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Connacht Tribune

Plan for ill-fated Galway Bay salmon farm cost €525k

Dara Bradley

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A State agency poured more than half-a-million euro into a planning application for a licence for the ill-fated fish farm in Galway Bay.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has come under fire for the “outrageous” spend on the project, which polarised opinion in the city and county.

Ireland’s seafood development agency this week confirmed it spent a total of €524,992 on the licence application for its controversial plans for a proposed 15,000 tonne salmon farm.

The cost has been described as “shocking” but BIM indicated it was money well spent on information that will be useful in future.

In December, 2015, BIM announced it was no longer proceeding with the application.

It cited new national legislation in relation to sustainable aquaculture, which capped the size of new fish farms to between 5,000 and 7,000 tonnes, more than half the size of the Galway Bay plan.

It had planned a twin site farm, one for smolts at Inis Oírr and another for more developed species off Indreabhán. BIM claimed the €60 million project would support 500 jobs locally.

However, it faced a wave of opposition.

Opponents said it was a crazy idea, and predicted environmental ruin and the destruction of inshore fishing industry and, as well as having detrimental impacts on shrimp, prawn, lobster, crab and oyster fishing, and also the fishing-related tourism industry.

BIM, in a parliamentary response to Clare Daly, the Dublin TD, confirmed it spent some €524,992 on its Galway Bay licence application.

Deputy Daly, the independent socialist, slammed BIM for the outlay.

“The spend of €524,992 by BIM on this doomed licence application is shocking, and questions have to be asked as to why they persisted with it for so long when there were such huge question marks over the whole project, and such opposition to it.

“The threat to wild fish stocks from sea lice, the dangers associated with farms’ nets breaking, and all of the other environmental impacts of this plan should have been a red flag, and it’s outrageous that over half a million euro was spent on trying to push this application through regardless. You’d very much have to ask why public money was put to such poor use,” said Deputy Daly.

In a statement to the Connacht Tribune, the agency gave more detail about the expenditure.

“BIM invested €524,992, over a four-year period, into the development of a robust application, including scientific analysis, public consultation and legal advice. A considerable amount of this information stands to benefit the organisation and form the basis of future support to the Irish aquaculture industry,” it said.

Meanwhile, Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of Marine Institute, which is based in Oranmore, confirmed that his organisation also spent €21,948 on the initiative, which included over €9,000 for bird specialist advice; and a further €3,000 for training and simulation.

Simon Coveney, who was Marine Minister at the time the application was withdrawn, confirmed that his department spent a further €31,539 on the project.

That included €29,448 for legal advice, and €2,091 on expert hydrography advice.

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash

Enda Cunningham

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A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.

At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.

The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Salthill Garda Station (091) 514 720 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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Connacht Tribune

Wake-up call as United are pummelled by lively Athlone

Keith Kelly

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Galway United substitute Wilson Waweru who scored a consolation goal in their 3-1 First Division defeat to Athlone Town on Friday night.

Athlone Town 3

Galway United 1

IT turned out to be a Bad Friday for Galway United in Athlone as they were outthought, outfought and outplayed by a home side that deserved a far greater reward than a two-goal victory.

All the damage was done in the first-half, with the home side scoring three goals without reply in a 14-minute spell that left the visitors visibly shell-shocked and in danger of shipping an absolute hammering.

United manager, John Caufield, described the first-half as the worst United display since he took charge at the club midway through last season, but it was worse than that: this was 2011 Sean Connor bad (one win in 40 matches), it was 2001 Dave Connell bad (one win in 13).

Both of those seasons ended in United dropping to the First Division, and the First Division is where they will find themselves against next season unless there is an immediate improvement in performance and attitude, starting with this Friday’s trip to Stradbrook to take on Cabinteely.

The post-mortem examination on last Friday should not solely focus on United’s wretchedness: Athlone Town were hugely impressive in recording a first win over United since May 2006, though it should be noted the sides have met just 13 times since the Town dumped United out of the FAI Cup thanks to a 2-1 win in May 2006, a game that saw the end of Stephen Lally’s reign as United manager.

“Galway playing with three at the back, you know, they’re almost three centre-backs really rather than full-backs and we just knew that would be an opportunity for our players to get at them and take them on and I thought James Doona and Adam Wixted did that very well tonight,” Athlone manager Adrian Carberry told the website www.extratime.ie after the game.

In truth, that was something of an understatement – Wixted and Doona ravished the United back-three in the opening 45 minutes, with all three of the home side’s goals coming from out wide.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway couple take life in the fast lane after losing jobs to pandemic

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The Luv2Swim set-up in Carrowbrowne.

A Galway couple who both lost their jobs because of the pandemic are back on the crest of a wave – after opening a swimming pool that allows them to teach and coach swimmers, right beside their family home.

Fitness-loving husband and wife John and Shelly Newell have always had a passion for swimming – but it took the devastation of losing their jobs during Covid to spark the idea of turning it into a highly-specialised business they called Luv2Swim.

They had an idea to build an endless swimming pool and start swimming lessons and swim video analysis in their own private facility, three miles outside Galway city in Carrowbrowne.

And while Level 5 Lockdown has forced them to close for now, their single lane pool will be back, providing a unique facility for adults and children in a safe, fun, and friendly environment.

“Both of us had lost our jobs due to the pandemic and while out walking with our girls, I threw the idea out to John and it took legs from there. It was the beginning of a family business venture,” Shelly said.

But this was more than just a light bulb moment during lockdown; John and Shelly were aware of a recurring problem they had heard many times over the years – people’s anxiety about coming into an overcrowded, noisy, large pool environment.

“Luv2Swim would be Galway’s only private swimming studio providing one-to-one swim lessons and video analysis for adults and children. Swimming is such a vital lifesaving skill and it’s a skill you will have for your whole life,” said John.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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