to allow for the construction of a purpose-built school for the children of Ballinasloe, east Galway and south Roscommon,” he stated.

“While it is disappointing that these talks have fallen through, I hope that the talks on the alternative site will lead to a positive outcome for local pupils.”

Following a campaign by parents and local politicians, The Department of Education stepped in last June and gave an advance on their capitation grant of €23,000 to ensure the school paid its insurance premium for the year ahead and stayed open.

Special schools around the country have been struggling with rising insurance premiums because of a higher number of claims lodged.

The principal Anita O’Reilly said the school will await news about progress on the site.

“As the school is growing, we are rapidly running out of space in our existing accommodation.”

They are also hoping for confirmation from the Department that special schools, irrespective of their patronage, will be covered by the state’s claims agency in the future.

Connacht Tribune

Covid lockdown returns for Kildare, Laois and Offaly

Enda Cunningham

Published

on

The Government has announced localised lockdowns for people living in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, following a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past week.

People from outside of those counties have been asked not to travel their unless for work or essential travel.

The restrictions affect travel, pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and cinemas.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the clusters of new cases were of serious concern and described the restrictions as “limited”.

“Over the past 14 days 292 cases of Covid-19 have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time.

“These measures are being put in place to protect the vulnerable in these counties as well as to stop the spread of the virus.

They are in place for two weeks from midnight tonight (Friday) until midnight on Friday, August 20. The situation will then be reviewed,” the Taoiseach said.

Travel and transport

You can only travel within your county, other than for the following reasons:

  • to travel to and from work where that work cannot be done from home
  • to attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products
  • for vital family reasons, like providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits
  • for farming purposes, food production or care of animals

You should not travel into any of these counties, other than for the reasons above, and you need to travel through these counties to get somewhere else. You should not stop in Kildare, Laois or Offaly unless for essential purposes.

Public and private transport

You should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, and where possible you should not share private vehicles with others from outside your household.

Education and childcare

The following services remain open with appropriate protective measures in place:

  • education and childcare
  • outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
  • Economic activity and work
  • Anyone in these counties who can work from home should work from home.

Social

Cafes and restaurants

  • All cafes and restaurants, including bars operating as restaurants, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing).
  • Hotels can remain open but must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons. Existing guests can remain for the duration of their booking.

Indoor gatherings

  • All indoor gatherings should be restricted to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 3 households in total, while maintaining physical distancing.

Outdoor gatherings

  • Outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.

Cultural and religious

  • All cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios are required to close.
  • Attendance at a funeral service and burial or cremation ceremony should be limited to 25 outdoors. Indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
  • Places of worship remain open for private prayer, while services are to be held online.

Sport

No sporting events or matches should take place, with the following exemptions:

  • non-contact training outdoors in a maximum group of 15 people may continue
  • professional and elite sports and horse-racing may continue behind closed doors
  • inter-county training (max 15 people) and fixtures may continue behind closed doors

Residential and healthcare facilities

*Visiting in long-term residential care facilities, acute settings and prisons will generally be suspended in the first instance with the exception of the most critical and compassionate circumstances (for example end of life).

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Relocation homebuyers head to the west

Dara Bradley

Published

on

Clifden....popular destination.

The Coronavirus pandemic has encouraged a new exodus of homebuyers to relocate to the west, with remote working now a viable option for many employees.

Galway’s busiest auctioneer has noticed increased interest in properties in the city and county from workers relocating from Dublin, its commuter belt and the Midlands.

The availability of high-speed broadband, which can facilitate working from home, is a determining factor in many homebuyers’ decisions to move to the West.

But the high cost of renting remains the single biggest incentive for people to get on the property ladder, according to Niall Browne, senior sales negotiator at O’Donnellan and Joyce Auctioneers.

“People are paying such high rent that it’s the equivalent to a mortgage repayment and that’s when you buy. That’s the biggest incentive to buy – you’re not giving away dead money,” Mr Browne said.

The property market locally had quietened in the initial months of the Covid-19 lockdown – but it has been buoyant in the past two months in particular, he said.

Mr Browne suggested there was an element of pent-up demand for housing that was now being realised as the Covid lockdown restrictions focused people’s minds on their desire to purchase a home.

“We typically try to get eight to ten sales per month by private treaty, and we had 28 or 29 last month. The previous month was six and the previous month was eight. This month (July) we’re up to 26, and that’s outside of our auction,” he said.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Nursing Homes shun student nurses over Covid fears

Stephen Corrigan

Published

on

Student nurses in Galway are facing financial doom as part-time employers shun those currently on work placement in hospitals over fears they are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19.

First year nursing student at NUI Galway Ciarán Mac an tSaoir told the Connacht Tribune that this had become a particular issue for first and second year students who would traditionally take on healthcare assistant roles in nursing homes, where the fear of spreading the virus is at fever pitch.

“After semester one in first year, you are essentially qualified as a healthcare assistant and a lot of students would take that up as an option. Since Covid-19 came in, a lot of work places are fearful of cross-contamination and that’s not unjustified.

“It’s very understandable that a nursing home wouldn’t want a student who might be going between five or six clinical areas in an acute hospital to be then coming into work in the nursing home,” said Mr Mac an tSaoir.

Nursing students, for whom a large proportion of their university experience is spent on unpaid work placement, spend up to 35-hours a week in a clinical setting and so that could mean them travelling between a Covid-19-free setting of a nursing home to a respiratory word in a hospital such as UHG, he explained.

However, this wasn’t a HSE policy but rather the decision of individual care facilities who were doing their best to ensure coronavirus was kept out.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Advertisement

Weather

Weather Icon
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending