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CITY TRIBUNE

Rescued hiker ‘left shivering’ in UHG

Stephen Corrigan

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The treatment provided by University Hospital Galway to a woman who ran into difficulties while hiking in Connemara has attracted sharp criticism.

Maria Duk, a tourist who had been staying at the Ben Lettery Hostel in Clifden, was transferred to UHG by Mountain Rescue – suffering with suspected hypothermia – on Tuesday evening last.

Maria commended the work of the Mountain Rescue Team and the Gardaí – but said she didn’t receive proper treatment when she reached the hospital.

“I stayed there for eight hours – they didn’t give me anything, no clothes to change into, the blanket I had was very thin.

“I was extremely wet – nothing was dry on me.

“I tried to speak to the nurses many times and I told them I was very cold – I asked them were they going to do anything and they just said to wait and someone will take care of you,” Maria told Keith Finnegan.

Maria, who lives in Colchester, England, began hiking at 12pm on Tuesday and weather conditions were good – however by 2pm, they had taken a turn for the worst causing her to turn back.

By 2.30pm, visibility was so poor that Maria said she could no longer navigate the mountain and tried calling 999.

Poor service and miscommunication with the operator meant that Maria had to contact Stephanie Dick, the owner of the hostel at which she was staying.

Stephanie contacted Gardaí who in turn sent Mountain Rescue out to the find Maria.

When found, she was air lifted to the hospital. Following initial assessment by the nurses, she was left to wait on a chair in the Emergency Department.

“I was cold and I was shivering – they kept telling me that I would have an appointment.

“I was waiting for ages with no money, my phone was dead until they charged it and I was crying because I didn’t know what to do,” said Maria.

It was there where she fell asleep in her wet clothes and awoke at 6.30am on Wednesday morning, she explained.

Maria, who is originally from Poland, decided that there was no point waiting in the hospital any longer and set about getting back to her hostel.

She had no money at this point because the Mountain Rescue Team had her rucksack and so she had to contact a friend for bank details to purchase a ticket for the Clifden bus.

She walked from UHG to the Coach Station, still in her wet clothes, before boarding the 8.30am bus – arriving back to her hostel at 10am.

Speaking to the Galway City Tribune, Stephanie said that the treatment Maria received was “nothing short of criminal”.

“She was left in wet clothes, without tea and the blanket she had was given to her by the mountain rescue team.

“I am outraged because this is a young woman, travelling by herself and for her to be treated like this – I am absolutely livid.”

When contacted for comment, UHG stated: “Unfortunately, the hospital cannot comment on the circumstances relating to an individual patient”.
To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council turns down Mad Yolk Farm site

Dara Bradley

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An application to retain farming-related development on a site in Roscam has been turned down by Galway City Council.

The local authority has refused to grant retention permission to applicant Brian Dilleen for subsurface piping to be used for agricultural irrigation at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ on Rosshill Road.

It also refused permission for the retention of a bore-hole well, water pump and concrete plinth; and two water holding tanks for 6,500 litres; and other associated site works.

In its written decision, the Planning Department at City Hall said: “The proposed development, would if permitted, facilitate the use of the site for the provision of sixty 15.5m high seed beds, which have been deemed by the planning authority not to be exempted development.

“Therefore a grant of permission for the proposed development would facilitate the unauthorised development and usage on the site, contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The site has been the subject of enforcement action by the local authority.

A lengthy Appropriate Assessment Screening report, submitted with the planning application, concluded “beyond reasonable scientific doubt, in view of the best scientific knowledge, on the basis of objective information and in light of the conservation objectives of the relevant European sites, that the proposed retention and development, individually or in combination with other plans and projects, has not and will not have a significant effect on any European site”.

A borehole Impact Assessment Report concluded that the proposed retention development “on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer is considered negligible”.

It said that there was “no potential for significant effects on water quality, groundwater dependent habitats or species associated with any European site”.

Six objections were lodged by neighbours, including one from the Roshill/Roscam Residents Association, which argued the Further Information submitted by the applicant did “little to allay our concerns” about the impact of the development on an “extremely sensitive site”.

The applicant has until June 29 to appeal the decision to An Bórd Pleanála.

(Photo by UAV. Unmanned Aerial Videography & Photography).

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CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG student accommodation firm records loss

Enda Cunningham

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The property company which operates student accommodation on behalf of NUI Galway recorded a €3.4 million increase in turnover in 2019.

However, Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company), which is owned by the university, recorded a loss for the year of €6,300.

Accounts for the company for the year ended August 31, 2019, show that while there was a loss, retained profits are at more than €1.6 million. The accounts are the most up to date available from the Companies Registration Office.

The previous year, the company made a profit of more than €460,000.

Atalia Student Residences operates the 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex and the 429-bed Goldcrest Village.

The figures show that the company’s overall turnover jumped by 52% – from €6.4m to €9.8m.

Turnover for accommodation services was up from €5.2m to €8.4m; and from conferences and events was up from €850,000 to €1.1m. Turnover from shops was down from almost €328,000 to €290,000.

Outside of the academic year, both complexes are used as accommodation for conference delegates, while Corrib Village is also used for short-term holiday lets.

The accounts show fixed assets – including fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery and office equipment – valued at €1.5m. Its current assets were valued at more than €7m, including ‘cash at bank and in hand’ of almost €6.9m (up from €5.6m last year).

The company owed creditors €6.9m, including €5.2m in deferred income.

It employed 38 people (which includes its five directors) last year, up from 31 the previous year.

As well as operating the student accommodation complexes, the company also markets conference facilities and services on behalf of the university.

It pays rent to NUIG but the figure is not included in the company accounts. In 2018, the rent figure was just over €2.25m.

In Corrib Village, a single bedroom with a private en suite for the academic year costs €5,950. For Goldcrest Village, the figure is €6,760.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for two-way cycling under Galway City outdoor dining plan

Dara Bradley

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Bike users want the local authority to examine the introduction of two-way cycling on one-way city centre streets.

Galway Cycling Campaign has again called for cycling to be allowed both ways. It comes as Galway City Council prepares to cordon-off parts of city centre streets to traffic, and make Dominick Street Lower one-way, to facilitate outdoor dining.

The cycling organisation said that the proposed pedestrianisation plan at the Small Crane, and the one-way system on Dominick Street, will result in lengthy diversions for people on bikes.

It has pointed out that school children and their guardians who cycle along Raleigh Row, and turn right towards Sea Road, will probably continue to do so even when the Small Crane is cordoned off to traffic, because the alternative route – via Henry Street – is too long a detour.

Similarly, it has been suggested that food-delivery services on bikes are unlikely to go the ‘long way round’ via Mill Street and New Road to get from Bridge Mills to restaurants on Dominick Street and would be tempted to cycle the ‘wrong way’ down the proposed one-way street or on the footpath.

Shane Foran, committee member of Galway Cycling Campaign, said now would be an ideal time to introduce two-way cycling on some one-way streets.

“It’s not controversial,” insisted Mr Foran. “It’s a general principle in other countries, if you are putting in new traffic arrangements, you would try and keep access for people on bikes.”

The regulation is contained in the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009; and a specific objective was contained in two of the most recent previous City Development Plans.

He said a former minister and Galway West TD, the late Bobby Molloy, had the vision to change the legislation in the late 1990s – but it hasn’t yet been embraced here.

“Bobby Molloy, who couldn’t be classed as an eco warrior, changed the law in 1998, so that it is available to local authorities to put up a sign granting an exemption from restrictions for people cycling on one-way streets.

“The road stays one-way for cars, and two ways for bicycles. Clearly that’s not going to be a sensible to do everywhere, like Merchants’ Road. In those situations, you might need a cycle track or lane to segregate people from traffic.

“But if it’s a low traffic street, with low speeds or relatively lower volumes of cars, then it should be possible for people on bicycles to cycle in both directions and still have it one-way for cars, without it being a major safety issue. It works in other countries,” said Mr Foran.

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