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Connacht Tribune

Plan to provide 30 berths at Lough Derg sinks

Declan Tierney



An imaginative initiative to attract angling tourists to South East Galway has sunk without trace after planners ruled on environmental grounds against the proposal to accommodate 30 boat owners.

County planners were told that the berthing facilities for 30 lake boats would have provided a new tourism attraction on Lough Derg – and it would also have the potential to service around 25 holiday homes around the lake.

Disappointed local FG councillor Jimmy McClearn said that it was another stumbling block in their efforts to bring more visitors to the area.

”I just think planners do not want anything to happen in rural Galway and this is another example”, he said.

He described it as “frustration beyond belief” and added that it was ironic that the anglers involved in the application for the berths had engaged in the collection of more than 90 tons of rubbish from woodland areas surround this particular part of the lake.

The application to Galway County Council was submitted by Woodford Anglers Association, who not alone fish the lake, but their members also carry out vital environmental works in the area as well as maintaining the rivers in order to develop fish stocks.

They have been to the forefront of this local tourist industry for several years.

However, their application for the berths was not supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for environmental reasons. Consequently Galway County Council refused planning permission for the plan.

It is understood that the anglers are to engage with the NPWS over the coming weeks to discuss their concerns. They are confident that the works that are involved in the construction of the boathouse, which will accommodate the 30 berths, will meet their approval.

A submission to the planning application stated that it would have to be built on a solid concrete base adjacent to the lake and a Special Area of Conservation and significant excavations will be taking place at this location but that there are no details of the volumes of the materials that will be excavated or how they will be disposed.

In refusing planning permission, county planners ruled that the development would have an adverse impact on the integrity of the Lough Derg Special Area of Conservation and would set an undesirable precedent for similar future developments.

They said that it would pose an unacceptable risk to the surface waters on the lake as well as resulting in an unacceptable degradation of a protected habitat and species in the area. They also took issue with the access road to where the boats would be berthed and believed that it would create a traffic hazard.

Planners added that because of the scale of the marina-style development, it would result in a dominant and overbearing form of development and would not fit appropriately or integrate effectively into this highly sensitive lakeshore site.

Cllr Jimmy McClearn told the Connacht Tribune that every effort was being made to promote tourism in South East Galway and Lough Derg was obviously “part and parcel of this”.

He said that the region had been decimated in terms of population and this was one small way to try and address the problem.

“The anglers are an integral part of the whole area and they, more than most, are conscious of protecting the environment. To suggest anything different is way off the mark. If anything, what they are proposing will have a beneficial effect for both the environment and local tourism,” Cllr McClearn added.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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