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Connacht Tribune

Minister puts spotlight on pike threat to pearl mussel

Dara Bradley

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The presence of pike on the water systems in North Connemara may be indirectly damaging an endangered species, freshwater pearl mussel, a Government Minister has said.

Heather Humphreys, who is responsible for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, has confirmed that the release of pike in some lakes upstream of Lough Corrib may be negatively impacting on freshwater pearl mussel.

Minister Humphreys said it was regrettable that pike fish were released into the Owenriff system recently, and she said the “Inland Fisheries Ireland are working to control or ideally eradicate these introduced fish”.

She said that pike are not normally associated with the fast-flowing stream conditions that are typical of the Owenriff River and are not usually a factor in pearl mussel conservation.

However, Minister Humphreys, speaking in Dáil Éireann, said pearl mussels depend for some time of their lives on juvenile trout or salmon.

“The larval mussels attach themselves in a parasitic manner to the gills of the small fish and then drop off to begin life on the river bed. There is a possibility therefore that pike could have an impact on the number of juvenile fish available to the mussels.

“It is believed however that the juvenile fish that host the mussels are likely to have spawned close to the mussel beds, and it may be the case that such stream-living fish are not impacted by pike elsewhere in the river system,” the Minister said.

She said her department intends to carry out a “fish host survey”, in 2017, “including the Owenriff, to sample juvenile salmon and trout for mussel larvae and will review available fish data to assess trends in host fish populations.”

There is disagreement between those who fish for salmon or trout on the western lakes which are designated wild trout fisheries and those who fish for pike. By the end of the year a new policy will be implemented on the management of pike in the seven lakes and rivers where their numbers are currently controlled but there both sides are diametrically opposed on what that policy should be.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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