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Connacht Tribune

New homes plan a ‘fatal accident waiting to happen’

Enda Cunningham



A local residents’ association has objected to plans for the construction of nearly 40 new homes in Claregalway, warning that additional traffic in the area would be a “fatal accident waiting to happen”.

Residents in the adjoining Riveroaks estate also argue that no insurance company offers flood insurance for their homes.

Developer Walter King has sought permission to develop the 3.8-acre site at Summerfield for 39 houses and 78 parking spaces.

The plans involve 22 three-bed semis, 6 two-bed end of terrace, 6 two-bed mid-terrace, 3 three-bed terraced and 2 four-bed semis, accessed from the Riveroaks estate.

Because the lands are in a Gaeltacht area, 20% of the development (eight dwellings) must be reserved for Irish speakers for a 15-year period.

“The proposed development will provide additional residential units within Claregalway which will augment and support the existing population centre. The provision of an additional 39 units will not have an adverse impact on the linguistic integrity of the area due to the population levels and the numbers of Irish speakers in the vicinity.

“Furthermore, in compliance with the Gaeltacht Local Area Plan, eight residential units will be reserved for Irish-speaking members of the community for a 15-year period. The reservation of eight houses for Irish speakers will help strengthen the language in the village and this is in addition to any further Irish speakers that may occupy the 31 remaining proposed houses,” the application reads.

Four houses will be transferred to the County Council to meet social housing requirements.

The Riveroaks Residents’ Association has made a submission the Council outlining the reasons it is not in favour of the development, including Health and Safety issues.

“Riveroaks is a very large estate with a single access point to the main N17 road which is also shared with a shopping centre and the Claregalway Hotel and is already extremely dangerous with one resident recently suffering a near-fatal accident.

“Traffic volumes through the village are still dangerously high and this is compounded by the fact that the entrance to Riveroaks frequently flooded due to hopelessly inadequate storm drainage systems in the village.

“The junction is potentially lethal as due to the curvature of the road, visibility is extremely limited on both sides and we feel it would be grossly irresponsible to allow heavy construction traffic in particular to access a large site like this through this route.

“We also have strong concerns about the health and safety of residents and young children in particular – the route from the estate entrance through to this proposed development is approximately 500 metres long and passed by many open entrances – the additional traffic through this route is a fatal accident waiting to happen,” the objection reads.

Residents also point out the development borders a documented flood plan, and while an engineering report with the application found the development and access road would be in a low-risk zone, “the reality is that no insurance company currently offers flood cover for any property in Riveroaks estate”.

They also took issue with GK Developments, the company which built Riveroaks – headed by Walter King – over unfinished work and delays in the estate including road surfacing, footpaths and drainage.

Concerns were also expressed that there would be nearly 200 houses and apartments, with no plans for recreational facilities and while children are already playing in close proximity to the road.

The Council is due to make a decision on the application in the middle of September.

Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones




These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.

But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.

If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.


All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.

You can email that with a photograph to us, to or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.

We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.

This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances.  You can contact our team for further details at

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Connacht Tribune

Alison’s Euro Award for Covid information project

Dave O'Connell



Mike Feerick...found of Alison.

The Galway-established online course providing information about coronavirus in more than 70 languages – reaching over 350,000 people worldwide – is among 23 projects from the EU and the UK recognised for their outstanding contribution to fighting COVID-19 and its disastrous consequences.

The European Economic and Social Committee has awarded the Civil Solidarity Prize to the Irish learning platform Alison – founded by social entrepreneur Mike Feerick and based in Loughrea – for its free online course which was developed and published at the very start of the pandemic to educate as many people as possible about the virus, its spread and its effects.

The EESC, an advisory body representing Europe’s civil society at the EU level, selected the learning platform Alison as the best Irish candidate for the Prize, saying that its project “Coronavirus: What you need to know” stood out as a shining example of solidarity and civic responsibility during the COVID-19 crisis.

The online course was launched in February 2020 when the knowledge about the virus was still very scarce and the governments were still struggling with how to respond to the looming crisis.

With its training programme, based on WHO and CDC guidelines and continuously updated to include the latest information, the Irish platform has given people free access to potentially life-saving knowledge.

Translated in less than four months into more than 70 languages, with the help of 5,000 volunteers many of whom were immigrants, it had been completed by approximately 350,000 people as of September 2020. Some 100,000 people signed up for it in a single day.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www/

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Connacht Tribune

Covid a whole different ball game for Galway camogie nurse

Dara Bradley



Pictured at the presentation of a Galway jersey and message of thanks from Galway GAA to frontline workers at UHG this week were (from left) Galway Senior Camogie player and nurse Emma Helebert, Galway GAA Chairman Pat Kearney, Galway Senior Ladies Football player and nurse Tracey Leonard, Galway Bay FM commentator Tommy Devane, and Eoin McGinn, Assistant Director of Nursing.

Galway camogie star Emma Helebert doesn’t shy away from a question about Covid-19 anti-vaxxers and their online conspiracy theories.

“Personally, since this pandemic has hit, I’m allergic to social media over the whole thing,” she says.

A midwife at University Hospital Galway, the 2019 All-Ireland winner agrees that vaccines involve personal choice.

But that choice should be informed by trusted sources of information, such as the HSE or NHS websites – and not random often nefarious and anonymous contributors on social media.

“There are more reliable sources of information than turning to places like Facebook or whatever online forums are talking about it,” she says.

“What’s scaring people more than the actual thought of the vaccines is these opinions that are being forced down people’s throats and they’re seeing it every time they go on Facebook and scrolling on social media.

“My only advice to people who are scared is to do your own research. Go to the reliable sources of information and don’t believe what you see on Facebook.

“Unfortunately, there are people out there who create pages that are full of negativity or full of lies. It only takes one scary thought or piece of information you’ve heard to cling to you that’ll make you not want to get it,” she adds.

Read the full interview with Emma Helebert in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from

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