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Connacht Tribune

Minister commits to examine all options on greenway

Enda Cunningham



Transport Minister Shane Ross has said the Government is committed to looking at ‘all route options’ for the Athlone to Galway greenway.

Speaking in the Seanad, the Minister said there is ample evidence that greenways have an economic benefit for towns and villages along their routes, and are important for regional tourism development.

He was responding to queries from Senator Maura Hopkins, who said immediate action is needed to prioritise the development of the Athlone to Ballinasloe greenway. She has underlined the need for local consultation on the matter.

“There remains significant untapped tourism potential right across the Roscommon/ Galway region, and the development of the Athlone to Ballinasloe Greenway has the potential to bring an influx of tourists into the area,” she said.

She pointed to the success of the new Waterford Greenway which was used by over 250,000 people in its first year, providing a huge economic boost for that region.

“I strongly believe that this greenway from Ballinasloe to Athlone and onto Dublin can provide a major boost for South Roscommon and East Galway,” she said.

“In progressing this project, it is essential that proper engagement takes place with all local stakeholders, including landowners, the community, local authorities and state agencies. We need to look at all possible options to ensure that a consensus can be found on this development,” she added.

Senator Hopkins said that a renewed focus on this section of the Greenway route was even more timely given the launch of the €53m National Greenway Strategy.

“It is essential that renewed focus is placed on the Athlone to Ballinasloe section of greenway in order to ensure we can secure funding for this project,” she said.

Minister Ross said that all route options need to be looked at, but declined to go into any detail on any emerging preferred route.

“We need to start again and look at all route options for the entire Athlone to Galway section. I will not pre-empt the work of the group devising the code of best practice and it would not be appropriate for me to go into any great detail about the specific route between Athlone and Galway.

“It is important to reiterate, however, that we have ample evidence from the current long-distance greenways, such as those in Waterford and Mayo, of the economic benefits that accrue to the towns and villages along these routes.

“Jobs have been created in cafés, restaurants, hotels and bike hire companies that would not otherwise have been created and those jobs support other jobs and households in the locality. This has assisted in retaining people in their own locality rather than them having to leave for jobs in our larger cities. That is why we regard greenways as so important for regional tourism development as well as health and well-being.

“We continue to view the Galway to Dublin greenway as the most likely national greenway of scale and international appeal and are committed to its construction should an agreed route be found. I do not want anybody to get the impression that we lack determination or there is any diminution in our determination that this greenway will go ahead,” said the Minister.

Connacht Tribune

Sinn Féin surge turns Galway’s political landscape on its head




Galway West Fianna Fail candidate Eamon Ó Cuív celebrates after his election with his wife Aine, their children Eamon Óg and Eimear, and grandchildren Aine, Mairead Eamon and Sean. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

It was a day that few – including Sinn Féin’s own faithful – saw coming, as a surge across the whole of the county saw the party, which was almost wiped out in the local elections, take two seats and go close to a third across Galway’s three constituencies.

The second phenomenon from the weekend’s results was the success of female candidates, with the three areas returning five women TDs for the eleven seats. The election of Mairead Farrell, Catherine Connolly and Hildegarde Naughton in Galway West alone marked a record return in a constituency which only elected two female TDs for the first time in 2016.

But – mirroring the rest of the country – the rise and rise of Sinn Féin was the big story, with candidates coming from the back of the pack to dominate.

The focus has now switched to the formation of a new Government – and while Fianna Fáil’s only poll-topper Eamon Ó Cuív proclaimed himself willing to work with Sinn Féin, so too Roscommon/Galway Independent duo of Michael Fitzmaurice and Denis Naughten revealed they were willing to talk to all sides who would take their policies on board.

Éamon Ó Cuív said Sinn Féin’s links to the IRA – and the armed struggle during the Troubles – were not a barrier for Fianna Fáil ‘doing a deal’ on a programme for Government.

And the grandson of Éamon de Valera, founder of Fianna Fáil, said a coalition between Sinn Féin and his party was still the most likely scenario.

“The options are narrowing. Sinn Féin can’t make it with small like-minded parties. Fine Gael are closing the door on everybody. And it could be a question of the last two standing, which would be Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin,” he said.

See our full election coverage across Galway East, Galway West and Roscommon/Galway over 18 pages in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune website and social media tops the poll




The Connacht Tribune’s award-winning website and social media channels topped the poll at the weekend for unrivalled up-to-the-minute election tallies, counts and analysis.

Over the past week, attracted more than 87,600 users and recorded 227,400 page views.

Of the users, just over 75,000 were in Ireland (85%), but the election coverage also attracted 3,800 readers from the UK (4.3%); 3,600 (4.1%) in the United States; nearly 1,500 in Turkey (1.6%) and more than 700 in Australia (just under 1%).

Hundreds more expatriates tuned over the weekend from numerous European counties and as far afield as India, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, South Africa, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia – and they returned for more!

Meanwhile, our Facebook page was leagues ahead of all other local media, with 458,000 engagements (clicks, likes, shares and comments) for the week to February 12th – fifteen times higher than some other outlets and more than 267,000 ahead of the closest.

On Twitter, the @CTribune account earned more than 207,000 impressions (the number of times our tweets were shown in people’s timelines) last weekend.

The figures show, once again, that the Tribune is the most popular and trusted news source in Galway.



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Country Living

A case for taking some of the bumps from the ‘Green Road’

Francis Farragher



In search of the 'middle ground'.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

The dust has settled on the election campaign . . . well sort of . . . and now all of the different parties and interest groups are battling it out to have their say in the direction of our country in the months and years to come. We’d all love to be able to look forward to a greener, fairer and happier era, but the great reality of life is that there has never been a path without its bumps and twists.

American writer, publisher and philosopher of the late 19th and early 20th century, Elbert Hubbard probably summed it all up with his famous quote of: “Don’t take life too seriously: you’ll never get out of it alive.”

There are days on the farm when a walk by the river bank or by stone walls that are partly papered with whitethorns and briars just gives a feeling that at times, there is a close alignment between nature and those of who have some every-day link with the land.

In most ways, despite our tendency to whinge about the wind and rain, we are blessed with a climate here in Ireland that means we’re always destined to have the greenest of green isles, despite all the harbingers of doom, who tell us that we’re doing little right when it comes to the future of our planet.

There I was, watching a pre-election TV debate a couple of weeks back when a Dublin woman who admitted she knew nothing about farming said that maybe we should ‘cut back’ on the national herd – her view being essentially based on what she had heard someone else say.

In those debates nowadays, the trend is for such contributors to have a 13-year-old offspring perched beside them, primed to provide a little Greta Thunberg style lecture to us heathens who won’t genuflect on the spot at such outpourings.

Now, I won’t go into any diatribe about the right way to bring up children, because never since the beginning of mankind has there been any ‘guaranteed guide’ on that topic, but I do hold onto to a small old-fashioned belief, that children and teenagers, should as a general rule, not have to be catapulted prematurely into the world of adulthood, and especially so by their parents.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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