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NUI Galway allays asbestos fears on campus



NUI Galway has allayed fears of an asbestos problem on campus after confirmation that the highly toxic substance had been removed from the campus on thirteen separate occasions between March 2010 and June 2014.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that asbestos was found and removed from locations like the iconic Quadrangle building, Nuns Island and the Fisheries Field.

Twelve out of the thirteen findings were in relation to refurbishments to existing buildings ranging from removal of windows to refurbishment of roofs. The other involved a building due for demolition.

The University stated that “the asbestos was safely removed in accordance with The Safety Health & Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) Regulations 2006 and the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations, 2006.”

They went onto say that the asbestos posed no danger to staff and students alike present on campus during its removal.

“Most of the asbestos removed was external to the buildings and was in the form of asbestos cement products on roofs or wall cladding. These were all carefully removed, strictly avoiding the use of any cutting or grinding of the cement products.

“All of the asbestos cement products were double wrapped in polythene and disposed of through licensed contractors” said a University spokesperson.

The contractors who were tasked with safely removing the asbestos from across the campus were John Higgins Builder & Contractor, John McNamara & Sons Ltd, Carey Development Ltd, Purcell Construction Ltd and JSL Group Ltd.

In relation to asbestos being found internally within buildings, the University were unequivocal “where asbestos was removed internally the areas were sealed off from students and staff in accordance with best practice. Airborne asbestos monitoring was also carried out for NUIG by Environmental Air Monitoring Specialists during and after the removal process.”

All these safety precautions mean that there was little or no risk of exposure to anyone on campus during that time.

The University stressed that there was a plan of action which was followed to safely remove the asbestos.

“The contractors removing the materials were working to a plan of work, wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for the work, under the direction and supervision of a Project Supervisor Design Process and Project Supervisor Construction Stage and in accordance with best practice.”

While no students or staff members were put in any danger during the removal of the asbestos, the University have admitted the potential for more asbestos to be found on campus.

“In a campus with buildings ranging up to 170 years old, that potential exists [for more asbestos to be present on campus]. Arrangements for planning works on the university campus take account of the associated need for due diligence around this issue.”

The University’s policy of dealing with asbestos has been thorough in complying with their statutory obligations through “risk assessments and building surveys by specialists. The information is collated in an Asbestos Register which records details of known asbestos, an assessment of its condition, and, where removal is not currently required, what controls are in place to avoid exposure.”

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, made up of long thin fibres, which can be dangerous if they are inhaled as dust. They contribute to increased risk of lung cancer, scarring of the lung tissue, and mesothelioma – cancer of the lining of the chest and the lining of the abdominal cavity.

Connacht Tribune

Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash



A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.

Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.

The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.

The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.

The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.

Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them. 

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Connacht Tribune

Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra



Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in Galway during Storm Barra



Arrangements have been made to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers ahead of Storm Barra hitting Galway in the morning.

Accommodation will be provided at locations including The Glenoaks in the Westside, the Fairgreen in the city centre and Osterley Lodge in Salthill (Contact 085 8009709 or 085 8009641).

The COPE Galway Day Centre will remain open all day Tuesday from 8.30am to closing.

Meanwhile, Galway City Council has warned that a number of roads may be closed in the morning ahead of high tide, including Salthill Prom.

Following ongoing meetings of the Inter-Agency Co-ordination group today and based on the latest information available, a number of precautionary measures have been put in place.

Road Closures:

  • Closure of Silverstrand Beach at 6pm Monday
  • Closure of Ballyloughane Beach at midnight (Local Traffic only)
  • Closure of Rosshill Road at 6am Tuesday
  • Closure of Salthill Promenade at midnight:
  • Blackrock Tower to Seapoint and onto Grattan Road. (Closure of Grattan Road may be required. Monitoring in place to decide.)
  • Potential closure of roads along the Claddagh, Docks and Spanish Arch from 5am Tuesday

A spokesperson said: “There may be further closures throughout the city as required and the situation will be closely monitored and regular updates given.  Motorists will experience delays as a result.”

The carparks at Toft Park and on the Promenade have been closed and all vehicle owners have been asked to move their vehicles from car parks and along the Prom.

Sand bags are now available at the following manned locations: the former Tourist Kiosk in Salthill (behind Seapoint); Claddagh Hall; Galway Fire Station; Spanish Arch; the Docks (beside the pedestrian crossing at St Nicholas Street).

“Anyone who avails of sandbags should retain them in their possession for use throughout the upcoming winter season. Please do not take any more sandbags than you need,” the Council spokesperson said.

“The main impacts will include strong winds, falling trees and potential flooding.  High tide in Galway Bay will be at 6.45am Tuesday.

“Some trees may be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment, and with more rain forecast with Storm Barra some disruption due to falling trees/branches is likely. Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves may block drains and gullies, leading to surface flooding. Galway City Council staff have been carrying out drainage maintenance across the city in advance of the storm to minimise potential flooding risks.

“Storm Barra will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges. This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts,” the Council said.

Business owners and homeowners are advised to check their own drains and secure any loose objects within their property in advance of the warning taking effect.

“Galway City Council advises remaining indoors during the period of the warning and, as always, to avoid coastal areas. Parks and other wooded areas should also be avoided, due to the danger of falling trees. If absolutely essential to travel, please exercise extreme caution out and about especially on coastal roads and exposed shores.

“City Council staff will be on standby for clean-up following the passing of Storm Barra and the associated warning once it has been deemed safe to do so.  Please note the associated clean-up which will commence on Wednesday morning may impact on traffic.”

Galway City Council Customer Services phone lines are available to deal with emergency calls on 091 536400. For the Galway County Council area, the phone number is 091 509069.

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