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Connacht Tribune

Rail Corridor analysis won’t be completed for at least another year

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Greenway on closed railway...campaigners call on Minister to take charge.

The controversial review into the viability of the Western Rail Corridor will not be completed for at least a year – because it has yet to even start.

Irish Rail bosses are not to blame for this lengthy process as they have to abide by strict EU guidlines in the appointment of consultants to carry out this review.

But a local TD and several councillors have been accused of demanding the rail review in the full knowledge that it would take an inordinate time to complete and scupper any chances of a greenway being provided along the old disused railway line.

Even when the independent railway review is completed, the findings of this will be forwarded to the Department of Transport who will then consider the contents – meaning that the process could take even longer.

Minister Ciaran Cannon, a staunch advocate of a greenway along the railway line, said that it was very disappointing and described it as a deliberate delaying tactic.

He said that the cost of the rail review – an estimated €500,000 – would go a long way towards the construction of a greenway from Athenry to Tuam.

When the issue of sourcing funding for a greenway feasibility study was the subject of heated discussions at various meetings of Galway County Council and Tuam Municipal Council, a rail feasibility review was called for.

This meant that there could be no plan for the railway track from Athenry to Tuam and on to Claremorris while this review was pending.

Barry Kenny of Irish Rail explained to The Connacht Tribune that the deadline for the applications from consultants was November 13 last.

He explained that all procurement processes are carried out in accordance with European Union laws which have to be strictly adhered to.

Irish Rail will be in receipt of the final tenders on January 23 next and a decision will be made on the successful consultant in early February.

But Mr Kenny pointed out that under EU laws, there then has to be a two week period for the unsuccessful bidders to either query or challenge the decision.

It is anticipated that that Irish Rail will be in a position to confirm the successful tender publicly in late February.

However, it is not known when the actual rail review to consider the viability of a passenger rail service from Athenry to Tuam and on to Claremorris will commence.

Even when it does, it will take five months to complete, according to Irish Rail, which could take the whole process up until the end of the year.

But despite Minister Sean Canney’s assertion late last year that the rail review ‘is ongoing’, it hasn’t even kicked off yet and there is no definite indication when it will be completed.

The Galway East TD, as part of his support for the current administration, had it written into the Programme for Government that a review be carried out of the Western Rail Corridor phase two between Athenry and Claremorris for passenger and freight use.

But Minister Ciaran Cannon pointed to the fact – and this was alluded to by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently – that a previous appraisal had been carried out which dismissed any prospect of the rail corridor being developed.

He said that the last time the appraisal was carried out on the Western Rail Corridor, it came out negatively at a cost of 100 against six – 100 being the cost and six being the benefit.

“It would want to be up on 100 against 80 to be any way worthwhile,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

Singer/songwriter reveals his Future Business Model

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Derek Ellard...new single from upcoming EP.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Derek Ellard is a talented Galway-based songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist; he boasts a comprehensive catalogue of live performances around the city, including support slots for the likes of Gavin James, Wallis Bird, the Frank and Walters, and Hudson Taylor.

With his primary focus though, folk-rock outfit Derek Ellard & the Future Business Model, he is forging an outlet that allows him to explore every avenue of his creative work.

And this Friday, February 10, the group is set to release Three Sheets to the Wind, their sixth single to date and the first of five tracks on a forthcoming, self-titled EP.

The song recalls some of Derek’s formative years growing up in Tipperary. It is laden with imagery and bright melodies – for those that have not previously listened, the single sets a perfect example of the range of emotions that litter Derek’s work.

“I wouldn’t say I had a strange relationship with my brother, but he was this professional rugby player who had everything together, and I kind of wasn’t,” he explains.

“We had a connection through being bold really… Two mischievous fellas and that was what we bonded over. When we look back, we remember it fondly and what inspired me to write the song was my brother telling me how, when he was younger and playing rugby for the senior team at sixteen or seventeen, he would sneak out and get absolutely bladdered with the team. He’d be sauced going into school and stuff… That was the first verse.

“We grew up in this room together with orange walls, but Dad had mixed up the paints. One side was gloss and the other was matte – it was a strange room and I included that as well.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Comer’s injury makes it a grey day all-round for out-of-sorts Galway

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Galway's Damian Comer clutches his knee in agony against Roscommon’s Conor Daly after suffering a bad injury in Sunday's National League clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

It was one of those grim days that the Galway footballers would prefer to forget. Apart from the serious knee injury sustained by Damien Comer in the opening quarter, the home team allowed a winning hand to slip late on in a dour encounter against Roscommon at Pearse Stadium.

Naturally, Comer’s injury dominated the post-match headlines. The Annaghdown man was central to Galway’s major progress in 2022, with his physicality alone giving the team a hard edge up front. To see him being stretchered off in Salthill and in obvious distress represents an incalculable blow to the Tribesmen.

Comer’s season being prematurely over only adds to Galway’s early-season woes. Heading into 2023, the team management knew they would be planning without two of their defensive pillars – Kieran Molloy (injury) and Liam Silke (work) – while the departure of utility forward Finnian Ó Laoí (travel) was also a setback.

To compound matters, Patrick Kelly is struggling to shake off a back injury, while Rob Finnerty faces at least another month on the sidelines after suffering ankle ligament damage in Galway’s opening Division One encounter against Mayo in MacHale Park. Throw in the fact that Shane Walsh is currently travelling, Padraic Joyce will be down at least six of last year’s All-Ireland final team when squaring up to Tyrone at Tuam Stadium on Sunday week.

This background will automatically test the in-depth strength of the squad in the weeks ahead, and with only one point on the board from their opening two league matches, the spectre of a relegation battle looms. Given the unavailability of so many players, Galway’s priority will now surely surround staying in the top-flight of league football.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Student musicians who took part in the Dominican College, Taylor's Hill production of My Fair Lady in January 1998.

1923

Influenza cure

Of the ills to which human flesh is heir, those which result from the periodical influenza epidemic are, perhaps, the most devastating.

The toll of human life in the great epidemic of 1918-’19 was unparalleled in the more recent history of the world. It is calculated that in the twelve months the epidemic claimed more victims than fell in the four-and-a-half years of the European war.

In Ireland the disease was no respecter of persons, the flower of the race falling an easy prey to the germ. Indeed, it is rather a remarkable fact that it was amongst the young manhood and womanhood of the country that the ravages of the disease were greatest.

This week the welcome news has been published that the bacteriologists at the Rockefeller Institute, New York, have isolated the influenza germ, and that the cure of the disease is in sight.

The discovery of the germ itself is of inestimable importance for the welfare of humanity and augurs the possibly of influenza being made a preventable disease like smallpox in, it is to be hoped, the not far distant future.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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