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Connacht Tribune

Minister controversially overturns housing land zonings

Declan Tierney

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A recent decision by elected representatives in Tuam to zone four parcels of land in the town for housing has been controversially overturned by a Government Minister.

Livid Tuam area councillors are expected to call an emergency meeting of the Municipal Council next week.

Housing Minister Damien English, in correspondence with Galway County Council, said that the zonings are located in ‘a scattered and disorderly manner’ and would not be in the interests of the long-term development.

The lands are located at Milltown Road, the Gardenfield area while two are situated in the Ballymote area of the town.

Fianna Fail’s Cllr Donagh Killilea said that it was obvious that the Minister knew very little about the housing requirements in the town and efforts would be made to reverse this decision.

And what makes it even more frustrating for the local councillors is that two of these plots of land were previously granted planning permission for housing that has since expired.

The Minister will also be invited to the emergency meeting of Tuam Municipal Council and will be afforded the opportunity to view at first hand the lands in question.

“It is obvious that the Department of Housing do not want to see towns like Tuam expand at a time when there is an urgent need for more dwellings to be provided,” Cllr Killilea told The Connacht Tribune.

The decision to zone these parcels of land was taken at a recent meeting of Galway Council Council when members were discussing the Tuam Local Area Plan.

In correspondence with Galway County Council, the Minister states that these particular zonings would effectively extend the town boundary and his Department had serious concerns about this. He added that the guidelines on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas states that “new development should contribute to compact towns and villages”.

It goes on to say that the decision taken by councillors conflicts with the preferred development strategy option to “rationalise land use zonings in Tuam”.

Cllr Killilea said that local area councillors are responsible individuals who only make decisions in the best interest of the town.

“The fact that there was previously planning permission on at least two of these sites, which was granted by Galway County Council, meant that the local authority saw fit to allow housing development take place at these locations.

“But now the Minister is effectively saying that they were wrong in doing so at the time. One would get the impression that the Department do not want Tuam to expand and develop like it should do,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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