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Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council making sandbags available ahead of Storm Jorge

Enda Cunningham

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An aerial view of the Headford Road at the Curraghline this week. PHOTO: Drone Works Ireland.

Galway County Council has made sandbags available Storm Jorge for collection by people whose properties are under threat. Meanwhile, around 30 roads in the county are currently closed due to flooding.

Some severe winds are expected during Saturday associated with Storm Jorge (pronounced hor-hay). Southwest quickly veering west and later northwest will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h with gusts of 110 to 130km/h, possibly higher in very exposed areas with an elevated risk of coastal flooding. A Status Orange wind warning will be in place from 6am Saturday until 3am Sunday.

A Status Yellow rainfall warning for Galway is in place at the moment until midnight on Saturday.

Rainfall accumulations generally between 20 to 30mm expected during Friday and Saturday, but 40 to 50 mm possible in mountainous areas, with a continuing risk of flooding due to already saturated ground and elevated river levels.

The Council is making sand bags available for collection by those whose properties are in vulnerable areas, please contact your local area office, during office hours (5am – 5pm):

Athenry/Oranmore: 091 509088
Ballinasloe North & South: 091 509074
Conamara North (Clifden): 091 – 509095
Conamara South (An Cheathrii Rua): 091 – 509060
Loughrea: 091 – 509166
Gort; 091 – 5090G5 (Sand bags can be collected from Gort Salt Barn, Kinincha Road, Gort)
Portumna: 090 – 9741019
Tuam: 091 – 509011

A spokesperson for the County Council said: “The key message is for people is to stay safe during this weather event. The strong winds and heavy rainfall currently being experienced are making driving conditions hazardous and drivers need to take extreme care and watch out cyclists and pedestrians and for the potential of flying debris, flood water, fallen trees and powerlines. Motorists are asked to avoid coastal routes, to make alternative route plans where possible and avoid making unnecessary journeys. Do not drive through flood water unless you are sure your vehicle is able to get through it.

“Given this Orange weather alert, members of the public are advised to take precautions to stay safe and are reminded to make contact with elderly or vulnerable neighbours.”

The following is the list of roads currently closed as a result of flooding over the past fortnight:

N65 Portumna – Road flooded but passable at the bridge
R358 Station Rd Ballinasloe – Road Closed Diversions in place
R339 An Carn Mór Rd – Flooding but passable with care at Greaney Glass
R381 Baile Chláir – road partially flooded heading toward Baile Chláir from Carnmore Cross
R360 Williamstown to Dunmore Road is closed at Kilnalag Cross, 1km from Williamstown. Diversion are in Place
L21162 Ballybeg near Cor an Dola – Road impassable
L7104 An Chréig Bhuí, Baile Chláir – Road closed, Diversions in place
L7103 Kiltullagh Rd, Baile Chláir – Road closed, Diversions in place
L6212 An Pollach (Pollagh) Baile Chláir – passable with care
L71115 An Ghráinseach – Road closed, Diversions in place
L3105 – Carheenlea – Road Closed, Diversions in place
L7161 – Moneteige – Road Closed, Diversions in place
L61981 – Gort Chluain Mór – Road flooded
L-6401 is Closed at Forty Acres, Williamstown with diversions in place.
L-6427 is still closed at Polleagh North, Williamstown with diversions in place.
L-7351 at Ticooly, Caltra is Closed with diversions in place.
L-7250 at Caltra Park, Caltra is Closed with diversions in place.
L3414 at Kilmalaw/Cappagh, Kilconnel – Road flooded but passable
L8103 – Rinn – Road flooded but passable
L8104 – Moneymore East – Road flooded but passable
L3116 – Ballyglass – Road flooded but passable

Tuam Area

L6184 near Corbally North – Road Closed, Diversions in place
L2121 Glenrevagh near Peggy’s bar is closed due flooding. Detour in place
L2101 Causeway road to Inchaquin island is flooded. Only access is by tractor.
L6146 Clough South (Corofin area) passable with care
L6147 Pollinore (Corofin area) closed. Detour in operation
L2106 Belclare – passable with care
L6156 Feagh – Road impassable
L21162 Balrobuckbeg – Road impassable

Conamara

Pier Rd, Oughterard – Road flooded

Meanwhile, City Council crews will be on standby from 2pm on Saturday to deal with any flooding or wind damage caused by the storm.

(Photo is an aerial image of the Headford Road at the Curraghline taken this week by Drone Works Ireland)

The Road Safety Authority has issued the following warning: Road users in areas affected by the Orange Warnings are advised to check local traffic and weather conditions before setting out on a journey. The following advice is being given to road users. Motorists:

  • Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.
  • Beware of objects being blown onto the road. Expect road conditions to change quickly in high winds so reduce your speed.
  • Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road.
  • Drivers should allow extra space between themselves and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
  • Drivers need to slow down in wet weather conditions, especially on high speed roads such as dual carriageways and motorways where there is increased danger of aquaplaning.
  • If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think. They may also have trees or branches that have fallen that may not be visible.
  • Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.
  • After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance – this helps to dry the brakes.
  • Drive with dipped headlights at all times.

