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Connacht Tribune

Elderly couple’s fear from smouldering forest fire

Declan Tierney

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An elderly couple are living in fear that their home could be destroyed by a forest fire which has been smouldering for the past six weeks.

The East Galway couple have hit out at Coillte for not implementing the fire prevention measures to stop the blaze from spreading to neighbouring properties.

Paddy and Teresa Jennings have more than 70 acres under trees around their home near Killure, just a few miles from Ballinasloe, but a nearby Coillte forest has ignited during the recent dry spell.

The fire has been blazing for the past six weeks and has encroached on to neighbouring properties whose residents are keeping a round the clock vigil to ensure that their homes are not under threat.

Paddy Jennings told the Connacht Tribune that the fire on the Coillte forestry spread across around 15 acres and he expressed disappointment that the state agency hadn’t taken all steps to stop it spreading.

The couple, who are in their late seventies, say that they cannot leave their home because of the threat of the fire spreading.

“It is smouldering at the moment but any bit of wind could set it off again. It is a constant worry and has been for the past six weeks.

“We have been onto Coillte and it seems that they are not taking us seriously. We want them to put in fire breaks but they have only put in a very narrow one.

“The fire was very aggressive to begin with but it has slowed down over the past couple of weeks. It is still a major worry as the wind is expected to blow over the coming days which is a source of concern,” Paddy added.

The parents of three have spent a considerable amount of money in the provision of water tankers while they also have a digger on standby in the event of the blaze spreading.

During the dry spell over the past five week there there have been a number of gorse fires but the blaze across the bogs of Ahascragh are amongst the worst witnessed by locals.

The Jennings say that Coillte have no interest in putting fire breaks between the forestry and their property that is literally in the line of fire.

At the moment they have a tanker of water in their farmyard for fear of the fire spreading in their direction.

Roscommon-Galway TD Mick Fitzmaurice has visited their farm over the past few of days and has witnessed the pall of smoke from the Coillte lands spreading over to the Jennings property.

Cllr Michael Finnerty from Ballinasloe said that the state agency should not allow bog forestry fires to get out of control. He added that funding should be available to provide relief measures when required.

“From my understanding Coillte are turning a blind eye to this situation when they should maintain a permanent presence at the site to ensure that the fire does not spread,” the Fine Gael councillor added.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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