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Connacht Tribune

Light at last for Tuam babies

Stephen Corrigan

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As the Government finally confirmed the timescale for the excavation of the mass grave on the site of the former Tuam Mother and Babies Home, two of the facility’s survivors have spoken out to tell their story – and to again build bridges with the people of the town.

PJ Haverty from Menlough and Walter Francis from Athenry – both of whom were born at the Home – decided to speak out just as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that excavations will finally begin at the site in the second half of this year.

“We anticipate that there’ll be excavations in Tuam in the latter half of 2019 because we have to pass legislation in the Oireachtas, giving the government the power to do the excavations,” said the Taoiseach.

“Because, for lots of reasons, we don’t have the power to do that, so we’ll have to pass that legislation in the New Year. In the meantime, though, we can start appointing the experts and the ground team who’ll be doing the actual work,” he added.

And while the two men wanted to reveal how fate had put them in touch with each other, they also wanted to plead with the public to support the town and its ‘wonderful people’, whom they say are owed huge debt of gratitude for their support and patience since this shocking story first broke in 2014.

Both men say the outpouring of support from Tuam residents has bolstered them over the past couple of years as they told the story of an Ireland that once turned its back on innocent women and children.

“I go down to Tuam regular and I always sense going in that we’re not thanking these people enough for putting up with it.

“Imagine this going all over the world – Tuam, the place where the babies are buried. It could hit a town very badly,” said PJ.

No matter what was going on, whether it was the world’s media descending on the town, vigils for those buried at the site, marches by survivors, or facilitating forensic examinations, locals have never stood in the way, he continues.

“When you look at Tuam, it’s a fantastic town. We want people to come to Tuam, visit Tuam and see it for what it is,” said PJ.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – on sale now.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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