Advice to Pedestrians, Cyclists and motorcyclists:

  • Visibility and light is reduced in poor weather conditions. Keep safe by making sure you can be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
  • Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Walk on a footpath, where possible and not in the street. If there is a footpath and it is safe to use, look out for falling debris from above, especially in urban areas.
  • Walk on the right-hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
  • Cyclist should ensure that they and their bike are visible to other road users by investing in a good set of front and rear lights (white at the front, red at the back) and by wearing clothes that help you be seen on your bike such as bright and light reflective items.

Connacht Tribune

Limited go-ahead for marts

Francis Farragher

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Marts: Individual sales to be allowed.

MART managers and staff across the county are busy this week preparing operating protocols for approval by the Dept. of Agriculture that will allow for the limited sale of livestock during the current COVID-19 emergency.

On Tuesday, the Dept. of Agriculture confirmed that they would be allowing marts to handle livestock sales in a limited way – marts will liaise with buyers and sellers; arrange for the weighing of the animals; and process payments.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that the Dept. had issued guidance to marts for ‘a very limited range of essential services’ that would not require people to assemble: the transactions would include calf sales, the weighing of livestock, and an online or brokerage service.

Ray Doyle of ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) this week thanked the Government for their announcement, adding that ‘it was reasonable’ for a form of trading to continue to alleviate the current economic burden on farmers.

He pointed out that only mart staff would handle the animals; the buyer and seller would not have contact with each other; each could observe the weighing data; the buyer could view the animals from a distance; the sale would be completed electronically; no visitors or members of the public would be admitted; full sanitisation protocols would be observed; with the sale to be completed electronically.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Self-isolation success staves off Covid-19 surge – for now

Dara Bradley

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Anaesthetic Registrar Dr Robbie Sparks with Clinical Facilitator Claire Lavelle simulating an intubation of a patient with COVID-19 in the ICU at UHG. (Photo supplied by UHG because of visitor restrictions)

The predicted surge in Covid19-related admissions to Galway’s hospitals has been delayed – for now – giving much-needed breathing space to ramp-up preparations and increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity and beds for when it does hit.

But hospital management remains concerned in particular with the ‘significant’ number of staff in the West who have been taken off the frontline because they are ill from coronavirus, or self-isolating as a precaution after coming in close contact with an infected person.

And as the latest figures show 86 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Galway – seven times the figure from a fortnight ago – the HSE has conceded that local testing for the virus was suspended Sunday due to a shortage of testing kits. Limited testing resumed on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, although hospital chiefs in the West insist they have sufficient levels of personal protective equipment (PPE), nursing homes across Galway are facing a shortage of basic equipment such as masks, and many have appealed to the public for donations.

Chief Clinical Director Saolta Group, and consultant cardiologist, Dr Pat Nash, said UHG, the main Covid-19 hospital in the West, has experienced increased activity but ‘not a huge surge in admissions’.

“The hospital still has significant capacity available both on wards and ICU,” he said.

But Dr Nash stressed there was no room for complacency and the public needed to continue to observe social distancing, stay at home and practice hand hygiene.

 

See full story – and 23 pages of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis in Galway – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or available to buy as a digital edition via our website www.connachttribune.ie. The Tribune can also be ordered as part of your shopping delivery from most outlets now.

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Connacht Tribune

Loan sharks prey on families hit by pandemic

Denise McNamara

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Moneylenders have been targeting working class areas in Galway where hundreds of people have lost their jobs in the lockdown, encouraging them to take out loans with exorbitant interest rates.

Deputy for Galway East Sean Canny said he had received several reports of estates in the city where leaflets had been distributed recently by legitimate loan sharks.

“These people are licensed so they are not doing anything illegal but I do think it’s immoral in these times and my advice is to ignore money lenders,” he stressed.

“We have credit unions where people can go to for advice and for loans and we have MABS [Money Advice and Budgeting Service] which can provide advice that maybe they don’t need more money but may need to manage their budget better.

“People don’t make the best decisions when they’re stressed but I would really urge them not to go down this road because they can charge interest rates of 187% which is really fleecing people.”

Paul Bailey, Head of Communications at the Irish League of Credit Unions, said they have also been getting reports of leaflets being dropped by moneylenders in working class areas.

 

See full story – and 23 pages of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis in Galway – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or available to buy as a digital edition via our website www.connachttribune.ie. The Tribune can also be ordered as part of your shopping delivery from most outlets now.

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