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€7m in pipeline to plug city water leaks

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Irish Water plans to upgrade the city’s leaky pipe network with a €7.3 million investment.

The replacement of about 20 kilometres of defective water mains pipes throughout the city forms part of the company’s water conservation plan for Galway.

It is one project of many announced by Irish Water in its new €36 million programme of work to develop new and upgrade existing water and wastewater infrastructure throughout Galway.

The central plank of the city aspect of the Galway plan includes upgrading of 20 kilometres of defective pipes.

Irish Water said “site investigation” work on the city’s pipe network will begin this coming January and construction work is expected to begin in the first three months of 2017.

The company said, “sections of water mains in the poorest condition will be replaced first,” and the entire upgrade is due to be completed in the autumn of 2018.

The remainder of the ‘new’ elements in this latest announcement by Irish Water are for projects located in the county.

Some €3 million has been set aside for the upgrade of Oughterard wastewater treatment plant, which will have a significant impact on the quality of water sources supplying city homes and businesses. The project will go to tender next month and is expected to be finished by 2017.

Irish Water said: “The upgraded wastewater treatment plant will result in a significant improvement in water quality, will allow for growth and will reduce the risk of pollution to the Owenriff River and Lough Corrib, one of the premier fishing lakes in the country and the drinking water source for much of Galway City and County.”

Other new announcements in the latest investment plan include upgrading water supply schemes in Leenane, An Cheathrú Rua, Inis Oírr, Inis Meáin, and Williamston. All five schemes are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s remedial action list. The boil water notices in place in Leenane and Williamstown will be lifted once the works are complete.

Meanwhile, Irish Water used this latest announcement to give updates on city projects that are underway and nearing completion. The replacement of water mains on Thomas Hynes Road in the city are on schedule to be completed later this month, the company said. This €420,000 project began last June and was needed “to alleviate water supply problems” that have been experienced in the area for more than a year.

The upgrade of Mutton Island wastewater treatment plant is due to be finished before Christmas. The €5.7 million works will almost double the capacity of the plant from 91,000 population equivalent to 170,000 population equivalent.

Galway West Fine Gael TD, Seán Kyne welcomed the investment and said it was made possible through the people of Galway paying water charges.

Deputy Kyne said: “Investment of this scale in our wastewater network will help end the discharge of untreated waste into rivers in Galway and off the Galway coast which will improve the environment and protect the water supply.

“The substantial investment is being made after decades of under-investment in our water and wastewater services. Undoubtedly this investment will be welcomed by public representatives who are opposed to paying for treated water and the proper and safe disposal of wastewater.

“It must, however, be recognised that this substantial and necessary investment is only possible through the combination of central Government funding and the revenue being collected by Irish Water through the payment of water charges by many citizens across Galway.”

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

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

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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.

BY STEPHEN CORRIGAN
AND DARA BRADLEY

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number

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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.

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