An innovative plan is being drawn up to provide a rural transport service in East Galway following the recent withdrawal of a Bus Eireann route that had been in place for many years.
And if it gets approval from the National Transport Authority, it could go out to tender next month and be operational around mid-September.
This follows the cessation of the Bus Eireann service that was lost to Kilrickle and other villages between Loughrea and Ballinasloe because of the extremely poor take-up.
It was decided to suspend the Kilrickle stop-off because there were only four passengers utilising the service and Bus Eireann say that they could not justify its continuation.
The Route 20 Galway to Dublin return service will not be stopping in the likes of Kilrickle again but there are plans to establish a LocalLink bus service that would bring rural passengers to the bigger centres of population.
Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte believes that providing a rural bus service to the likes of Ballinasloe and Loughrea would keep students and workers residing in the county rather than moving into rented accommodation in the city.
Along with local councillors Shane Donnellan and Ivan Canning, she met with National Transport Authority officials to discuss the impasse.
“The local link bus would collect passengers, whether they be students or workers and deliver them to either Loughrea or Ballinasloe where they can access bus or rail transport to Galway city.
“It was a major disappointment that the Bus Eireann service decided not to stop along the old N6 between Loughrea and Ballinasloe, but we have to move on and find alternatives,” Deputy Rabbitte said.
The Fianna Fail TD said that this service, which could also take in stops in Kilconnell each morning as well as Kilrickle, could have the effect of students opting to live at home rather than incurring the expense of renting in Galway city.
She said that there was a solid case for a local rural bus service from which access could be provided to either Galway city or Athlone.
The Galway East Deputy met with LocalLink Galway Manager Joe Greally to discuss the viability of a service between the two towns – which would then connect with existing services in Athlone and Galway.
The National Transport Authority Chief Executive Officer Anne Graham went through the bus stops along Route 20 with statistics on usage and said that Kilrickle had just four users per day.
A rural link bus service currently operates from Gort taking in Castledaly, Peterswell and Kilchreest before arriving in Loughrea. “It is a very popular route,” Deputy Rabbitte added.
It is expected that the plan for the Loughrea to Ballinasloe stretch will come before the NTA for approval within the next couple of weeks.
Boil water notice issued for Barna area
A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes
The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.
The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.
The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.
Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.
Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.
Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.
In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.
Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised
Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.
A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.
Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.
Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.
Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.
He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .
Anger over ANC ‘snip’
ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.
Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.
In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.
Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.
At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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