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Just 40% of farmers support greenway plans

Declan Tierney



A senior official with Galway County Council has claimed that 40% of farmers were supportive of the proposed controversial greenway coming through their lands.

And Director of Services for Roads and Transportation, Liam Gavin asked elected members to be positive about the economic and social benefits from the provision of the greenway through lands in East Galway.

But members of Ballinasloe Municipal Council maintained that there was growing opposition to the plan and did not believe it was a runner in its current format.

The Council and the National Roads Authority have been asked to go back to ‘the drawing board’.

It is planned to provide a coast to coast greenway from Dublin to Galway and the indications are that the National Roads Authority are not going to terminate the greenway in Athlone.

One source in the NRA said that it would be completed to Galway “come hell or high water”.

The reason for this is that it will ultimately link with the Galway to Clifden greenway which is currently being constructed along the old railway line between the two destinations.

Another presentation has been made to Municipal Councils along the proposed route of the greenway including Ballinasloe last week where councillors were strong in their opposition to the project and one councillor walked out in protest before the presentation even began.

It is an indication of the huge opposition there is to the greenway crossing farmland between Ballinasloe and Oranmore.

The IFA is opposed to it while other independent organisations have been established to voice their objections.

The section of greenway from Dublin to Athlone will mainly be along the banks of the Royal Canal which is largely in public ownership.

The remainder of the route may require compulsory purchase orders, which would be a nightmare scenario for landowners.

Mr Gavin spoke about the huge economic benefit for East Galway towns and villages and also outlined what consultation process has been carried out with landowners along the route.

“It is not about me or Galway County Council, it is about people and community. We have had public consultations and I do admit that there are around 60% of land owners opposed to it,” he added.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Aidan Donohue believed that the opposition was much greater. He said that the NRA was “bullish” about the route but it could blow up in their faces.

In a lengthy submission, Cllr Michael Connolly of Fianna Fail said that it was imperative that any lands acquired will be by mutual agreement and not CPO.

He said that this was being driven by people in Dublin who have no idea the impact of such a greenway on the farming community in the West of Ireland.

Cllr. Connolly added that the greenway was being ‘foisted’ on farmers in the west.

“If they do not get the goodwill of the community, then it cannot work,” he remarked.


‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.

Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.

There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.

Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.

“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.

“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.

“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”

(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Developer banks on boom in rental property market

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The backer of the Crown Square scheme in Mervue is planning an increase in the number of apartments in the development following a review of the economic viability of the project.

The 345 apartments will specifically target the rental market.

Crown Square Developments Ltd, which is operated by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has told Galway City Council that the amended plans will form part of a new planning application to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála under ‘Strategic Housing Development’ legislation.

According to the company, the property market has changed since it was granted permission in November 2019 for 288 apartments in three blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height.

Mr Rhatigan has now sought planning permission for an 18% reduction in the overall size of basement levels and a reduction in car parking from 1,377 to 1,012 spaces. Cycle parking spaces will increase from 1,110 to 1,200.

The plan also involves the relocation of the vehicular and pedestrian access to the development on the Monivea Road, which will now be closer to McDonagh Avenue. The existing planned access is at the south-easternmost point of the site, but is now planned to move further west.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Former hurler has words of wisdom to help through absence of sport

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The sports psychology advice dispensed by performance and wellbeing coach, Tony Óg Regan, is not just geared towards elite and non-elite athletes – it is relevant to a virus-weary general public, too.

Take, for example, the former Galway hurler’s thoughts on the need to be proactive during this global pandemic.

“We have to be proactive around our own health and wellbeing, rather than waiting for a vaccination to drop on your lap or for things to change really quickly around the economy or whatever,” he says.

And his thoughts on consumption of news on social media will be familiar with anyone who has wasted hours down virtual rabbit holes scrolling through threads on Twitter or Facebook or videos on TikTok during lockdown.

“It’s okay to be aware of the news and the case numbers and vaccinations but we can’t be putting 90% or 95% of our energy and focus on that every day, because depending on how we are interpreting that information it could be driving stress and anxiety levels,” he says.

The advice is to be aware of the requirements around restrictions but ‘just don’t let it take up every waking hour and every waking thought’.

“Consciously and subconsciously we could be taking in a lot of news sources. When we scroll online, they reckon we take in 174 newspapers’ worth of information every day. Some of that could trigger anxiety and stress levels so it’s important we’re aware of that, and maybe don’t do things unconsciously.

“So recognise that you’re going on the phone now for 20 minutes, and you’re not on it for two hours and you’ve forgotten what you’re doing and it’s triggered anxiety.

“Focusing on things that we can control and influence and being proactive around health and movement and our conversations, what we’re listening to, what we’re reading. Those elements are so important to regulate stress and anxiety at this time,” says Tony Óg.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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