A local campaign that has its roots at the time of the foundation of the State finally looks set to take a step forward, with a planning application being lodged for a major flood relief programme for South Galway.
Following a consultation process with landowners and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Galway County Council has lodged a planning application with An Bord Pleanála for the works for the Dunkellin and Aggard Rivers.
Through the decades, the rivers have caused devastation for local homeowners, while thousands of acres of land are subject to extensive flooding each winter.
If given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála, work could begin next summer on the scheme.
Galway East Fine Gael TD, Ciarán Cannon, said the scheme would be the biggest-ever investment by the State in flood relief.
He told the Connacht Tribune: “I’m confident that planning permission will be granted and that the investment will be made by the Office of Public Works.
“This is a very important milestone in the process of bringing these works to fruition. Having been the subject of Dáil debates since the 1950s, the Dunkellin Flood Relief project is now edging closer to a final conclusion.
“We have never been this close before and we will continue to work hard in getting this project over the line. The team in the County Council have worked so diligently on addressing this challenge by actively engaging with local landowners and the NPWS to design the optimum flood relief programme and one which is very likely to receive planning permission from An Bord Pleanála.
“The planning process will take six to eight months and Council officials have indicated that once permission is granted they can immediately commence the tendering process for the works.
“All going well, we will see the works getting underway early next summer which is the preferred time for a project of this nature. If we get water moving freely and unimpeded along the Aggard and Dunkellin rivers from to the sea, this will address a major part of the flooding problem in South Galway.
“There are other flood relief projects proposed for the area which also need to be brought to fruition and I’m continuing to work on those with my colleagues in Government.
“I recall as a child hearing repeated calls for flood relief on the Dunkellin and each winter, as the flood waters claimed thousands of acres of farm land, the conversation would begin again. My colleague Brian Hayes was, up to recently, the Minister with responsibility for the OPW and he visited the area in April of this year. He met with many members of the affected communities and they all stressed the importance of bringing this project to a conclusion.
“Our new Minister, Simon Harris, also visited the area recently and again confirmed that it was a priority of his department to get works underway, but that major works couldn’t commence until planning permission had been granted. That’s why this week’s news of the planning application is so significant,” said Deputy Cannon.
€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.