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

Connacht Tribune

€2.5m restoration of Meelick Weir Walkway approved



One of the hidden tourism gems of the River Shannon – the Meelick Weir Walkway that links Galway and Offaly – is set to be restored to life next year after being out of commission since the floods of late 2009.

A figure of almost €2.5 million has been allocated by Waterways Ireland for the revamp of the Weir, which will once more, link the villages of Meelick in East Galway and Lusmagh in West Offaly.

The ‘good news’ that the €2.5 million project had received the go-ahead was given on the banks of the Shannon beside the weir to a local committee last Thursday by Waterways Ireland Regional Manager, Eanna Rowe, who confirmed that the project would be going out to tender later this month.

President of the local restoration committee, Nancy Reilly, also presented Mr. Rowe with a letter stressing the importance of completing the works during the coming Summer season of 2019.

Charlie Killeen, Chairman of the Meelick/Lusmagh Walkway Restoration Committee, told the Connacht Tribune that confirmation of the project going to tender was very welcome news for the local communities.

“We have the two Martello towers, the Red Bridge, and the Victorian Lock, among other attractions, that will be brought back to life with access restored for locals and tourists who want to use this beautiful walkway across the Shannon.

“This is wonderful news for the area but one point I want to stress is that we need this work to be completed during the ‘Summer window’ of May 1 to September 1, 2019 – otherwise the re-opening would slip back another year to Autumn of 2020,” said Charlie Killeen.

Work on the Meelick Weir can only be carried out during that Summer period because of fisheries protection measures relating to the salmon spawning season.

Earlier this year, the campaign to get the Meelick Weir restoration project back on the priority list, was stepped up by community representatives from the Meelick and Lusmagh areas.

Over recent months, the Meelick Walkway Restoration Committee embarked on an extensive lobbying campaign, involving communications with Waterways Ireland, local politicians and Government departments.

Disaster struck for the Weir back in November of 2009, when the severe flooding of that period resulted in damage being caused to the walkway and its supports – since then, it has been closed to public access.

Charlie Killeen said that it was ‘the dream’ of local people in the Meelick and Lusmagh areas that the re-opening of the walkway would coincide with a local feast day in the Meelick area.

“Traditionally, August 2 of each year has been a prayer day at Meelick Church, which we believe is the oldest church in Ireland in continuous use, dating back to the Middle Ages.

“There has been a tradition of people from Lusmagh walking across the Weir to the old monastery and it really would be something special to the local communities if the walkway was reopened to coincide with this tradition,” said Charlie Killeen.

He said that the opening date for the walkway – and the need for a commitment that the work be started in early May of next year – were now the only concerns that local people had.

“But at least the money is there; the job is going to tender – now the priority is to get it done on time,” said Charlie Killeen.

He said that the restoration job itself should only take in the region of five to seven weeks. “The starting date is the only outstanding issue now,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads