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Connacht Tribune

Kinvara flood news ‘doesn’t hold water’

Declan Tierney

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Cllr Joe Byrne at Kinvara quay, where rising tides threatened houses following the downpours last weekend.

Yet another announcement has been made on the provision of essential flood relief measures for houses along the quay in Kinvara – but a local councillor remains unconvinced.

Cllr Joe Byrne claimed that this was at least the third announcement made over the past 18 months that barriers are to be provided to protect houses from rising tides and prolonged rainfall.

More than a dozen houses were flooded during the downpours at the end of 2017 – there was also extensive flooding in 2014 – and in early 2018 a commitment was given that measures would be put in place to protect the 19 houses along the quay.

And even last weekend, following Friday’s prolonged downpours, the houses were under threat with rising tides but fortunately they escaped being flooded on this occasion.

But Cllr Byrne said that he was ‘sick and tired’ of such announcements being made over the past year and a half with nothing to show for it.

The Fine Gael councillor said that he has been informed on a number of occasions that progress was being made but yet no application for funding had been submitted.

This week, Minister Sean Canney stated that he had received confirmation from Galway County Council that it is to begin a survey and costing of a Minor Works Scheme to tackle the problem.

He said that an application for funding would be made to the Office of Public Works and that this process will commence in the next four to six weeks

“After the properties along the quay flooded two years ago, I brought the Minister for the Office of Public Works Kevin Moran to Kinvara to see at first hand the devastation caused.

“The Office of Public works has indicated that it will look at an application for funding under the Minor Works Scheme,” Minister Canney added.

But Cllr Byrne pointed out that both Minister Canney and Minister Moran visited Kinvara along with Council engineers back in early 2018 and the process hadn’t even gotten off the starting blocks.

“Back in 2017, salt water entered 13 houses and commercial premises while sandbags saved six others. At the time we called for individual property protection to be provided.

“We were visited by the Ministers and assured that individual property protection wold be provided but it has been a long and very frustrating wait”, he said.

During mid-2018, all houses were visited by the Council engineers and the door openings were measured to facilitate the fitting of barriers to individual dwellings that would rise in the event of the threat of flooding.

A couple of months later there was another announcement about an application being submitted for the flood relief scheme to be funded but again nothing came of this.

“This is a totally unacceptable situation for the residents and commercial property owners in the quay area of Kinvara to have waited 18 months since the first confirmation from Minister Canney,” Cllr Byrne added.

Connacht Tribune

Future of beef industry in doubt

Francis Farragher

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Minister Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed

STARK warnings have been issued this week that ongoing protests outside meat plants by one splinter farming organisation could jeopardise the whole future of the Irish cattle and beef industry.

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, in an open letter to farmer protesters, said that over recent weeks their message had been heard loud and clear, leading to the agreement that was hammered out after 36 hours of talks last weekend.

“Over the weekend, huge efforts were made to reach an agreement, to signal to you, that not only have your voices been heard – but that things are going to change. That is why the leaders of the IFA, Macra na Feirme, ICMSA, ICSA, INHFA and the Beef Plan Movement backed the agreement.

“That is why the representatives of the Independent Farmers of Ireland said that they agreed to recommend the deal to those of you at the factory gates who sent them. All of these people who represent the vast majority of farmers in Ireland believed that this was a decent start on a way forward,” said Minister Creed.

He pleaded with farmers still protesting (the Independent Farmers of Ireland) not to be responsible for the destruction of the Irish beef industry. “Those of you who are minded to continue the protest must now be fully aware of your responsibilities. The future of the Irish beef sector is in your hands . . . the futures of your fellow farmers are in your hands,” said Minister Creed.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the time was right to ‘give the agreement a chance’ as many beef farmers were coming under the most extreme financial pressure. “We need to get cattle moving again. The message has been delivered as regards the plight of beef farmers. An agreement has been reached – we have to give it a chance,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Portumna seeks slice of Downton Abbey action!

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Portumna connection…Princess Mary (actress Kate Phillips) in Downton Abbey.

The release of its first silver screen drama has seen the spread of Downton Abbey fever all over again – and one local Junior Minister wants to see Galway cash in on its new connection.

Because, according to Ciaran Cannon, the appearance in the movie of Princess Mary – a visitor to the fictional Crawley family seat – creates a direct Downton link to Portumna Castle.

And the Minister for the Diaspora and International Development is urging the tourism sector in Portumna to make use of the town`s connection to boost visitor numbers.

“Fans of ‘Downton Abbey’ will be flocking to movie theatres in droves to see the hit drama revived for the big-screen and interestingly, from the point of view of East Galway`s history, the movie version features the real-life character of Princess Mary,” he said.

Because the real-life character of Princess Mary visited Portumna in 1928; her husband was the last owner of Portumna Castle prior to it being acquired by the State.

The new cinematic outing for Downton Abbey sees the servants and aristocrats of the famous house receive a visit from King George V and his wife Queen Mary, prompting much panic and excitement.

One of the most prominent royals featured in the film is that of Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood – played by Peaky Blinders actress Kate Phillips.

The real Princess Mary was the only daughter of King George V and his wife Queen Mary. She had two older brothers – the future kings Edward VIII and George VI, the latter being the father of Queen Elizabeth II.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway mum on signs of heart valve disease – and how to get back to full life

Denise McNamara

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Una Fahey at home in Kilbeacanty. Photo:Andrew Downes

Una Fahey had spent two days in bed floored by a vicious ‘flu – or so she thought. Her youngest son Enda was to play in the Galway County Minor Hurling Quarter-Final that day in 2017 but she was unable to focus on the match, she so ill with a high temperature and sore bones.

“I wouldn’t be one to go to the doctor with the ‘flu because you could spread germs – I don’t know what made me go but I didn’t want to be in bed anymore and wanted to get better quicker,” she reflects from her home in Kilbeacanty, outside Gort.

She attended her local GP clinic which was staffed by a doctor on call that Saturday. Her condition was so serious that an ambulance was called and she was dispatched to University Hospital Galway.

Tests revealed she had bacterial endocarditis – or heart valve disease. Within 48 hours she had both her mitral and aortic valves replaced with mechanical valves.

Her illness came as a complete shock. She was 57, healthy, and looking forward to some free time as the last of her five boys was leaving home to go to college.

“I had no warning really. I’m still not 100%. I get very tired – tiredness is actually the worst thing about it,” Una reveals.

Croí, the Heart Disease and Stroke Charity, is urging people aged 65 and over not to mistake the symptoms of Heart Valve Disease for old age during European Heart Valve Disease Awareness week.

Read full interview and advice in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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