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Field to be transplanted – ten miles down the road

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Dan Clabby in the species-rich field.

In what is thought to be a first in Ireland, a group of conservationists are saving a field resplendent with orchids and wildflowers from being buried beneath a new motorway.

The field near Ardrahan which boasts 300 individual wild orchids of five different species and a host of other plants synonymous with a limestone environment, is being moved sod by sod to a new picturesque site overlooking Rinville Bay outside Oranmore, ten miles away.

Dubbed Operation Orchid, the project is the brainchild of the Galway Conservation Volunteers after they decided to investigate the area being swallowed up by the Gort-to-Tuam motorway.

It was Peter Butler who came upon the field early in the Spring festooned with the Early Purple orchids. No sooner had these flowers died, another species of orchid, the Common Spotted, emerged to replace them.

Over the summer other species such as O’Kelly’s Orchid, the Fragrant Orchid and the Twayblade Orchid have been growing. Other plants noted at the site include Blue Gentians, Catspaw and Scabious.

“This was such a wonderful site, you could not believe the amount of species growing here, you wouldn’t believe it wasn’t man made,” exclaimed Dan Clabby, one of the volunteers leading the project.

“It really does show what can happen when nature is left to its own devices. This is all 100% natural, it was all undisturbed, only for the grazing of a few goats, horses and cattle, which is actually good for the species as it removes the rough grass.”

The group contacted all the agencies involved to see if the 250sqm field could be saved, including the National Roads Authority, the contractors and the council.

Stephen Lally in the parks department of Galway County Council offered them a site in Rinville Park which proved to be an ideal match for the Ardrahan landscape. It is in a gravelly patch beside the carpark adjacent to the sea but protected by a low stone wall to ensure it will not be accidentally mowed down.

“We are looking for as many volunteers as possible to help with Operation Orchid. We haven’t transported stuff from A to B before. I doubt it’s ever been done here. When word got out about the project we got all sorts of emails from around the country but our focus has been on getting a location to save this habitat,” explained Dan.

Volunteers should phone 087 668 1327 for details.

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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