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Minister bides time on Galway Bay fish farm



Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney says he’s not going to rush into making a decision on the planning application for a controversial massive salmon farm in Galway Bay.

The Minister, speaking on RTÉ radio, said that he is “cautious” about the salmon farm industry but he said there is an opportunity for it to grow in Ireland.

“We have a very large application in for Galway Bay,” said Minister Coveney.

“I’m insisting on getting very detailed scientific and environmental advice in relation to that and when I have the advice that I think I need then I’ll make a decision on that. I’m certainly not going to rush it. I think there will be a decision before the summer but let’s wait and see how that goes.”

He was speaking to the Countrywide programme on Radio One last Saturday morning.

Asked about the status of the plans for the fish farm, which were submitted to the Department of Agriculture two years ago, Minister Coveney told presenter Damien O’Reilly, “Let’s be clear. There aren’t plans for it; there’s a planning application in at the moment for a number of salmon farms, not that many actually.”

Minister Coveney added: “Just to be clear on this, I haven’t given any planning permission for a single salmon farm in four years since I came into office. People need to know that I am cautious about this industry but I do think there is an opportunity for the salmon industry to grow in Ireland and I have introduced a very robust and environmentally responsible licensing system for aquaculture and salmon farming.”

BIM applied for a licence in August 2012 for 15,000 tonne of salmon, which equates to 7.2 million fish. It is for a ‘twin site’ farm – one for smolts at Inis Óirr and another for more developed salmon off Indreabhán.

The total area of the site covers 1,126 acres, and it has the capacity for 30,000 tonnes, which would produce some 14.2 million salmon, although the application is for 15,000 tonnes.

BIM says the project would benefit the local community through a €60 million initial investment plus “an annual wage flow of over €14 million”.

Opponents of the planned farm say locals “don’t want jobs that pollute to produce”.

Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages says the fish farm will “destroy” the local inshore fishing industry and the angling-related tourism industry. They say shrimp, prawn, lobster, oyster and crab fishing in Galway Bay will be destroyed if the proposal gets the go-ahead.

Both sides are awaiting the Minister’s decision.

Connacht Tribune

One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip



Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello and his chihuahua Bubbles, with Fergus Lally of Galway’s Celtic Chauffeurs at the Cliffs of Moher.

He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.

The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.

But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.

“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.

“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”

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Connacht Tribune

Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis



UHG's Emergency Department.

As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.

UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.

This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.

On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.

Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.

There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.

Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.

Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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Connacht Tribune

Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots



Larry Donnelly, with the Bostonian, on the grounds of NUI Galway.

Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.

But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.

His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.

He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.

Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.

The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.

“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.

Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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