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Report says land stability at Derrybrien not properly checked since 2005

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A new report says the stability of the land where a massive landslide occurred at Derrybrien Wind Farm in 2003 has not been properly checked in over 15 years.

The state is currently paying €15 thousand in fines every day to the European Commission over failures to carry out an adequate Environmental Impact Assessment.

In October 2003, during the construction phase at the 70 turbine development, a massive landslide occurred.

It dislodged almost half a million cubic metres of peat and caused significant damage to land, property, roads and rivers.

In 2008, the European Court of Justice ruled against the Irish Government over the failure to properly carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment.

As a result, the state is paying €15 thousand in fines every day until the issue is resolved – with works still ongoing to bring the long-running saga to an end.

According to the Irish Independent, almost €10.5m in fines have been paid out so far, with outstanding sums due bringing the total to €15m.

Now, it’s claimed a new report for the European Commission has found that the stability of the land where the landslide occured has not been properly checked since 2005.

It also questions how areas classified as being of “unacceptable risk” in 1998 when the project began, were reclassified last year as being of “negligible risk”.

The report is broadly critical of a retrospective application for substitute consent made by the ESB – which owns the wind farm – to An Bord Pleanala.

It questions the ESB’s view that the wind farm has not, and will not, result in significant adverse impacts – and criticises an alleged insufficient impact analysis on wildlife.

An apparent contradiction has also been highlighted – that the ESB has erected signs warning people not to cut peat because the ground is unstable.

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Appeal to Galway students to avoid drugs as they return to city’s colleges

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Galway’s Crime Prevention Officer is appealing to students to avoid drugs and get involved with other aspects of campus life instead as they return to the city’s colleges for the new academic year.

Over 1,800 people aged between 18 and 24 entered a drug treatment programme last year, at a time when students were studying remotely.

Gardaí have today launched a new awareness campaign reminding students can lead to a criminal record, risk of addiction and loss of career opportunities.

Garda Crime Prevention Officer for Galway Sgt. Michael Walsh says gardai are concerned at the growing drugs culture and the potential outcome.

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1,423 new cases of COVID-19 nationally

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 1,423* confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As of 8am today, 286 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 63 are in ICU.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:

“COVID-19 vaccines are providing very effective protection from severe illness and have fundamentally changed the risk profile of COVID-19 in Ireland – it is important that all of us receive our COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to us.

“Once again today, we see more elements of our society and economy reopen. If you are fully protected through vaccination, then you can have confidence that your vaccination, and your continued adherence to the public health advice appropriate to each environment, is the best way you can protect yourself from COVID-19.

“If you display cold or flu like symptoms like cough, fever, headache, sore throat and blocked or runny nose, self-isolate immediately. Please do not meet up with others or attend events, work or school. Arrange a PCR test through the HSE as soon as possible.”

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Efforts continue to find base for Galway city’s Christmas Park n Ride service

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Efforts to secure a suitable base for a park and ride system in Galway city during the forthcoming Christmas season are continuing.

City Council CEO, Brendan McGrath, told a meeting of City Councillors that efforts to find a base for the service in the Racecourse area are ongoing, despite earlier failed attempts to secure the Ballybrit location.

Councillors at this week’s City Council meeting stressed that only 98 days remain from now until Christmas.

But time is of the essence if a park and ride bus service is are to be in place in Galway city for the shopping season.

Efforts to establish the long-standing park and ride starting point at the Galway Racecourse have not worked out, so far.

There is a Covid testing centre at the Racecourse which limits the space there.

However, Council CEO Brendan McGrath said that contacts continue with the Racecourse management in the hope of reaching a solution.

In the meantime, Councillors Alan Cheevers and Declan McDonnell suggested the Galway Airport site should be looked at but Senior Engineer, Uinsionn Finn said that it may not be a good location.

Councillor Clodagh Higgins said she could see shoppers hitting for Athlone or Limerick to escape the traffic gridlock in Galway unless a park and ride service was in operation at Christmas.

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