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Hotel set to rise from the ashes

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There is good news for tourism interests in the Portumna area with confirmation that the burned out hotel in the village has been sold – and could reopen for business as early as 2017.

The loss of the hotel in Portumna was a major body blow for the town but local businesses are buoyed by the fact that it will reopen within the next couple of years.

It is understood that there were six interested parties in acquiring the burned out shell of the hotel which has now been sold by the receivers of the property.

It is not known who has bought the old Shannon Oaks Hotel but it has been learned that it will be reopened as a hotel in 2017 or 2018.

The move has been welcomed by Portumna Chamber of Commerce who said that the loss of a hotel in the town was costing around €2.5 million in lost revenue.

Paul Dillon of Pallas Carting in Loughrea – he is also President of Portumna Chamber of Commerce – said that he was aware that there were six potential buyers of the property.

He said that he had been in discussion with the receivers who informed him that the property had been sold.

Mr. Dillon said that he was happy that it would be reopened as a hotel and there would be progress within the next month or six weeks.

He said that he was informed by the receivers that the ‘sale agreed’ sign had been erected and that it went to the top bidder.

“We need a hotel in Portumna and we are heartened that it has been sold to someone who intends to redevelop the property. It has been a major loss to the town.

“I am confident that there will be a new hotel on the site and that is welcome news for the town. The loss of a hotel has been a major stumbling block for Portumna over the past four years,” Mr. Dillon added.

Over the past year the Shannon Oaks Hotel Action Group (SOHAG) was formed in an effort to have the property sold and reopened. It now appears as if their ambitions have been achieved.

“It is with great relief to us and we are sure all of Portumna to know that the process is so near completion and that we can all start looking forward to a bigger brighter future for the town and all the area,” Mr. Dillon added.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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