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Galway man leads project to build first native electric car



A Dunmore man is leading a project to build an electric car reminiscent of the last car to be built on the island three decades ago.

Like the DeLorean DMC-12 – which played a starring role in the Back to the Future movies – the ‘Alex eroadster’ will have lifting doors attached to the roof which will boast solar panels for a power boost.

Not only designed to look futuristic, more importantly the design aims to shed weight to improve speed.  In fact this model electric car promises to be 30% lighter than most similar sized cars weighing in at around 700kg. They can do this by using advanced composite materials including carbon fibre and kevlar – a material used in bullet proof vests and glass.

Crucially the vehicle also claims to address previous concerns which have dogged electric cars – the distance a car can travel without the need to charge up.alex27

Project manager Tom Finnegan, a native of Gurteen, Dunmore, insists the Alex eroadster uses new improved battery technology and lightweight structural technologies to greatly increase range between charges. The lightweight chassis is being designed by Ecomove in Denmark.

“This car will have lots of acceleration and a good overall top speed,” said Tom.

“The battery cells have a very large energy density giving a greater power to weight resulting in more kilometres per charge.  The car can travel 250 – 300kms before charging, getting you to most places in Ireland at a fraction of the cost of conventional cars without having to recharge.  This is well over twice the range of electric cars currently achievable by cars on the Irish market.”

The vehicle will have the battery units stored beneath the floor and the back wheels will be powered by two lightweight AC motors providing rapid acceleration allowing it to easily reach motorway speeds.

A recharge will take 20 to 30 minutes or as Tom puts it, ‘just enough time for a coffee break’.

Irish company Swift Composite Prototypes based in Dunleer, Co Louth, plans to build a new car a week when it enters the market in late 2016 if all things go to schedule. CEO of Swift Gabriel Mathews said ‘he is really excited at the prospect of building this car’.alex26

The car is in the design phase with a working prototype car expected to be soon unveiled. The expected cost of the Alex eroadster is tipped to be around €30,000.

Tom has been developing the idea for some years and produced his own prototype at his Co Roscommon home.

The project took a leap forward when he was partnered with Swift Composite Prototypes – manufacturer of wind turbine blades and components for land transport vehicles – and several universities by the EU programme Vital, which gives financial support and matches entrepreneurs with firms to commercialise ideas or inventions.

“We approached the whole project from the point of view of addressing the problems currently associated with electric cars in general and also public perception of electric cars as a workable alternative to the internal combustion engine,” said the Swift CEO.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!



Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?



Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara



Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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