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Connacht Tribune

Galway county councillors declare business and property interests

Dara Bradley

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Galway’s newest county councillors have filed ethics returns with the local authority, giving details of their business and property interests.

All county councillors, who were newly elected in May’s Local Elections, filed their ethics declarations with County Hall, listing land and property they own, and shares or directorships of companies they possess.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG), in his ethics returns, lists that he sold his shares in Anchor Safety Limited, Briarhill Business Park, in November 2018. His directorship of the company, a supplier of personal protective equipment, and safety products, ceased in November 2018, he said.

The company, he said, has contracts with a total of 18 local authorities across Ireland, including Galway City and County Councils, Mayo County Council and South Dublin County Council. Cllr Carroll declared that he was also a voluntary director of Oranmore Community Development Association.

Cllr David Collins (FG) declared his home in Turloughmore and 15 acres of land for “hay and grazing”. He said he is a director of HPS Vision, a telecommunications company at Parkmore. “We currently have a contract with the Galway County Council Local Enterprise Office for 2019,” he said.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) declared a rental property on the Cappagh Road in the city, and lists two voluntary directorships of Athenry Community Council and Athenry and District Community Employment Scheme.

Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) holds shares in eight businesses, according to his returns. The companies relate to property management, concrete, building, oil, retail and manufacturing. One of the businesses – DG Roofing Ltd – has supplied goods to Galway and Roscommon County Councils, according to the documents.

Cllr Geraghty owns a storage yard on the Old Bog Road in Williamstown and a business on the main street, as well as office and retail units at Racecourse Road in Roscommon, his declaration said.

Cllr Peter Keaveney (FG), a farmer and agri contractor, lists a voluntary directorship of Glenamaddy and District Development Company. Cllr Pádraig Mac An Iomaire (FG), a funeral director, lists ownership of two properties – a house and a bar – that are leased or rented out. Cllr Gerry King (FF), a fish farmer, owns farmland in Clifden, according to his returns. He is also a director of West Connemara Leisure Centre, Clifden.

Cllr PJ Murphy (Ind) in Ardrahan lists four separate occupations and professions – carpentry, honey production, teaching and suckler cow farming. He owns agricultural land in Kilchreest, and lists that he is a benefactor of farm land and buildings at Kilchreest and Ardrahan.

Headford-based Cllr Andrew Reddington (FG), a teacher, lists part-time farming, a site and a rented house in Castlebar among his interests.

Cllr Joe Sheridan (FF), a manager of a pub in Dunmore, and food science engineer, lists his home in Milltown and business in Dunmore. Cllr Alastair McKinstry (Green), an NUIG employee, listed his family home in Moycullen.

Cllr Dáithí Ó Cualáin (FF), a nurse at UHG, lists a family home in Indreabhán. Cllr Geraldine Donohue (Ind), a part-time farmer and secretarial assistant to Senator Victor Boylan, lists a family home in Kylebrack.

Cllr Colm Keaveney (FF) lists a “dwelling” in Tuam.  Cllr Albert Dolan (FF), an accountant, and Cllr Aisling Dolan (FG), a project manager at NUIG, have declared no interests.

All councillors’ completed ethics declaration forms can be inspected online.

Property tops the list for established local reps

A county councillor owns a company that does business with all local authorities in the country, according to annual declarations of interests filed with County Hall.

Cllr Seamus Walsh (FF), an engineer and planning consultant, lists farmland in Westmeath and Oughterard in his interests. He is a director of Ashford Building Services Ireland Limited, Oughterard, which is “not trading at present”, and of Esperanza Enterprises, which is involved in engineering and education, also in Oughterard. In his declaration, Cllr Walsh said that Esperanza Enterprises has contracts with “all” local authorities.

Cllr Joe Byrne (FG) lists ownership or part-ownership of residential properties in Kinvara, as well as owning shares in Greengross Development, a “non-trading” property development company in Kinvara, of which he is also a director. He is a director of Kinvara Heritage Trust, Burren Enterprise Ltd, Gort Golf Club and Yeat’s Thoor Ballylee Society.

Cllr Jimmy McClearn (FG) listed rental properties in Ballinasloe, Athlone, Galway and Portumna among his interests, as well as his family home and directorships of two not for profit organisations, Killimor Recreation and Fitness Ltd and Killimor Development Ltd.

Cllr Tom Welby (Ind), lists land he owns in Oughterard, and directorships of several not-for-profit organisations including Oughterard Courthouse Conservation and Heritage; Oughterard Community Centre; Oughterard Community Enterprise; and Corribdale Ground.

Cllr Gerry Finnerty (FF), a publican, farmer, and marts admin officer, owns faming land in Peterswell and Tubber, according to his returns.

Cllr Martina Kinnane (FF) declared a family home in Clarinbridge, as well as shares in St Mary’s funeral home in Menlough. She is a board member of Galway Rural Development in Athenry, Athenry Heritage Centre and Bridge That Gap, a community development group.

Cllr Mary Hoade (FF) lists ownership of three properties, including two rental houses, as well as directorships of Williams Motor Warehouse, Corrandulla Community Childcare and Headford Eco Park Enterprise Centre.

Cllr Donagh Killilea (FF), a farmer, and manager of City Bin Company, declared his home on 95 acres of land at Belclare in his returns.

Cllr James Charity (Ind), a barrister, lists agricultural land and shares in Greencore among his interests. He is a director of Annaghdown Parish Council, a community development company, and the Parish Office in Corrandulla, which is also voluntary.

Cllr Gabe Cronnelly (Ind), under “any other additional interests”, lists Galway Game Hunting Association, Cregmore/Athenry Anglers, Monivea Boxing Club and Athenry Tidy Towns.

Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind) declared a quarter ownership of 35 acres of forestry in Swinford, County Mayo.

Cllr Tim Broderick (Ind), a publican in Kilconnell, had no interests to declare. Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) declared a farm in Aughrim.

Cllr Michael Connolly (FF), a sheep farmer in Moylough, declared a directorship of Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre. He said he was the County Council’s representative on the committee and he receives “no expenses” for his membership. Cllr Eileen Mannion (FG) declared a family home and share in a rental property in Clifden.

Cllr Tomas Ó Curraoin (RSF) declared a family home in Barna; Cllr Ivan Canning, director of Canning Hurleys, declared a family home in Portumna; Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (FG) declared a family home in Loughrea; Cllr Pete Roche (FG) listed a family home on six acres; and Cllr Karey McHugh (Ind) listed her own home.

There was nothing declared in the forms returned by Cllr Pat Hynes (Ind), Cllr Noel Thomas (FF), or Cllr Shane Curley (FF), a teacher.

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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