Residents on Inishbofin have welcomed the refusal of planning permission for an upmarket camping site on the island – planners have ruled that it would have an adverse impact on wildlife habitats in the area.
It was proposed to develop 14 glamping pods, which would have the capacity to accommodate around 100 visitors at any one time, at Knock, Inishbofin.
The plan was to provide the glamping pods, a reception area, a toilet block and a wastewater treatment system at a location close to Drumhach Beach.
But the plans attracted a total of 37 objections, mainly from residents both on and off the island, on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on wildlife, particularly the Corncrake, as well as it being unsightly at this particular location.
Inishbofin Tourism Committee, An Taisce and a number of island accommodation providers were also among the objectors.
And there were suggestion that the proposed glamping development at Knock, Inishbofin, would attract a certain element that would dissuade the more traditional visitor from coming to the island.
The applicants, Bofin Glamping Limited, stated that they wanted to provide “a unique holiday or short-stay” experience for visitors by providing a high standard of accommodation.
They stated that they are fully aware of the sensitivity of the landscape on ‘Bofin and wish to make as little impact as possible on the environment.
According to their submission, the pods are portable timber-framed accommodation to domestic house standards with insulation that keeps them warm in any conditions.
Bofin Glamping Limited was established earlier this year by Paddy Mullin and John Adams who work for the locally run ferry service Island Discovery. Paddy is a crewman and relief skipper while John also runs The Harbour Shop on the island.
However, Galway County Council ruled that the site for the glamping pods was protected under the EU Habitats Directive. The development, they said, would result in the permanent loss of the Machair wildlife habitat.
The planning authority were also not satisfied that the safe disposal of domestic effluent can be achieved on site and this would pose an unacceptable risk to surface waters and the flora and fauna of the area.
It was also stated that the development would be incapable of satisfactorily assimilating into this rural landscape and would have a detrimental effect on this coastal setting.
In their submission, Inishbofin Tourism Committee say that the application listed only five accommodation providers on the island when, in fact, there are 263 existing beds available for tourist purposes.
“A plan that tries to prove demand for accommodation on the island while at the same time does not even include over half the beds in the whole tourism sector, is a plan not worth considering due to this serious misrepresentation of the facts”.
They went on to say that it would ruin this very scenic part of the island and would have a negative impact on Drumhach Beach – a Green Coast Award recipient.
“The constant pollution, noise, movement, lighting and general activity from this amount of people would be devastating for the area”, the tourism group contended.
The decision is likely to be appealed to An Bord Pleanala.
Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
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 www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
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 www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
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 www.connachttribune.ie