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Connacht Tribune

Kinvara Pier death ‘a terribly unfortunate accident’

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A retired priest who lost his life after driving off the pier in Kinvara last October died in what appeared to be a ‘terribly unfortunate accident’, an inquest was told this week.

The inquiry at Galway Coroner’s Court heard that Fr Anthony Minniter had attended 7pm Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on the evening of October 31, 2019.

Sometime before 8pm, witnesses walking alongside the green in the village noticed a silver car passed them – it would later become apparent that this had been Fr Minniter’s silver Ford Focus.

Witness James Dorrian said his house was adjacent to the Pier Head Bar and Restaurant and at around 8pm, he was alerted by a woman on the pier that there was a car in the water. Looking out, he said he could see a car around 15 to 20 metres away from the pier.

Mr Dorrian, along with a young woman who was at the scene, took control of a small row boat and made their way out to the car. He said the car had been brought out by the current.

Local mussel farmer David Krause said just before 8pm, he had received a phone call to say there was a car in the water. Using his fishing vessel, he and a colleague managed to get a rope around the wishbone of the car and pull it out of the water.

When they got to ground, they broke the passenger window where, as Mr Krause described, they found the single occupant, Fr Minniter, in the driver seat with his seat belt fastened.

Advanced Paramedic Emmet Forkan gave evidence that upon arriving at the scene, they found Fr Minniter had a viable heart rhythm, but was hypothermic. He was transported to UHG and CPR was administered.

Witness Angela Connolly, with whom Fr Minniter was staying, said he had suffered from moderate dementia for which he took a small amount of medication, but that he had been totally independent and cooked for himself each day. On the night of the accident, she said Fr Minniter had left a note to tell her he had gone to Mass.

When he hadn’t returned at 8.15pm, Ms Connolly became concerned and decided to go out to look for him. Having checked the church to see if his car was there, Ms Connolly said she became aware that a car had entered the water and went down check if it was Fr Minniter. When it became clear it was, she followed the ambulance to UHG.

Attempts to save Fr Minniter failed and he died at UHG in the early hours of November 1.

An inspection of Fr Minniter’s car found electrical damage as a result of being submerged in seawater, but concluded that the vehicle “appeared to have been in serviceable condition prior to impact”.

A post mortem concluded that Fr Minniter had not been under the influence of any substances when the accident took place.

The Coroner, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin said it was likely Fr Minniter had failed to take a necessary turn and concluded that the cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning, returning a verdict of accidental death.

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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