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Connacht Tribune

Ireland moves to Level 3 restrictions from Tuesday night

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The government has decided today that, from midnight tomorrow 6th October, all remaining counties will be placed on Level 3 under the Plan for Living with COVID-19.

This action is based on a review of the current public health advice and is in response to the deteriorating situation with the virus across the country.

All counties will be at Level 3 for a period of 3 weeks until midnight on 27th October 2020, at which point the situation will be reviewed by the government, based on the status of the virus and public health advice.

In addition, in recognising that Level 3 is being extended in Dublin and Donegal beyond the three-week period, businesses in these counties will be eligible for a further 20% and 10% top-up respectively.

Placing all counties at Level 3 has the following implications:

  • visitors to private homes and gardens should be limited to a maximum number of 6 from one other household.
  • no social/family gatherings should take place, with exemptions to this for weddings and funerals (see below).
  • no organised indoor gatherings should take place. Organised outdoor gatherings are permitted, up to a maximum of 15 people.
  • people should remain in their county (they must not leave to travel either domestically or internationally), with the exception of those who must travel for work, education and other essential purposes.
  • people are asked to work from home unless absolutely necessary.
  • schools, early learning and childcare services should remain open. Adult and higher education institutions should remain open, but are asked to review protective measures and take steps to limit congregation as much as possible.
  • you are asked to walk or cycle where possible so that public transport is available for use by essential workers and for essential work only.
  • no matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional, elite, inter county and senior club championship – all to take place behind closed doors.
  • horse racing may continue, but behind closed doors.
  • non-contact training activities can continue in the outdoors and in pods of up to 15, with certain exemptions (see below).
  • indoor training should be confined to individuals only and no classes are to take place.

Business and Services

  • all retail shops and shopping centres may remain open. All services such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, opticians etc. may remain open with strict adherence to sectoral guidance on protective measures
  • all outdoor playgrounds, play areas, parks remain open
  • gyms/leisure centres, swimming pools may remain open for individual use only and with protective measures.
  • hotels, guesthouses and B and Bs may remain open, but with services limited to residents.
  • restaurants and cafes (including bars/pubs serving food/wet pubs) may remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining/service to an absolute maximum of 15 people. Wet pubs in Dublin remain closed.
  • libraries will be available for e-services and call and collect
  • all indoor museums, galleries, cinemas and other cultural attractions should close
  • religious services will move online, though places of worship may remain open for private prayer

Over 70s and Medically Vulnerable

  • those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.
  • it is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced
  • it is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced
  • when taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home
  • it is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport

NOTES:

  • weddings may proceed, but with a limit of 25 guests for ceremony and reception (irrespective of venue). It will not be possible to attend a wedding in another county. Couples resident in a particular county, but with existing plans to can travel to get married outside that county.
  • maximum number of mourners to attend a funeral is 25.
  • visits to long term residential care facilities are suspended, with the exception of visits required for critical and compassionate circumstances
  • public transport operates at 50% capacity
  • non-contact training activities can continue in the outdoors and in pods of up to 15 with strict adherence to the relevant protective measures. There is an exemption to this for professional or elite athletes, for inter-county sports and for senior club championship training
  • no matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional, elite, inter county and senior club championship which should take place behind closed doors. Horse racing may continue, but behind closed doors.
  • nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.

Travel for Work and Essential Purposes

  • travel to and from work, or for the purposes of work and where that work cannot be done from home
  • to attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products
  • for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits
  • for farming purposes i.e. food production and/or care of animals

Connacht Tribune

‘Give even one big GAA game to Ballinasloe’

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It’s the most centrally located ground in the country but Ballinasloe’s Duggan Park won’t host a single inter-county match this year – much to the annoyance of one local councillor who wants the GAA to allocate at least one big game to the venue.

Cllr Michael Connolly told a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that the ground is entitled to host major football and hurling fixtures – even though all but one of the Galway footballers’ home league games are assigned to Pearse Stadium with the other one in Tuam.

“If they gave us one match in Duggan Park, it would be something,” he said. “But at the moment, it seems as if it is being ignored.”

The Moylough councillor described it as the most accessible ground in the country and a venue in which players and supporters like to travel to – unlike, he suggested, Pearse Stadium.

He said that it was “a hateful venue” and few GAA supporters relished the prospect of travelling to the “far side of the city” to watch a football or hurling match.

A recent meeting in Gullane’s Hotel to discuss Duggan Park was attended by Deputy Denis Naughton, Senator Aisling Dolan, Cllr Evelyn Parsons and Cllr Declan Kelly among others.

But the Duggan Park Committee then issued a statement saying that the ground is owned by Galway GAA and any use of the facility needed to be authorised – and no authorisation was given to the meeting organiser, former Mayor of Ballinasloe Joe Kelly, for this purpose.

Mr Kelly has been a staunch campaigner for the redevelopment of Duggan Park and has called on the local authority to row in behind this initiative.

They went on to say that there is a plan in place for the development of Duggan Park which is multiple staged which started with the new dressing rooms, flood lights and a new entrance to the venue.

Planning permission is in place for this development and that €500,000 has already been spent in the Duggan Park over the past number of years carrying out these projects.

The work in the ground, they say, is done to an excellent standard by local contractors with the support of the previous Town Council for grants and sports capital grants.

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Connacht Tribune

Former tourism magnet officially on register of derelict sites

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The fire-ravaged hotel that was once one of the most popular in the county is now officially considered a derelict site – and that has led a local councillor to call for it to be either redeveloped or levelled.

Portumna’s Shannon Oaks Hotel, for so long popular with anglers and golfers in particular, has been boarded up for more than a decade since it was destroyed by fire.

Local councillor, Jimmy McClearn, has called on the owners to reopen or sell the property – adding that it should either be levelled or redeveloped.

“We are a tourist town and we need a hotel. The last thing we want is for a hotel to be shut up,” he said.

“It is a fine facility and on an extensive site so there is no reason why it should be boarded up,” he added.

The Shannon Oaks saga has gone on for the past twelve years – but now the owners, the multi-millionaire Comer brothers, will be forced to pay a derelict site levy if they do not reopen or redevelop.

That amounts to a seven per cent levy based on the market value of the property, which is worth around €1 million even in its derelict state.

The Shannon Oaks was ravaged by fire in September 2011 and four years later, the site was acquired by the Comer Group who, at the time, gave an undertaking that it would be reopened.

Around two years ago, planning permission was granted by Galway County Council to Barry Comer of the Comer Group to renovate the hotel by providing 60 new bedrooms along with 40 apartments to the rear of the structure.

However, there has been little or no movement on the site since then and now the owners are being again asked to give some indication as to when the hotel will be rebuilt.

It is considered an integral part of the tourism industry for the town and that is why pressure is mounting on the owners to rebuild the hotel.

Cllr McClearn said that all he is asking for is the owners to develop the site and provide a hotel there. “It’s not much to ask in a tourist town,” he added.

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Connacht Tribune

More than €200,000 worth of cannabis seized in East Galway

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More than €200,000 worth of cannabis was seized in during two separate search operations in East Galway on Saturday.

Gardai from the Divisional Drugs Unit conducted a search at a residence in Aughrim and seized cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €146,000 and €20,000 worth of cannabis herb which will now be sent for analysis.

Two men (both in their 30s) were arrested at the scene in connection with the investigation and are currently detained at Galway Garda station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.  Both men remain in custody.

A separate search was carried out at a residence in Ballinasloe yesterday afternoon and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €35,000 was seized. Cannabis jellies and €7,510 in cash were also seized.

A man in his 40s was arrested and later released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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