The IDA is coming under severe pressure to provide more jobs in rural Galway – rather than focusing their attention on larger centres of population like Galway city.
While Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor toured the country over the summer months, there are demands for new employment in towns like Tuam, Ballinasloe and Loughrea.
There are still more than 2,000 out of work in Tuam while in Ballinasloe the loss of manufacturing jobs has resulted in more than 2,500 being left on the dole. The number of closed up shops in the town has reached unprecedented levels.
TDs and councillors representing these towns have called on the IDA to seek planning permission for advance factories to be built so that facilities could be put in place that would attract manufacturing industry.
Fianna Fail’s Deputy Eugene Murphy says that the IDA jobs figures do not live up to their claims that they are spreading jobs fairly across the country.
The Roscommon-Galway TD said that there was evidence to show that almost 50% of foreign direct investment jobs were located in the greater Dublin area between 2012 and 2015.
According to fellow TD, Deputy Mick Fitzmaurice, the latest employment figures from the IDA shows clearly that the West of Ireland and other rural areas are falling further and further behind when it comes to job creation.
“The infrastructure deficit outside the main urban areas has been pointed out to us by major employers and is a major bar to employment creation
“The IDA figures show an increase in employment figures for Mayo and Galway, a small increase in Roscommon and a loss of jobs in Sligo and Leitrim.
“While the employment figures at IDA assisted companies shows a slight overall increase in the western area which is welcome, it is minuscule when compared to the figures for Dublin and Cork and other major urban areas,” Deputy Fitzmaurice added.
He said that he met with major employers in the west and they clearly said that the lack of proper infrastructure in terms of roads, proper broadband and mobile services and other basic facilities is a bar to employment creation in rural areas.
Fine Gael’s Cllr Tom McHugh has repeatedly called on the IDA to seeking planning permission for the construction of advance factories at their 27 acre site on the Dunmore Road in Tuam.
“While I welcome the Minister’s visit to the site during the summer, we need the IDA to provide the facilities at the business park for a manufacturing industry to locate there.
“It is a fine facility and one that should be utilised and particularly in view of the fact that Tuam will become part of a motorway in around 16 months’ time,” Cllr McHugh added.
We’re on the move – but we’re going nowhere!
This week marks the end of one major chapter in the history of the Connacht Tribune – and the start of a new one.
Because this is the last edition of this proud old newspaper to be produced from the Market Street offices where we’ve been from the Tribune’s inception in 1909.
From next week, we will be working from our new state-of-the-art offices in Liosban Business Park – or at least those not working remotely because of Covid restrictions will.
But while we’re on the move, in truth we’re going nowhere – because we are committed to covering everything that goes on in Galway now as our predecessors were back in 1909.
And by deploying the latest in technological advances, we aim to make that an even smoother journey from the source of the story to your homes and workplaces every week.
These are troubled times, not just for newspapers, but for all businesses; so this investment in a new base – complete with cutting-edge technology – is a real investment in our future and a vote of confidence in our staff and readers.
Covid has tested every one of us, not just in Galway or indeed in Ireland, but across the globe; we’ve seen such loss of life and such threat to livelihoods – and perhaps there’s much more to come.
But while we leave Market Street with memories and sadness, we also look forward to the brighter days ahead – as we do what we always did, which is to provide all the news, sport, features, entertainment and more as our colleagues have done over more than 110 years.
It’s the end of one chapter for sure, and the beginning of another – but this is a story that we know will just run and run.
Students asked to steer clear of house parties
Students returning to Galway for the start of the new term later this September have been urged to avoid house parties to help lower the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.
The HSE has said that the majority of confirmed cases in the West in the past two weeks were linked to socialising.
The latest mini ‘surge’ of infection in Galway, though better than the national average, was worrying, according to Director of Public Health Dr Breda Smyth.
“We have been growing incrementally at a very low rate but at a steady pace. In the West we’ve been doing well in our overall 14-day incidence rate compared to national levels but even withstanding that we are seeing an increase and it has started since late August.
“It has been rising slowly and in the last two weeks in particular we’ve seen a surge,” she said.
Dr Smyth said third level institutes have initiatives in place to reduce the spread of infection.
“But once again what we have seen and will continue to see is that if students congregate in crowded areas – so, high volumes of house parties and socialisation, which is reducing social distancing – then there’s a high risk that we will start to see outbreaks in that community. It is important that students do also take personal responsibility while at college to reduce the risk of outbreaks,” she said.
For full story – and Covid-19 coverage – see this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in all shops now. Or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Shannon farmers send out an SOS to save their land
RURAL TDs in constituencies adjoining the Shannon have been called upon to work together to put in place an action plan for the relief of river flooding that continues to threaten homes, farms, farmyards and wildlife across eight counties.
The renamed Save Our Shannon Organisation claimed that the lowering of water levels along the Shannon’s three main lakes – as well as the elimination of over 20 critical river pinch points – could overnight virtually ‘wipe out’ the problem of summer flooding in the area.
SOSO are also seeking a meeting with Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan, who has responsibility for the OPW – the lead agency in terms of flooding issues across the country.
Chairman of SOSO and local Shannon Callows farmer, Michael Silke, this week told the Connacht Tribune that he was unequivocally laying the blame for the summer flood problems at the doors of the ESB and Waterways Ireland.
“These are the two great ‘untouchables’ as far as the flooding problems of the Shannon are concerned. They really are a law onto themselves,” he said.
Mr Silke added that historically a decision taken in 1972 to raise the level of Lough Ree by 0.61 metres (two feet) was one of the core problems with flooding lower down on the Shannon.
“My summer grazing on 50 acres of land beside the Shannon this year was just two months – from the end of May to the end of July. And I’m just one example of the problems being faced by hundreds of farmers,” he said.
Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in all shops now. Or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie