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Connacht Tribune

Families under the cosh from back-to-school costs

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Calls to Society of Saint Vincent De Paul (SVP) in Galway have increased by 15% compared with last year, as back to school costs burden families already under pressure from the Covid-19 crisis.

The termination of book rental schemes in some schools has heaped additional costs on parents, and one-off costs such as laptops for first years are proving expensive for families preparing for a return to classrooms.

Many people helped by SVP locally have been ill during the Covid-19 pandemic or have lost their jobs because of it.

“What we are seeing is people are having unexpected costs because of illness, or because they are out of work – a lot of people haven’t gone back to work full-time yet. And when they’re hit with that, they’re ill or lost their job, they struggle with back-to-school costs and trying to provide for kids,” explained Marie O’Donovan, Secretary of Galway City East SVP.

“The biggest problem we’re seeing at the moment is that a lot of schools’ funding has been changed and a lot of schools that were doing book rental schemes can’t afford to do them this year, they don’t have the money, which means the kids have to buy the books themselves which is a huge cost versus renting.”

She said that when it was announced at the end of last term that the rental schemes were closing, parents were panicking.

“It’s a huge cost, hundreds of Euros for books,” she said. Laptops costing €700-plus are also costly along with the other back-to-school bills.

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

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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