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Galway schools take part in Tran Year food initiative

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Thirteen Galway schools are among 200 across the country taking part in a special Transition Year project to increase their knowledge of the artisan food industry on their doorstep.

The Future is Food will see TY students broaden their knowledge and understanding of the local, artisanal and speciality food sectors through practical insight and real-life experience, and so create and inspire the next generation of Irish food entrepreneurs and advocates.

Galway schools include Archbishop McHale College, Tuam; Gairmscoil Éinne Oileain Arann, Inis Mór; Gairmscoil Mhuire, Athenry; Gairmscoil na bPiarsach, Ros Muc; Galway Community College; Glenamaddy Community School and Gort Community School.

They also include Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew; Portumna Community School; Presentation College Currylea, Tuam; Seamount College, Kinvara; St Brigid’s School, Tuam, and St Pauls, Oughterard.

Participating schools will each partner with a local artisan producer, chef or food champion who will help budding student entrepreneurs and innovators to develop their own unique food product or to work with them on an existing product.

The programme includes twenty lesson plans focussing on topics such as entrepreneurship, food origin and Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme as well as research, new product development and marketing.  It received recognition by the National Council of Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) following a pilot in eight schools in the 2013/2014 school year.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, joined Bord Bia and The TASTE Council of Ireland to launch the initiative last week.

He said that Ireland has a thriving speciality food sector, worth approximately €400 million to the Irish economy.

“There are now more than 750 artisan and speciality food producers across the country who are contributing to the unprecedented local, national and international success of Ireland’s food sector,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate Bord Bia and The TASTE Council for developing The Future is Food as a means of providing Transition Year students with an opportunity to gain real-life insight into the array of opportunities that the Irish food sector presents for young people with an entrepreneurial flair.

“Its value lies in the experiential learning process which engages not just students, but also the many local producers and food professionals who have freely volunteered their time as their contribution towards inspiring the food entrepreneurs of the future.”

Teresa Brophy, Consumer and Trade Marketing Manager at Bord Bia was encouraged by the number of schools that have signed-up to The Future is Food.

“This is a hugely important initiative for Bord Bia and The TASTE Council and the number of schools taking part this year has exceeded all our expectations,” she said.

A key element of The Future is Food is the involvement of a network of mentors comprising artisan producers, chefs and other food producers recruited by The TASTE Council to partner with schools, all of whom will pass on the benefit of their own experience and expertise.

Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council brings in new rules on roadside memorials

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Families and friends of road accident victims will have to apply in writing to erect a roadside memorial under a specific size following the adoption of a new policy by Galway County Councillors.

The new rules will not affect memorials already erected – but if they have to be replaced, they will have to satisfy the now agreed criteria.

The Council area engineer will have to approve the location of any proposed memorial and the written consent of the landowner must be sought where possible in advance.

If friends wish to erect a memorial, they must get the written agreement of the family of the deceased. The policy now prohibits any lighting as could distract motorists and flowers or vegetation around it is now not allowed as it could block sight lines.

If the memorial is a free-standing cross it must not be higher than 750mm and if it is a free-standing stone, it must now comply with a maximum dimension of 450mm high, 450mm wide by 150mm deep.

There can only be one memorial per accident, regardless of the number of victims under the new framework created in consultation with the Gardaí and Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) Regional Safety Engineer.

Up to now there has been no policy in place regarding roadside memorials, despite the fact that hundreds dot the countryside. But their erection can cause difficulties, such as interference with verge trimming, distraction to other road users, they can attract visitors to accident blackspots and have the potential to block sight lines.

The policy states that it may not be possible to locate the memorial at the exact location of the incident and any memorials erected without the approval of the Road Authority will be removed. No roadside memorials are permitted on dual carriageways with a speed limit of 100 km/h or motorways.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full story, see the July 1 edition of the Connacht Tribune. You can purchase a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Green hub could create up to 900 new jobs

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Údarás na Gaeltachta is going full steam ahead with plans for a green energy hub at Ros an Mhíl Harbour in Conamara.

The regional authority responsible for economic growth in the Galway Gaeltacht confirmed it has appointed an international engineering firm to develop a masterplan for an offshore wind energy hub on Údaras-owned lands in Ros a’ Mhíl.

Atkins is a British firm headquartered in London, England with offices in Ireland, including Parkmore in Galway City.

The hub, according to an Údarás-commissioned feasibility study published several months ago, could support up to 900 jobs in the Conamara Gaeltacht, serving multiple floating and fixed wind farms off the west coast.

“The development of Ros a’ Mhíl as an offshore wind energy hub is likely to have a profound impact, not just on the economy of the Gaeltacht regions of Conamara and the Aran Islands but also on Ireland’s ability to lessen its energy independence,” said Údarás CEO, Micheál Ó hÉanaigh.

Earlier this year, Government signalled its support for a €25million investment in a new harbour at Ros a’ Mhíl.

This new masterplan to be carried out by Atkins will involve planning the port development, carrying out an economic assessment, and detailing the engineering and logistical requirements.

It will also involve creating a ‘Green Port Development plan’ with a view of attaining Net-Zero operations, which means cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of the harbour to as close to zero as possible.

The development lies in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht and Údarás said Atkins employed local Irish-speaking engineers as core team members of the project.

Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) welcomed progress of the project. “Never has it been more vital that we use our vast offshore wind resource to create renewable energy and ensure the security of our own energy supply,” he said.

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Connacht Tribune

Outdated parking meters set to be replaced

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All old pay and display parking meters throughout County Galway towns are in line to be replaced.

Galway County Council has confirmed that it was planning to replace the existing outdated machines with new ones.

It comes after the County Council’s audit committee said that the cost of maintaining the existing stock of pay and display machines was ‘extremely high’.

The audit committee also noted that there were ‘resounding issues with the outdated parking meters’ for users and for Council maintenance.

The Council said that the replacement of its parking machines inventory was ‘ongoing’.

Funding had been set aside in its capital account to replace outdated machines.

Councillor Karey McHugh (Ind) argued that technology should be introduced whereby motorists could use an app to pay for a parking space.

Director of Services, Derek Pender, said the new machines could use coins and card payments through a ‘tap and go’ system.

The software was also available for the machines to be compatible with the app Cllr McHugh had suggested, which was in operation in Limerick, Tipperary and other local authority areas.

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