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Fears for Inishbofin ferry service

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Residents on an island off the Galway coast could be left ‘high and dry’ as the contract for the ferry service will expire at the end of this year.

It is claimed that the Gaeltacht Minister has not confirmed if this contract will be renewed so that a seven day service can be provided.

The ferry service to Inishbofin is the ‘lifeblood’ of the island which attracts thousands of tourists during the summer months.

But according to Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, the contract for the ferry to the island was for a three year term only.

He said that similar contracts were always for a seven year period and he has now questioned the Government’s commitment to retaining this service.

The Government’s commitment to the ferry service expires at the end of this year and there is still no indication that it will be renewed.

It has lead to fears that there will be an exodus from the island if there is no full time ferry service available throughout the year.

“The short duration of this contract raises questions about the Government’s commitment to retaining a seven day service to Inishbofin.

“This service is of vital importance to the island, its people, visitors, service providers and the local economy. It must be retained in full,” Deputy Ó Cuív added.

Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan said that there was a contract in place to provide a passenger ferry service between the mainland and Inishbofin.

He went on to say that his department subsidised 14 return sailings per week – two per day – all year round.

However, he added: “At the time that this contract was advertised, my department was of the opinion that a three year contract was the most appropriate, given the economic downturn.”

Deputy Ó Cuív is now calling on Minister Deenihan to clarify if he intends to continue the seven day service to Inishbofin.

“The Minister already refused to complete the airstrip on the island and on the mainland, and has decided to sell this important infrastructure.

“With the Inishbofin ferry service now in doubt, it would appear that the Government is discriminating against the Galway islands,” Deputy Ó Cuív concluded.

CITY TRIBUNE

Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway

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Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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Connacht Tribune

Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time

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A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.

Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.

Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.

So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.

The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.

Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.

He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.

Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.

Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.

Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.

His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.

This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.

The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.

It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.

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Connacht Tribune

‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting

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A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.

At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.

“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.

This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.

One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.

“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.

None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.

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