New statistics suggest that enforcement of dog control laws in Galway City was non-existent for a second year in a row.
The Department of Environment figures show that during a 24 months period, not one on-the-spot fine was issued by Galway City Council in relation to dog enforcement laws, which includes dog fouling, a problem that consistently blights parts of the city, and is regularly raised at Galway Joint Policing Committees.
By contrast, some 430 one-the-spot fines in relation to breaches of the Control of Dogs Act, were issued in Louth last year, and some 226 in Kerry, 224 in Monaghan and 111 in Offaly.
As well as dog defecating, owners of canines can receive on-the-spot fines for not having their dogs on a lead, for not having a licence for the dogs or for allowing them to run on the city’s beaches without a leash during the summer months.
The department’s figures show that the local authority-run dog pound in the city had income of just over €31,000 last year, and expenditure of over €96,000 meaning it had an operating deficit of just over €65,000.
The data shows that a total of 162 stray and unwanted dogs were surrendered or collected by the city’s dog pound in 2012 – some 87 of these were put down, two died of natural causes, and 73 were either reclaimed or re-housed.
A further 38 stray and unwanted greyhounds were surrendered/collected at the city pound and all of them were put down.
The department issued some 1,501 dog licences to city residents in 2012, 157 more than the previous year.
In County Galway, where there are two dog wardens operating from two local authority pounds, a total of 28 on-the-spot fines were issued last year.
In the county, a total of 404 dogs were seized by the County Council, and 13 were surrendered or collected. Of these, 366 were re-homed or reclaimed, and just 59 – far fewer than the city – were put down.
The County Council’s dog enforcement facilities also made a loss. It cost €182,000 to operate the facility in 2012, just over €59,000 more than the income it generated.
The Council issued some 7,186 individual dog licences last year, 716 fewer licences in 2012 compared with the previous year. It also issued nine general dog licences, whereas the city issued none.
Madra, the Connemara-based dog rescue and adoption service, said the figures highlights that “irresponsible and careless dog owners are living in our community”.
It highlighted that in County Galway there was a 23% increase in the number of dogs coming through the pound system was reported with an extra 65 dogs being taken in, bringing the total number to 417.
MADRA works with both local authorities and has helped to reduce the ‘put-to-sleep’ (PTS) rate in both counties. Since 2005 the County Galway PTS rate has fallen from 83% to 14% in 2012, which is down 4% in a year despite the increase in the number of dogs being seized or surrendered.
MADRA works with both local authorities and has helped to reduce the ‘put-to-sleep’ (PTS) rate in both counties. Since 2005 the county Galway PTS rate has fallen from 83% to 14%.
MADRA is a Connemara based dog rescue and adoption service dedicated to rescuing and re-homing abandoned, neglected and abused dogs. Last year MADRA rescued over 500 dogs and over 200 puppies.
Next Thursday, April 18 at 8.30pm, Crowe’s Bar in Bohermore will host a table quiz to fundraise for Madra. The charity relies on the support of members of the general public to continue to fund its work, with annual running costs of over €100,000 per annum. A table of four people will cost €40 with complimentary finger food. For more information on MADRA visit www.madra.ie or call (086) 8149026.
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.
Dismay as marine park proposal rejected by planners
A lifeline project, with the potential to create around 200 long-term jobs in an area of South Connemara ravaged by unemployment and emigration, has been rejected by planners – primarily environmental grounds.
The proposed marine park or Páirc na Mara, east of Cill Chiaráin village, was viewed by many as a real chance to turn the tide for this unemployment blackspot.
Locals – and the vast majority of Galway West politicians – were supportive of the project which was viewed as one that would revitalise the area.
That said, Galway County Council’s decision to refuse permission for the marine park was welcomed by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages which had expressed fears that the marine farm would extract huge amounts of fresh water to breed more than 1.5 million salmon smolts.
They said that millions of litres of fresh water would have been extracted on a regular basis by the salmon farm company operating the smolt rearing units – from the same lakes as the Carna and Cill Chiaráin water supply system.
“Local residents can now rest assured that their domestic water supply won’t be hijacked to line the pockets of people who have no regard for the local environment or residents,” said Billy Smyth, Chairman of Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.
It was proposed to provide a marine innovation park Pairc na Mara on a 60-acre brownfield site at Cill Chiarain.
The development involves the provision of a number of marine-based facilities as well as education and research facilities in the townlands of Cill Chiarain, Ardmore and Calvary.
It involves the abstraction of water from Lough Scannan, its transfer to and temporary storage in Iron Lake along with impoundment and pumping to the Marine Park site with a rising main.
According to the application, Galway County Council has previously granted planning permission for aquaculture-based activities on the site of the proposed marine park back in 2002 while the first phase of the innovation park was built in 2005.
There were a considerable number of submissions supporting the application with many saying that this part of Connemara would benefit greatly from such a development.
But there were others who expressed concern over the potential impact it would have on the environment, and it would be located in a highly sensitive area.
Cllr Gerry King said that it was a valuable opportunity lost to the area given the amount of unemployment that exists. He added that there was local outrage at the decision.
The Fianna Fail councillor met with those behind the project and residents in support of the project. He said that they all agreed that this decision should be appealed to the higher planning authority.
It was refused on the basis that it would adversely affect the integrity and conservation objectives of the European sides in the vicinity of environmental value.
Planners stated that they could not be certain that the project would not adversely affect the integrity of Cill Ciaran Bay, the islands and Connemara bog complex
They also said that the Environmental Impact Assessment Report did not present a sufficient level of information on the impact it would have on human health, biodiversity, land, soil, water along with cultural heritage and the landscape.
Council rules that honey business is in Special Area of Conservation
A North Connemara beekeeper has expressed his dismay at the County Council’s refusal to issue an exemption to allow him proceed with an apiary on farmlands at Rossadillisk.
Tom Termini, who has lived in the area for the past 25 years, purchased the lands just off the coastline with the intention of beekeeping there, but plans to expand have come to a halt after an enforcement order was issued by the Council last Summer.
Mr Termini said he had been of the understanding that the 20msq agricultural storage building which was portable in nature would not require planning permission because of its agricultural purpose and its location on appropriately zoned lands.
However, after receiving a letter from the Council, he engaged the services of an engineer who recommended seeking a Declaration of Exemption from planning.
“The area is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) so we engaged the services of another engineer who carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment and it was found it would have no impact,” said Mr Termini.
The report, compiled by Delichon Ecology, states that there are 17 sites protected by European SAC status within 15km of the proposed development, but concludes that ‘the completed groundworks and proposed agricultural building, either individually or in combination with other projects and plans, is not likely to have a significant impact on any European site’.
Mr Termini said no explanation as to why his application was refused was forthcoming, but that he had since applied for retention on the partially completed structure.
“After I invested in the property, I started down the route of setting up the apiary because I had one when I was in the States, and I’m a member of the local association. I decided to build a bigger shed so we could expand beyond being a service to have a product offering,” said Mr Termini who owns and operates Bluedog Honey.
He said the company would bring economic benefits to what was a small, rural area and the lands he owned were 90% bog, unsuited to many other forms of agriculture.
“We’d hoped to have it up and running by February 2020, but the pandemic set that back and then we got the letter from the Council as works were progressing towards opening this February.
“This facility would not impact on the area – other than using water to wash natural matter, there is no discharge – I’m perplexed by it all really,” said Mr Termini.
An application for retention of the structure was sent to Galway County Council this month, with a decision due by August 15.
Mr Termini said he would be forced to appeal to An Bord Pleanála if this application was turned down, but said he was being assisted by local Councillor Eileen Mannion, whom he said supported enterprise in the area.
“This has been going on for 18 months and really, what I want to do is get to the next stage where we can grow the business and deal with the stresses that come with that – not this,” said Mr Termini.