Planners have given the green light for the development of 48 new homes in Bearna, nine of which must be reserved for Irish speakers.
Drumque Ltd – which is headed by Darren King from Rosscahill and Pat O’Sullivan from Dublin – has been granted permission for the construction of the 48 new homes at Forramoyle East. Well-known developer Walter King is also involved in the project.
The 6.7-acre site is parallel to the Truskey West road north of the village, and the development will comprise 30 two-storey detached units; 14 two-storey semis and four two-storey terraced units.
A linguistic impact assessment included with the application states that nine of the homes will be reserved for Irish speakers.
“The proposed development will provide additional residential units within Bearna which will augment and support the existing population centre. The provision of an additional 48 units at this location will not have an adverse impact on the linguistic integrity of the area due to the population levels and numbers of Irish speakers in the vicinity.
“Furthermore, in compliance with the extant Gaeltacht and Bearna Local Area Plans, nine residential units will be reserved for Irish speaking members of the community.
“The reservation of these houses for Irish speakers will help strengthen the language in the village and that this is in addition to any further Irish speakers that may occupy the 39 remaining houses. This will have a positive impact on the Irish language and culture in Bearna,” the application reads.
There were seven submissions to the County Council from third parties, which voiced concerns about the density of the development, the increase in traffic, overshadowing and surface water.
The Council granted permission for the development, attaching a total of sixteen conditions, including a stipulation that a development contribution of €227,000 be made to the local authority towards the cost of providing services to the site.
A bond to the value of €336,000 must also be lodged with the Council to secure the provision and satisfactory completion of lighting, roads, footpaths and open spaces.
A minimum of 20% of the houses must be restricted for use as a house “by those who can demonstrate the ability to preserve and protect the language and culture of the Gaeltacht . . . for a period of 15 years”
The balance of the houses has been restricted for use as a house by local people; people employed or creating employment in the area; returning emigrants from the area or people returning to the area from other parts of Ireland; immediate family members of emigrants or migrants. The restrictions must apply for a period of 15 years.
The developers have also been ordered to commission an independent road safety audit.
A similar application on the site in 2016 was refused on the grounds of layout and design, road issues and the provision of open space within the development.
Hospitals cope with overcrowding and staff shortages as Covid crisis peaks
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to skyrocket in Galway, as virus-related frontline healthcare staff shortages persist and now overcrowding emerges as a new threat.
Galway experienced four days of record-breaking positive case notifications in the past week, as hospitalisations grew exponentially and pressure was heaped on the critical care units at University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Portiuncula.
Hospital management said it was unsure whether community transmission had peaked locally yet – and they expect hospitals to be under ‘significant pressure’ from Covid admissions well into February.
Nurses have highlighted how overcrowding in the Emergency Department of the county’s two main public hospitals has returned – some 112 patients were stuck on trolleys awaiting admission to UHG and Ballinasloe on five mornings in the past week. Meanwhile, it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed that the new UK variant of Covid is present in Galway, but authorities believe it is.
The latest data shows there has been no let-up in new cases notifications in Galway – 604 confirmed cases were notified for Monday, the highest in Ireland and Galway’s worst ever day by a long shot.
It was a frightening figure but it was not for one day and was part of clearing the backlog of cases over Christmas and New Year, the HSE said.
That pushed Galway’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 to 1033.9 more than double what it was a week ago and eight times what it was a fortnight ago. Some 2,668 new Galway cases were notified in the fortnight to midnight Tuesday.
Read the full story and comprehensive coverage of the Covid-19 crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Suffer little children – report shines a light into shameful past
The final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes shines a light into the darkest recesses of our shameful past; young women and tiny babies neglected by Church and State – fellow, frail human beings whose lives and deaths somehow didn’t matter at all.
These women and their children were punished, hidden out of sight; mistreated at best; physically and sexually abused at worst – and way, way too many were left to die without a shred of dignity in their lives or in their passing.
The Trojan work and dedication of people like Catherine Corless lifted the stone on the shame – but it is only in their shocking stories, as we’ve read and heard this week, that we can get any sense of the depths of this depravity.
Many of the mothers were little more than children themselves, who had their little babies taken from them and given away with even a sliver of consent.
There were no records of their adoption, and no willingness, even decades later, to help those babies to find their birth mothers. Because to do so would have exposed the cruel and heartless manner of their forced adoptions in the first place.
And yet exposing this scandal is only the first step; an apology was the very least they were entitled to. Now we as a nation, and particularly those religious orders who ran the homes, must do everything to redress this wrong.
We must open the files so that they can discover their full life stories, find their living relatives, and be compensated so that at least the rest of their lives are in complete contrast to all they’ve endured until now.
We need to look at how we can give hundreds of innocent babies a proper burial – however belated and insufficient that may be.
Nothing will undo the damage – but now that the depths of this depravity have finally been laid bare, there must be no equivocation, no prevarication; just a commitment to doing whatever it takes to try and right a terrible wrong.
See full coverage of the Commission’s Report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway couple celebrate a remarkable 75th wedding anniversary
THEY are without doubt the King and Queen of Rosscahill – 104-year-old Martin McEvilly and his 96-year-old wife, Kathleen – who last week celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.
Both Martin and Kathleen still live at home as part of the Killannin community, and although Covid has presented its difficulties, they still managed to have a small anniversary celebration on January 7 last.
The couple tied the knot back on January 7, 1946, just three months after World War II had ended, when Martin was 29 and his bride – also a McEvilly (from nearby Oughterard) – was just 21 years of age.
Seven children later – three boys and four girls – there are now also many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to carry on the McEvilly lineage, and hopefully too, the genetic gift of longevity.
Two of ‘the lads’ – Pat and Mike – still live locally as do daughters Noreen (now a carer for her parents) and Madge, while John (the youngest) is in Boston, with daughters Mary and Christina in Sydney and Australia.
Son Pat, who lives in Knockferry, said that the 75th diamond wedding anniversary, was still a very special occasion for the family and one of great happiness.
“You don’t hear of them too often – 75th wedding anniversaries – and it was a very special occasion for all of us, to have our parents still alive and well,” said Pat.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie