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Rescue service seeks public’s help in training of specialist dogs

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An increase in the number of missing persons in Galway has prompted the Galway Dog Search and Rescue Unit to appeal for volunteers to help them with the training of their rescue dogs.

The unit has been involved in the search for more than ten missing persons in Galway City and county and from Sligo to Athlone.

GDSRU was instrumental in recovering the body of missing person Mags Berry, who was found in Merlin Woods area of the city last February.

The search and rescue unit – founded by Barry Breen – has been in operation for over two years. The unit’s lead trainer is Lucy Callaly – and her dog, Asha, is currently the only fully-trained dog within the unit.

“It started off with my partner, she was pushing me to basically train her dog for search and rescue. She had an interest in search and rescue and cadaver,” explained Barry.

“I did some training for about five or six years, where I trained her dog which is our only qualified dog at the moment. There are four other dogs currently in training right now,” he added.

The training initially is quite basic, such as getting the dog to obey certain commands – for example simply getting the dog to bark.

Following this, the search training begins, with the dog attempting to sniff out training volunteers who are feigning difficulty or hiding in a specific location.

The training area gradually becomes larger in scale, thus increasing the difficulty on the canine until their training is eventually complete.

“We are looking for people who want to work with dogs – and they would be the person hiding. Then the second thing is for people who would be interested in actually training their dogs for search and rescue.

“I’d be training their dogs obviously but they would have to be willing themselves,” said Barry.

The group are looking for people who are comfortable around animals and won’t be put off by close contact with the dogs.

“There is no specific breed but it’s preferably larger dogs. It’s all down to the temperament of the dog.

“We need to factor the probability that the dog is possibly bold and boisterous and that kind of thing,” explained Barry.

For those interested in volunteering for the unit or for more information, visit galwaydogtraining.net

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí seek help in locating missing man

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.

He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.

Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.

Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.

Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.

There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.

Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.

“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.

“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.

“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”

(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Developer banks on boom in rental property market

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The backer of the Crown Square scheme in Mervue is planning an increase in the number of apartments in the development following a review of the economic viability of the project.

The 345 apartments will specifically target the rental market.

Crown Square Developments Ltd, which is operated by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has told Galway City Council that the amended plans will form part of a new planning application to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála under ‘Strategic Housing Development’ legislation.

According to the company, the property market has changed since it was granted permission in November 2019 for 288 apartments in three blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height.

Mr Rhatigan has now sought planning permission for an 18% reduction in the overall size of basement levels and a reduction in car parking from 1,377 to 1,012 spaces. Cycle parking spaces will increase from 1,110 to 1,200.

The plan also involves the relocation of the vehicular and pedestrian access to the development on the Monivea Road, which will now be closer to McDonagh Avenue. The existing planned access is at the south-easternmost point of the site, but is now planned to move further west.
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.

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