Fears are growing that the Marine Institute’s plans for a test site off Spiddal could pave the way for a fish farm in Galway Bay ‘through the back door’.
Campaigners are concerned about a statutory instrument that was enacted by Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, which change licencing laws for salmon farms for research purposes.
The change to regulations, which was advertised in national newspapers this week, and which was backdated to August 26, will allow salmon farms under 50 tonnes to operate without an Environmental Impact Assessment. Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages said the change, “seems to be an attempt by Minister Creed to remove a major obstacle which would have prevented the Marine Institute getting their lease application in Spiddal sanctioned”.
The campaign group’s chairman, Billy Smyth, said: “We were right to be concerned about the Marine Institutes salmon farming plans for the Galway Bay Test Site at Spiddal. This new statutory instrument proves that we weren’t scare mongering when we said that the Marine Institute were going to allow salmon farms at the site under the guise of research.”
Last month, GBASC indicated it would be opposing plans for a lease for the test site at Spiddal.
The group said Minister Creed’s signing into law the statutory instrument confirms their suspicions that the test site could be used for salmon farming.
Mr Smyth said: “It would be a total waste of taxpayers’ money if the Marine Institute were to set up farmed salmon research stations in Irish waters, as the Norwegians have being carrying out similar research for the last 40 years to try to find out how to environmentally and sustainably farm salmon in open sea cages, and so far they have failed. Wild salmon in Norwegian rivers that flow into Fjords and bays that contain salmon farms are nearly extinct from disease, infestations of sea lice and escapees from salmon farms. Let the Marine Institute just ask the Norwegians for the results of their research and save money.
“It is time that a public inquiry is conducted into the failed salmon farming industry in this country to determine how an industry that employs directly, less than 150 people can acquire tens of millions of euro in State supports for little return, while our hospitals are bursting at the seams and thousands are homeless for the want of funding.”
The Marine institute’s original application stated it was seeking permission to deploy three turbines of 60 metres in height.
However, it has since corrected its application and insists that the “devices” will be half that height.
“A prototype floating wind turbine being tested on the site could have a blade tip at maximum 35m above sea level while wave energy converters would be up to 5m above sea level,” it said. It has applied for a 35-years lease, and the wind turbines will be on site “intermittently”.
The application states that there will be a limit of three ocean energy test devices deployed at any one time for a period of testing “no greater than 18 months”.
€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.