A new index which calculates and updates the air quality in Galway every hour is expected to become a valuable resource for asthmatics and people who suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
The Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH), launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week, allows members of the public to check on the quality of air in the city and obtain advice in relation to its impact on their lives.
It provides a coloured scale, divided into four bands from ‘good’ to ‘very poor’, along with health advice for both at-risk groups and the general population.
The index was developed in conjunction with the Health Service Executive, Met Éireann and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. You can see the current readings at www.airquality.epa.ie.
By zooming in on Galway on a map of Ireland, a user of the site can check out the AQIH which can change considerably over the course of a day as well as obtaining advice on what to do when the reading is poor.
“Air quality can vary from town to town, day to day and even hour to hour. The Air Quality Index for Health allows people in Galway to keep informed about air quality in their town or area and its impact on their health and that of their family,” said EPA Manager Barbra O’Leary.
“The access to up to date and correct information on air quality is important to everyone, but especially for anyone suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases who are more likely to be at risk from air pollution.”
People at risk are advised to check the index before engaging in any strenuous outdoor activities such as sports.
Clean air is seen as having a huge importance in determining a population’s health and reducing the burden of chronic disease.
While air quality in Ireland is amongst the best in Europe, the levels of some pollutants remain a cause for concern, particularly those produced by traffic in some urban centres.
Domestic solid fuel use is the other main source of concern, especially in areas where the sale of bituminous coal is permitted.
Ms O’Leary said Irish people were lucky to have relatively good levels of air quality and there was never a need to take extreme precautions, such as staying indoors, which were necessary in other parts of the world.
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.
It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.
General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.
She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.
Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.
Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.
Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.
She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.
Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!
Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.
Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.
Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.
The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.
Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.
“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.
*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.