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Fears over road damage during motorway construction

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Full-time engineers must be appointed to ensure that local roads are not destroyed during the construction of the Gort to Tuam motorway.

The call has come following the disastrous situation that existed during the construction of the motorway from Galway to Ballinasloe when some local roads were left in a very poor state.

However, the National Roads Authority has said that there will be at least three engineers available to liaise with the public in relations to the condition of haul roads.

And Tony Collins, senior engineer with the National Roads Authority in Galway, said that road strengthening works would be carried out on roads that would be used to haul materials to the new motorway site.

He said that a lot of lessons had been learned from the construction of the M6 motorway during when minor roads and walls of houses were destroyed due to heavy traffic.

Galway West TD Noel Grealish said that he did not want rural communities to suffer as part of the motorway development which he described as a major investment for the county.

“I saw at first-hand what happened during the construction of the motorway from Galway to Ballinasloe. There were roads in the Athenry area which were cut to ribbons.

“While this is a great piece of infrastructure, it should not impact on local communities and where materials are being drawn by 30 and 40 lorries a day. They should not have to suffer,” Deputy Grealish added.

Deputy Grealish said that houses along haulage routes serving the M6 motorway were shook and front walls were destroyed by the volume of traffic. He did not want this to happen when it came to the Gort to Tuam motorway.

But Tony Collins of the NRA said that he along with three engineers would be available to members of the public at all times. He added that a lot of lessons had been learned from the Galway to Ballinasloe motorway construction.

“We will be looking at the quality of all of the haulage roads to the motorway and will be determining their suitability. We will have no difficulty in carrying out road strengthening works on stretches of road that need to be addressed,” Mr. Collins added.

Fencing off along the route will commence in the middle of January and it is expected that excavators will move in shortly after. It is expected that the motorway project will create 700 jobs directly as well as generating hundreds of million euro additionally for the local economy.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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