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Connacht Tribune

Groundswell of support for return to status quo in Galway East

Declan Tierney

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The political groundswell has gathered pace to restore the old Galway East constituency to the county boundary – numerous submissions have been made to the new Boundary Commission to eliminate that section of the constituency that is in Roscommon.

Proponents want the stretch from Ballinasloe town all the way across to Williamstown, Glenamaddy and Dunmore restored to Galway East – in the last general election it formed part of the newly formed Roscommon-Galway constituency.

There was huge controversy when Ballinasloe was removed from Galway East and especially when it was the county town and had its own elected Urban District Council, which set and collected its own rates on behalf of Galway County Council.

A reduced Galway East then became a three-seater as, indeed, did Roscommon Galway but this is one submission to the Constituency Boundaries Commission to include every part of the county on east of Galway city into a new five-seater – again, in order the maintain the county boundary.

The constituency commission invited submissions on if and how any new commissions would be drawn up – the current situation in Galway East has been the source of huge critical debate.

In one submission, the Kevin Barry Cumann at NUI Galway said that the east part of the county had been disenfranchised and isolated by being part of another constituency.

“Natural boundaries of townlands and villages have been divided as in the cases of Clonfert, Eyrecourt and Kiltormer, which has been a hindrance to community and parish cohesion.

“It is the recommendation of our members that the Galway East should comprise of the Municipal District areas of Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam and Athenry-Oranmore.

“The population of these areas, as per the 2016 census preliminary results, would merit five Dáil seats,” they stated in their submission.

There are numerous submissions advocating that Ballinasloe and the rest of east Galway be brought back from Roscommon and restored to the one constituency.

A Ballinasloe Fianna Fail submission, signed by the long-serving Nancy Cregg, said that they wanted the county boundary restored and added that it was a totally unnatural divide.

They want it back to four seats with the stretch from Ballinasloe town across to Dunmore back in with Galway East. The party said there was a lot of apathy in these areas when it came to canvassing in a Roscommon-dominated constituency.

FF’s Deputy Anne Rabbitte pointed out that the county town should never has been removed as people do not want effectively to be removed from their county.

Meanwhile’s Cllr Aidan Donohue of Fine Gael, who could well be a potential candidate himself if the boundary was restored, said that there were people living the constituency who had no affiliation with Roscommon. It is also difficult for councillors from Galway to represent people in a different constituency.

Of course, any move to change the constituency would be resisted by sitting Minister Denis Naughten who certainly availed of some of the 20,000 votes that were there for the plucking on the Galway end of the constituency.

Connacht Tribune

Homemade Wimbledon is a different bale game!

Francis Farragher

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James Craughwell about to serve over the tape – and the sheep gates – to brother Christopher with mum, Anne, in the background. The family dog Prince is showing a keen interest in taking up the role of ‘ball boy’. The brollies on the deck chairs were actually purchased at the Wimbledon tournament that the Craughwells attended in 2017.

WIMBLEDON mightn’t be happening for the tennis professionals this year due to COVID-19 – but one North Galway family are planning their own version of the tournament.

The younger members of the Craughwell family in Menlough village have had a tradition over the years of lining out their own court on the silage slab that’s available for recreation purposes during the early weeks of the Summer.

The three sons of Jarlath and Anne Craughwell – Christopher, Shane and James – rarely missed the opportunity through the years to ‘get the silage slab ready’ for their own Wimbledon tournament.

“The dimensions of the silage slab are almost exactly the same as a tennis court [78 feet X 36 feet} so back the years we always organised our own games. When the silage was made, then that was always it for another year,” Christopher Craughwell told the Connacht Tribune.

As the lads grew older the summer tennis court hadn’t been used for a few years but in 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions, it seemed like a perfect time to bring it back.

“This year we took it a stage further. We used the sheep gates for the net with a line of white electric fence tape along the top so this is probably the best job we’ve ever made of it.

“The silage won’t be made for at least another month so were planning to stage our own family tournament over the coming weeks. With the weather so good, it’s been a great way to pass the time,” said Christopher.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

City Council houses Travellers in county

Declan Tierney

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Cllr Donagh Killilea.

Galway City Council will spend close to half a million euro to house a Traveller family – in a property well outside its own local authority boundary.

Instead the family of four, who previously lived on the Carrabrowne halting site, will be accommodated in the house at Kiltulla near Carnmore, which is deep in Galway County Council’s local government area.

The City Council is understood to have paid €388,000 for the property which will require another €50,000 to refurbish – leaving little change out of half a million euro.

Angry residents, who were unaware of the plan, have now organised a petition to City Council CEO Brendan McGrath to voice their objection to the move.

But Cllr Donagh Killilea believes that there is a bigger issue at stake – with Galway City Council acquiring property wherever they like.

And Senator Ollie Crowe said that he believed the City Council – of which he was a member up to his Seanad election – should be acquiring property within their own area and that this acquisition was ‘unprecedented’.

He said that it was his view that there would be nothing bought outside the city boundary and that the money spent on this property would refurbish a lot of the City Council’s housing stock that had fallen into a state of dilapidation.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Long drives still out of bounds for golfers

Declan Tierney

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Teeing off from the 12th tee at Galway Bay Golf Resort in Oranmore this week on the re-opening of golf courses around the country. There is nothing to suggest that any golfers travelled more than 5km to play in Oranmore. Photo: Keith Kelly.

This week’s relaxation of travel restrictions saw an exodus to the garden centres and the golf courses – but Gardaí have this week reiterated their warning to those planning to excede their five kilometre limit that they may find themselves in the heavy rough.

The first phase of a return to ‘normality’ went to plan, despite the early rush to newly reopened facilities. Even the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of furloughed golfers, who were on the first tee from daylight.

Time sheets for golf clubs across the county were choc-a-bloc as they opened their doors to members for the first time since the end of March – but many clubs privately admitted that more than half of those who played had travelled way beyond the 5k restriction.

That led Gardaí to warn that they will be mounting checkpoints and turning people back home – adding that the golf clubs themselves have a responsibility to advise members on the travel rules.

Tuam Sergeant Pat Hastings confirmed that Gardaí had the power under the Health Preservation and Protection Act 2020 to turn back individuals travelling more than 5k from their homes.

He warned that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with anyone who continually breached the regulations.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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