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Double blow for landowners along rejected bypass route

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More than 240 landowners, whose property was located along the ‘old’ Galway City Outer Bypass route, east of the River Corrib, have been scarred and stung by the process.

The lives of those 240 landowners, mostly in the surrounds of Menlo, were put on hold for close-on two decades. Worse still, they were hit with a double financial whammy.

Firstly the landowners did not get paid from the State for their lands because the Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) collapsed once the route was rejected in the courts.

The ‘old’ route is now freed up since it has been removed from the Galway City Development plan in January.

But landowners have lost out substantially on the potential return in the meantime – they were unable to sell when prices were high during the economic boom and their lands are now worth a fraction of those peak prices.

Galway County Council senior engineer, Michael Timmins, agreed that it was a “cruel” predicament the 240 landowners faced.

Mr Timmins is advancing the project for a new bypass route, which includes six possible routes, five of which are new.

“It has been an incredibly difficult and angst-ridden process. A lot of people have had their lives effectively put on hold for the past 10 to 15 years. That’s why we hope to move this (new bypass process) forward as quickly as possible to ensure that whatever new route comes forward is robust enough to withstand whatever legal challenges it faces,” he said.

He said that the 240 landowners that had an expectation of CPO compensation will not now be compensated.

“No CPOs were paid. Around 240 landowners on the old scheme would have been informed that An Bórd Pleanála had approved the CPO but unfortunately the CPO was never activated. Their difficulty is that the law as it stands does not allow for any compensation under such circumstances,” said Mr Timmins.

Scores of landowners on the west of the Corrib were in a similar predicament in that their land was frozen but they were never actually formally issued with CPOs and so had less of an expectation of being compensated. Their lives were also put on hold, he acknowledged.

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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