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Connacht Tribune

Former GP’s clinic swaps humans for pets!



For nearly 30 years, generations of Barna families went through the surgery in Truskey West of Dr Ann Gibbons – the village’s well-liked and respected General Practitioner.

Now, just over ten years after her passing, there’s hustle and bustle back in the former GP clinic . . . with sick mammals of a different sort!

Because the late Dr Ann’s eldest son, John Mulligan (36), has opened up a veterinary clinic in the very same building his mother cared for and treated so many people.

Barna native John and his business partner, Sara Roche, the daughter of dairy farmers from Kylemore in Abbey near Portumna in East Galway, set-up West Coast Vets a year ago.

And it’s been thriving – the pair officially launched a new dedicated ‘small animal’ clinic recently, too.

John’s family always kept animals at their home in Truskey West, including poultry, horses, cats and dogs and for many years he had it in mind to return there to set up a veterinary clinic in his mother’s clinic. “It definitely was always in the back of my head,” he said.

After completing his Leaving Cert at Garbally College in Ballinasloe, John studied Microbiology at UCG (now NUIG), and used that degree to get onto a Veterinary course in the University of Glasgow.

It was during this five-years course he met Sara, who was in the year below him in the same course, having studied Biomedical Science in Galway first.

John graduated in 2011 and worked in the north of England in the countryside of Northumberland, an hour from Newcastle; and when he returned to Ireland he worked firstly in a veterinary clinic in West Donegal and then in Kilcormac, a village in rural Offaly between Birr and Tullamore.

All those places were what John calls “proper old fashioned mixed practices”, just like West Coast Vets in Barna.

“A lot of people in my class haven’t seen a cow since they graduated. Other lads were vice versa and never wanted to chat to a dog or cat owner again and concentrated on dairy cows. I love the mix. I might see a cat in the morning, a horse in the afternoon and I might be up in the middle of the night with a calving cow,” he said.

The clinics catchment is wide – it takes in Barna, Moycullen, Furbo, Spiddal, Knocknacarra, Galway City and Connemara – which offers that mix.

“People are delighted that we’re this side of town. If you want to pop in for penicillin for a sheep, you don’t have to drive the far side of town with the traffic, which would be a two or three-hour trip from An Cheathrú Rua,” he said.

John is fluent in Irish, which is another bonus in Connemara. “A lot of the old timers, and some of the young people as well, prefer to speak Irish. It’s the day-to-day working language of a lot of people.”

And there’s no shortage of work, John insisted. “There’s plenty of work if you want it. There’s nobody in Connemara with 150 dairy cows, but there might be 150 lads with two cows, and they need to be looked after. They’re very attached to their animals and their animals probably get better individual care than some of the animals I’ve seen on massive big farms.

“They’re getting properly minded and properly individually fed. On a small Connemara farm where you might have 10 cows, the lame cow is looked after properly.

“The other thing you have in Connemara is the pony, the Connemara pony. There’s so many different farms with one mare or two mares and they all have a foal every year and they need minding. Then there’s such a growing population in Barna with cats and dogs. So it’s a real mixed job and it’s busy,” he said.

More than 120 mostly clients and some friends attended a barbeque at West Coast Vets’ first birthday celebrations last weekend.

“It was like the loaves and the fishes! We had a side of beef, 40 beef burgers, 50 venison burgers, 60 chicken pies, and a suckling pig, a salmon and a dozen mackerel! We were celebrating the fact that we’ve a year under our belts and we’ve just opened a dedicated small animal clinic. And it was just a way of saying ‘thank you’ for all the support we have received since opening,” added John.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



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



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’



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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