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Connacht Tribune

Flawed speed revisions ‘ripe for court challenge’

Dara Bradley

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A barrister has predicted that the legal profession locally will ‘have a field day’ challenging speeding summonses in court if the county’s new speeding bylaws are passed next week.

James Charity, who is also a county councillor, said ‘every summons will be challenged’ in the District Court if he and his colleagues passed a report on the draft Road Traffic Special Speed Limits for County Galway Bylaws. “The District Court will have a field day,” he said.

“If I’m doing 62 kilometres (per hour) in a 60km/h zone, I’m going to go back and look for the maps and if there’s confusion (as to where the 60km/h zone starts) then it will be challenged. The proposals (for changes to speed limits) need to be mapped. You can’t say ‘lower the speed limit 200 metres from John Joe’s house to the crossroads’. It needs to be point A to point B and shown on a map,” he said.

Cllr Charity predicted a surge in challenges to speeding summons if the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District proceeded to make changes to the draft plan without being shown where the proposed new speed limits would be on a map.  Twice during the discussion on speed limits, Leas Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District, Cllr Martina Kinnane (FF) said ‘confusion reigns’.

“At least if we make the changes here, we won’t be doing it in a courthouse down the road,” she said.

Speed limits were also on the agenda at this week’s meeting of the Connemara Municipal District, where a proposal by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to reduce the speed limit on parts of the N59 to 80km/h caused outrage among some councillors.

The proposals by TII, includes maintaining the 100km/h limit between Galway City and Roscahill, a reduction to 80km/h between Rosscahill and Lettershea, and maintaining the 100km/h limit from there on to Clifden.

This, according to the TII, is taking into account the dangerous parts of the road where width and bends are most prevalent. Towns and villages along the road will see reduced limits on approach, with a 50km/h speed limit within the boundaries.  There are also proposals to include periodic speed limits at schools such as Rosscahill and Scoil Doire Glinne.

However, local councillor Tom Healy (SF) said the move would make life more difficult for the people of Connemara who have to use the N59 to commute.

“An 80km/h journey already takes an hour-and-a-half. Do you want to throw a gate up somewhere and close the whole bloody place off?” he blasted.

Each of the five Municipal Districts in County Galway have discussed the proposed changes in speed limits for their area.  The changes to each area arise following recommendations from elected representatives and the public following a statutory consultation process where the draft bylaws were out on public display.

Máire Ní Chíonna outlined to the Athenry/Oranmore meeting that there were 56 submission received about the bylaws. Some of the recommendations in these submissions were taken on board and included in the bylaws, and others were not.

Ms Ni Chíonna explained that eleven of the submissions related to Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District area, including one submission from Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind), who made recommendations to lower the speed limit on 22 roads.

Cllr Cuddy said it was “for the birds” that some of his recommendations were ignored; and because speed limits on local roads was a reserved function of councillors, he wanted to vote through his proposals anyway.

Ms Ní Chíonna said that many of the proposals from Cllr Cuddy were for reduced speed limits on local roads that are rats runs and used by commuters to get to Galway City. She said residents in those areas were understandably frustrated but it would be preferable to use alternative methods to make those roads safer, such as traffic calming, rather than lowering speed limits.

The draft bylaws were due to be discussed at the next full County Council meeting but it was agreed to defer the passing of the bylaws until the November meeting in order that the confusion in Athenry/Oranmore was cleared-up first. They will discuss the matter again at next week’s meeting before it goes to the full Council.

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Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

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

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