Date Published: 14-Mar-2011
By Denise McNamara
A Galway man has vowed to leave their Japanese home behind and evacuate his three children in the event that the exclusion zone around one of the nuclear plants is widened.
John Sheehy from Ballybane has spoken of the sheer terror he experienced in the aftermath of the fourth-strongest earthquake worldwide since 1900.
He had just picked up his six-year-old daughter Ellen from kindergarten last Friday when the earth started to move at 2.45pm He ran out into the street but was unable to stand up.
“I had to sit down and I cradled my daughter in my arms. Roof tiles were flying off and smashing all around us. My car bounced two feet off the ground. It went on for five minutes. It seemed like an eternity. I can’t describe how terrifying it was,” he recalled.
He and his daughter walked the 20 minutes to the local school. On the way an aftershock resulted in a telegraph pole crashing beside them.They found all the school children gathered in the sports ground unharmed. He collected his two sons, Conor, 12, and Cain, 8.
Because of the failing mobile phone network, he then had a tense two-and-a-half hour wait before making contact with his wife, Chikako.
They got a nine minute warning that a tsunami was on its way.Their city Kashima – roughly the same population as Galway and located 150km from Tokyo – escaped the worst wrath of the giant wave because of its relative height.
“We got hit hard – there’s significant damage to houses, windows smashed, certain houses collapsed, roads were ripped up. But it’s nothing compared to what happened in the north where whole towns were completely wiped out,” John explained.
They live 150km south of the crippled Fukushima atomic plant, where two explosions have been reported and 200,000 people have been evacuated from the area
.“If they extend the exclusion zone from 20km to 50km I wouldn’t be hesitating. I’m not going to risk my kids’ health. We’ll get out for a few months until the radioactive levels go down. I’ll be knocking on my mother’s door,” added Mr Sheehy.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.