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Connacht Tribune

Galway sisters plan to conquer Kilimanjaro once lockdown is lifted – to raise thousands for Jigsaw



Mountain task….Mary (left) and Eilis Conroy.

Two Galway sisters are planning to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania once restrictions ease to raise money for the youth mental health charity Jigsaw.

Conroy siblings, Éilís, 26, and Mary, have set a target of raising €15,000 to climb the highest free standing mountain in the world and Africa’s highest point. Located in Tanzania, the elder sister first came up with the idea of climbing it for charity while volunteering as a student.

The Conroys from Ballyglunin outside Athenry both share a passion for mental health. Éilís is a psychologist working in Trinity College Dublin while Mary is in the first year of a degree in law and social justice at UCD.

“I did the Leaving Cert during Covid and this year again there’s so much uncertainty for Leaving Certs. It’s a really difficult time for young people because they can’t meet up with friends, they don’t have that outlet – everyone knows someone affected by mental health difficulties,” reflects Mary

Éilís knows of several young people who availed of the support offered by Jigsaw which can provide invaluable help when waiting years for an appointment with the HSE’s youth mental health services.

“Jigsaw are an excellent resource. They really fill that gap between public services for young people which have a waiting list of three years or more.”

The women have already started training for the climb. Their route is over 62km and will take seven days and six nights camping on the mountain.

“It’s a really big challenge – it’s been a motivation during lockdown to get fit,” laughs Mary.

“I know 62km doesn’t sound like much but it’s all uphill and it’s more challenging because of the altitude. People can get altitude sickness so it is quite a gruelling trek.”

The pair, who both live in Dublin, have a varied training schedule – they combine strength training with running, HIIT (High-intensity interval training) and will start practicing on local hikes once the 5km restriction lifts.

They have booked the climb for June with Kilisa Tours as all climbers have to engage a tour guide by Tanzanian law. They can change the date to suit the pandemic guidelines but are prepared to quarantine in order to meet their goal.

The pair have set a target of €15,000 to raise for Jigsaw. A portion of the donations can be used to help towards expenses according to charity’s guidelines.

They have so far raised €3,345 from 68 donations.

“We have a few ideas about how to raise the money. Jigsaw are going to set up virtual events so that people can walk or run the same distance we’re climbing,” explains Éilís.

“We’re going to share our meal plans and training schedules and will share our journey once we get there.”

Donations can be made to:


Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council brings in new rules on roadside memorials



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



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



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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