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Housing construction in Galway up on last year

Enda Cunningham



The number of new homes on which construction work began in Galway in the first half of this year was up more than 60% on the same period in 2013.

The growth has been described as “extremely positive” for the market and a boon for the beleaguered construction sector in Galway.

Official local authority figures show that the number of new residential housing projects that got underway in Galway City and County between January and June was 244 – that’s up 63% on the 150 during the same period in 2013.

It’s also up from the 202 in the first half of 2012, and almost on a par with the 247 for six months in 2011.

The latest ‘National Housing Construction Index’ compiled by researchers at measures construction activity through planning applications and Commencement Notices submitted to the City and County Councils. Commencement Notices are submitted when construction work is about to begin on a permitted project.

Nationally, the average increase in commencements was 66% – the highest rates of increase were recorded in Westmeath (189%), Monaghan (138%), Sligo (114%), Cork (112%) and Meath (98%).

The level in Roscommon remained static at 0%, while the lowest rates of increase were recorded in Cavan (17%), Wicklow (18%), Louth (19%) and Longford (26%).

Planning applications to both local authorities in Galway decreased by 3%, from 314 to 310. The comparative figure for the first half of 2012 was 380, down from 523 in 2011.

There was an average national increase in planning applications of 19% in the first half of this year.

Danny O’Shea, Managing Director of Link2Plans said: “The huge increase in project commencements however, is tempered by the fact that there has been a massive drop in the rate of growth in the last few months.

“A rush to get residential construction projects started before new building regulations came into force on March 1, 2014 was the main factor behind the remarkable increases in project commencements in the first few months of this year.

“The year on year increases for planning applications and project commencements bodes well for the construction sector in the short to medium term.

“The year-on-year increase in project commencements is incredibly positive, notwithstanding the slowdown in the rate of growth in project commencements since the start of the year.

“The figures for planning applications and project commencements are extremely positive. They are still relatively modest in the overall context of the level of construction activity required to meet the recent ESRI forecasts for housing requirements,” said Mr O’Shea.

Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara



Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara



Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell



Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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