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.
Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie