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Huge surge in trips on city bus services

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The number of commuter trips on city bus routes increased by a massive 1.1 million between 2012-14, according to new figures from the National Transport Association.

There was overall growth of 29% on the city’s public (Bus Éireann) and private (City Direct) routes to the end of 2014.

Since changes were made to routes in March 2012 to the end of 2014, Bus Éireann passenger numbers were up 31% and City Direct up 16% – an overall increase of 1.18m trips.

According to the NTA, changes to the network drove the huge increase in usage, while outlying areas such as Bearna, Moycullen, Claregalway and Oranmore will be looked at for increasing services.

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the NTA said: “The success can be attributed to a combination of revisions to the network that have improved connectivity between key residential areas, the city centre and employment areas such as Ballybane, Ballybrit and Parkmore.

“A key route in the city is Route 405, which operates from the western suburbs to workplaces in Ballybane-Ballybrit Industrial Estate via the city centre.

“The NTA considered that the optimal and most cost-effective routing from west to east for this service was via Eyre Square, given the proportion of total patronage seeking access to city centre destinations.

“It is noteworthy that the NTA granted a licence to City Direct to introduce a new service from the western suburbs to Ballybane via Quincentenary Bridge, which the operator did not act upon, citing likely delays caused by traffic congestion on the approaches to the bridge, as the reason for not introducing the new service,” said Ms Graham.

Fine Gael TD for Galway West, Seán Kyne said the introduction of a service across Quincentenary Bridge is essential.

“Traffic congestion which is unfortunately a feature of Galway life is again a growing challenge due to the strengthening economy. While a bypass for the City plays an integral part in improving transport so too does public transport.

“While the improvements that have been introduced are clearly showing their value there are several outstanding issues which need to be addressed. The primary issue is the failure to introduce a bus service from the west of the city to the east via the Quincentenary Bridge.

“A frequent, reliable service from Knocknacarra, Salthill and Rahoon to the business parks on the east of the city would reduce congestion by providing commuters with a viable alternative,” said Deputy Kyne.

At the end of this year, an Integrated Transport Management Plan will go on display for public consultation, and will be published in early 2016.

“The NTA, working with the city and county councils, will identify existing and forecast deficits in the supply of public transport and to identify measures to alleviate problems caused by traffic congestion in the greater Galway area,” said Ms Graham.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get 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. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get 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. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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