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Connacht Tribune

€10k for Galway rescue choppers – when Aer Arann would have cost €400

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The scrambling of two separate Coast Guard helicopters to bring a patient with a broken ankle from Inis Mór to University Hospital Galway – at an estimated cost of around €10,000 – has been branded a “crazy waste of money”.

And it’s not the first time the bizarre ‘double up’ on rescue helicopters has happened on the islands.

Last Saturday, an elderly tourist fell and broke her ankle on Dún Aengus, and ambulance control – based in Castlebar – scrambled the Coast Guard’s Rescue 115 helicopter from Shannon.

However, when the helicopter landed on Inis Mór, it was immediately sent to Kerry, where a diver suffering from decompression sickness (the bends) had to be brought to UHG’s recompression unit.

Ambulance Control is understood to have refused to allow the patient to be transported on an Aer Arann Islands flight – at a cost of around €400 – and subsequently scrambled Rescue 117 from Waterford to bring the tourist from Inis Mór to UHG.

With running costs of each chopper estimated to be around €4,000 per hour – including crew, maintenance, fuel and insurance – Saturday’s operation is believed to have cost in the region of €10,000.

The HSE has refused to provide details of the cost to the Connacht Tribune, instead suggesting a request should be made under the Freedom of Information Act.

A series of specific questions were put to the National Ambulance Service in relation to such incidents, but were answered with a generic statement on the air ambulance service.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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