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Connacht Tribune

Landowners in the dark over road compensation

Declan Tierney

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A major €8.5 million road widening scheme in North Galway is to commence at the end of February – but affected land owners are still in the dark as to the amount of compensation they will be receiving.

It could effectively mean that works will commence on the Abbeyknockmoy to Annagh Hill scheme along the N63 without land owners receiving a cent in compensation – it is causing uproar locally.

Galway County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland have been urged to engage with the 74 affected property owners – some of whom will have farm sheds removed – as a matter of urgency.

Works on the 3.2 kilometre stretch, which involves a road widening process along with the provision of a cycle lane, is due to begin at the end of next month but farmers and householders along the route are furious over the lack of contact.

Last September the compulsory purchase orders for the acquisition of the lands necessary for the road scheme were approved and this week the successful contractors will be appointed.

But local Cllr Pete Roche told a meeting of Tuam Municipal Council that it was unacceptable that property owners were being ignored in this whole process.

“They don’t know how far the fencing will go into their property and, more importantly, they haven’t a clue what they will receive in compensation. They are being treated very shabbily and it is not right.

“Following on from the CPO process, they no longer own the property that has been acquired so the road widening scheme could commence and they cannot do a thing about it,” Cllr Roche explained.

Last autumn a compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of lands on the Abbeyknockmoy to Annagh Hill road scheme was given the go ahead following a public consultation.

An Bord Pleanála confirmed the CPO after an application submitted by Galway County Council for the on-line improvement of the N63. At the time, a total of 10 parties recorded their objection to the plan.

The site was inspected in early June and this was followed by a two-day oral hearing. An Bord Pleanála officials held a meeting at the end of August when they considered objections to the CPO along with the inspectors report following the oral hearing in June and the general submissions on file.

It was then decided to confirm the CPO. However, the issue of compensation has not been discussed with the vast majority of land owners affected.

The board cited a number of reasons including the present substandard nature of the existing road in relation to the alignment as well as drainage and flooding issues.

Director of Services Michael Timmins told the meeting that the tenders had been assessed and evaluated and the successful contractor would be notified. He expected works to commence on the project by mid to late February.

Connacht Tribune

Homemade Wimbledon is a different bale game!

Francis Farragher

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James Craughwell about to serve over the tape – and the sheep gates – to brother Christopher with mum, Anne, in the background. The family dog Prince is showing a keen interest in taking up the role of ‘ball boy’. The brollies on the deck chairs were actually purchased at the Wimbledon tournament that the Craughwells attended in 2017.

WIMBLEDON mightn’t be happening for the tennis professionals this year due to COVID-19 – but one North Galway family are planning their own version of the tournament.

The younger members of the Craughwell family in Menlough village have had a tradition over the years of lining out their own court on the silage slab that’s available for recreation purposes during the early weeks of the Summer.

The three sons of Jarlath and Anne Craughwell – Christopher, Shane and James – rarely missed the opportunity through the years to ‘get the silage slab ready’ for their own Wimbledon tournament.

“The dimensions of the silage slab are almost exactly the same as a tennis court [78 feet X 36 feet} so back the years we always organised our own games. When the silage was made, then that was always it for another year,” Christopher Craughwell told the Connacht Tribune.

As the lads grew older the summer tennis court hadn’t been used for a few years but in 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions, it seemed like a perfect time to bring it back.

“This year we took it a stage further. We used the sheep gates for the net with a line of white electric fence tape along the top so this is probably the best job we’ve ever made of it.

“The silage won’t be made for at least another month so were planning to stage our own family tournament over the coming weeks. With the weather so good, it’s been a great way to pass the time,” said Christopher.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

City Council houses Travellers in county

Declan Tierney

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Cllr Donagh Killilea.

Galway City Council will spend close to half a million euro to house a Traveller family – in a property well outside its own local authority boundary.

Instead the family of four, who previously lived on the Carrabrowne halting site, will be accommodated in the house at Kiltulla near Carnmore, which is deep in Galway County Council’s local government area.

The City Council is understood to have paid €388,000 for the property which will require another €50,000 to refurbish – leaving little change out of half a million euro.

Angry residents, who were unaware of the plan, have now organised a petition to City Council CEO Brendan McGrath to voice their objection to the move.

But Cllr Donagh Killilea believes that there is a bigger issue at stake – with Galway City Council acquiring property wherever they like.

And Senator Ollie Crowe said that he believed the City Council – of which he was a member up to his Seanad election – should be acquiring property within their own area and that this acquisition was ‘unprecedented’.

He said that it was his view that there would be nothing bought outside the city boundary and that the money spent on this property would refurbish a lot of the City Council’s housing stock that had fallen into a state of dilapidation.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Long drives still out of bounds for golfers

Declan Tierney

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Teeing off from the 12th tee at Galway Bay Golf Resort in Oranmore this week on the re-opening of golf courses around the country. There is nothing to suggest that any golfers travelled more than 5km to play in Oranmore. Photo: Keith Kelly.

This week’s relaxation of travel restrictions saw an exodus to the garden centres and the golf courses – but Gardaí have this week reiterated their warning to those planning to excede their five kilometre limit that they may find themselves in the heavy rough.

The first phase of a return to ‘normality’ went to plan, despite the early rush to newly reopened facilities. Even the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of furloughed golfers, who were on the first tee from daylight.

Time sheets for golf clubs across the county were choc-a-bloc as they opened their doors to members for the first time since the end of March – but many clubs privately admitted that more than half of those who played had travelled way beyond the 5k restriction.

That led Gardaí to warn that they will be mounting checkpoints and turning people back home – adding that the golf clubs themselves have a responsibility to advise members on the travel rules.

Tuam Sergeant Pat Hastings confirmed that Gardaí had the power under the Health Preservation and Protection Act 2020 to turn back individuals travelling more than 5k from their homes.

He warned that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with anyone who continually breached the regulations.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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