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Connacht Tribune

Mission accomplished as Galway stay on course to retain All-Ireland title

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Galway full back Sarah Dervan comes under pressure from Miriam Campion of Tipperary during Saturday's All-Ireland camogie semi-final at Pairc Uí Chaoimh. Photos: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

Galway 1-11

Tipperary 0-8

STEPHEN GLENNON AT PÁIRC UÍ CHAOIMH

A solid performance – nothing more, nothing less – from Galway in this hard-fought All-Ireland senior camogie semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday. On the champions march to a second consecutive final, where they will defend their crown against old foes Kilkenny.

It’s days like these when the result outweighs everything else and in overcoming Tipperary, a side that continues to improve game-on-game, Galway now have the opportunity to achieve something that the county has never done before: win back-to-back titles.

Standing in their way are their old nemesis Kilkenny, who will be driven to avenge their All-Ireland defeat to the Tribeswomen in last year’s September encounter.

That will be a potent motivating factor for Kilkenny as they look to buck a trend that has seen them lose six of the last seven All-Ireland finals they have appeared in since 2009 – two of those losses coming against Galway in 2013 and 2019.

Galway manager Cathal Murray will be wary and, certainly, it will not be lost on him just how impressive Kilkenny were in accounting for Cork, 2-10 to 1-11, in last Saturday’s curtain-raiser, particularly given the pressure Brian Dowling’s women came under when Cork raced into an early lead. It was an impressive recovery from the Cats.

In contrast, Galway, at times, stuttered to this victory. When they got into their flow, they looked to be a class apart but for long periods, they were forced to play this physical semi-final on their opponents’ terms.

What champions do, though, is that they find a way and this they did on Saturday. While Tipperary may argue the six-point margin didn’t reflect what they brought to the contest, in truth, Galway could have claimed this victory by much more.

Aside from Carrie Dolan’s brilliantly worked and taken goal on 15 minutes, Galway spurned goal chance after goal chance throughout the 60 minutes. Two of those were from the penalty spot, although in fairness to substitute Siobhan McGrath, who took the second penalty on 60 minutes, the instruction had come from the sideline to tap it over.

Galway’s first penalty midway through the second period was taken by Galway goalkeeper

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Unauthorised developments in County Galway go unchecked for months

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The Planning Enforcement Section of Galway County Council is so understaffed that complaints of unauthorised developments are not being investigated for months, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

In one case, a complaint alleging a house was under construction in a picturesque and environmentally sensitive part of Conamara without planning permission was not investigated by the Council for at least six months.

And it can be revealed that there is a ‘large’ backlog of complaints of unauthorised developments in the county, which the Planning Enforcement Section at County Hall has blamed on staff shortages, according to correspondence obtained by the Connacht Tribune under Freedom of Information (FOI).

In response to repeated requests by a concerned member of the public to intervene and investigate an allegation of unauthorised development in an environmentally protected area of Conamara, the Council’s Planning Department indicated it was too stretched.

“Unfortunately, the planning enforcement section is experiencing a period of prolonged staff shortages and consequently there are a large number of files awaiting investigation/review,” it said.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Access Centre provides pathways to University of Galway for the disadvantaged

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Photo of Imelda Byrne

Great leaps have been made in recent years to make access to tertiary level education a realistic prospect for once marginalised groups in society.

With the deadline for CAO applications approaching next week, the Access Centre at the University of Galway is aiming to reach as many underrepresented groups as possible ahead of next academic term.

Head of the Access Centre, Imelda Byrne (pictured), said research has shown that those who once felt third level ‘wasn’t for them’ are increasing their presence at UG, and bringing a richness to the sector that had for a long time been missing.

In the five years up to 2021, there was a 100% increase in the number of students registering for the Disability Support Service at the university, while those coming from Further Education and Training courses in institutes like GTI had surged by 211% over four years.

“The message that we really need to get out there is that the CAO is not the only route into third level. There are a number of pathways,” says Imelda.

“There are loads of places set aside for students coming from a place of disadvantage,” she continues, whether it’s national schemes such as the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) for socio-economic disadvantage; or the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE); or the university’s own programme for mature students.

Those places are there to ensure those from all backgrounds get an opportunity to reach their education potential, tapping into hugely talented groups that once may have missed that opportunity.

“What we have seen is that when they get that opportunity, they do just as well if not better than other students,” continues Imelda.

For HEAR and DARE scheme applicants, and for those hoping to begin higher education as a mature student, next Wednesday’s CAO deadline is critically important.

But beyond the CAO applications, the Access Programme will open up in March to guide prospective students, whatever challenges they are facing, into third level.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council ‘missing out on millions’ in derelict sites levies

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Photo of Cloonabinnia House

Galway County Council is missing out on millions of euro in untapped revenue due to a failure to compile a complete Derelict Sites Register.

That’s according to Galway East Sinn Féin representative, Louis O’Hara, who this week blasted the news that just three properties across the whole county are currently listed on the register.

As a result, Mr O’Hara said the Derelict Sites Levy was not being utilised effectively as countless crumbling properties remained unregistered – the levy amounts to 7% of the market value of the derelict property annually.

The former general election candidate said Galway County Council was ill-equipped to compile a proper list of derelict sites and called on Government to provide the necessary resources to tackle the scourge of dereliction across.

“There are still only three properties listed on Galway County Council’s Derelict Sites Register . . . anyone in Galway knows that this does not reflect the reality on the ground and more must be done to identify properties, and penalise owners who fail to maintain them,” said Mr O’Hara.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the Council failed to collect any of the levies due to them in 2021.

“This is deeply concerning when we know that dereliction is a blight on our communities. Derelict sites attract rats, anti-social behaviour and dumping, and are an eyesore in many of our local towns and villages.”

“The Derelict Sites Levy should be used as a tool by local authorities to raise revenue that can then be utilised to tackle dereliction, but they are not adequately resourced to identify and pursue these property owners,” said Mr O’Hara.

(Photo: The former Cloonabinnia House Hotel is on the Derelict Sites Register).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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