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Residents appeal Apple data centre plans

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Residents living near the proposed new Apple building in Athenry have appealed the decision to grant planning for the data centre at a Greenfield site.

The objectors cite traffic concerns, as well as the impact on badgers and bats, as reasons to halt the €850 million investment.

Galway County Council a fortnight ago gave the go-ahead to the multi-national giant to build a 30,000 square metres development at forest land owned by Coillte near Derrydonnell that will house its new data centre. The IDA has hailed the €850 million investment in Athenry as one of the biggest foreign direct investments (FDI) in the history of the state.

As well as construction jobs, the company has indicated it will employ 300 people once the plant is up and running. It had hoped to build the centre by 2017.

But residents have this week lodged an appeal to An Bórd Pleanála against the decision.

Noel and Patricia Heneghan Kelly of Toberroe and Mary Lindsay of Toberroe have both lodged appeals to the planning appeals board.

They objected to the development due to increased traffic and noise associated with construction traffic. They feared for the impact the development will have on a nearby private well, which is a source of water to nearby homes. The appellants also claimed there will be significant impacts on bats and badgers, which are protected species, living in the forest.

The planning appeals board will deliberate on the objections and issue its judgement by February of 2016.

Galway County Councillor Peter Feeney (FG) said everyone is entitled to object and he could understand why people living near it might be concerned. However, the Athenry area councillor said that Apple had addressed all of the concerns raised by residents, including traffic concerns, when it submitted additional information to the local authority during the planning application process.

He said that traffic along that road used to be far worse before the M6 motorway was built than what it will be like once Apple’s plant is finished.

“Once this building is built, you won’t be able to see it, you won’t be able to hear it, you won’t be able to smell it. It is on a 500 acres site of forest and it is hollowing out the middle of the forest and you won’t even know it is there,” he said.

Cllr Feeney said the vast majority of people in Athenry and County Galway welcomed the investment with open arms. It is building on the cluster of technology and pharmaceuticals companies that have set up in Galway City, and wil create further spin-off employment.

“This is the single biggest investment in the West of Ireland ever. It is big in its own right but it will also create huge spins offs. Apple opened in Cork 35 years ago with 100 jobs, now there are over 4,000 there. This can be hugely beneficial to the entire West of Ireland. If we are serious about creating a counter-balance to Dublin and if we are serious about saving rural Ireland that this is something we all have to support,” said Cllr Feeney.

He pointed out that the plant will have an outdoor education space and high quality walking trails. “It is a most welcome investment in Athenry and I have consistently welcomed it,” added Cllr Feeney.

CITY TRIBUNE

Matriarch of Scotty’s Diner donates kidney to her son!

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A well-known family in the Galway restaurant trade have swapped chef whites for hospital gowns after the matriarch donated a kidney to her son.

Jenny and Andrew Ishmael, synonymous with Scotty’s Diner in Cúirt na Coiribe on the Headford Road in Terryland, are recovering in Beaumont Hospital after the marathon live donor operation.

It took place last Monday and staff are so impressed by the quick recovery of mother and son that they could be discharged as early as this weekend.

“It went really well. I’m still a bit sore. We’re still on the mend. It’s working perfectly,” says Andrew from the isolation ward of the hospital’s Kidney Centre.  “My creatine was over 1,000 when I came in and it’s already around 260.

“I felt weak after the surgery, but I could feel that bit of life in me again straight away. It’s amazing how quick it works. Mom wasn’t too great after the surgery – it was her first ever. She was quite sore, a bit iffy, but she’s good now.

“We have rooms back-to-back. We’ve been going for walks, going for breakfast together. It’s nice to spend that time together.”

Andrew – or Drew as he’s known to family and friends –  was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was just 16.

Berger’s Disease occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin builds up in the kidneys and results in inflammation, which over time, can hamper the kidneys’ ability to filter waste from the blood.

He managed the condition well for over a decade without too much impact on his life.

The son of classically trained chefs who studied together at Johnson and Wales College in Rhode Island, he grew up working in his parents’ American-style diner, trading since 1991.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

New River Corrib rescue boat to be deployed following ‘significant donation’

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The provision of a specialist rescue craft on the Corrib – upstream from the Weir – could now happen over the coming weeks or months following a ‘significant voluntary donation’ in the past few weeks, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Water safety issues on the Corrib were highlighted last month when up to 10 rowers had to be rescued after their two boats were sucked in by the currents towards the Weir.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the potentially catastrophic incident which occurred around midday on Saturday, January 14.

A specialist D Class lifeboat is now being sourced as part of a multi-agency approach to try and improve emergency rescue operations upstream from the Weir which would be accessible on a 24/7 basis.

While the cost would be in the region of €40,000 to €50,000, the overall figure would rise to around €80,000 to €90,000 when specialist personnel training costs were included.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune that he was aware of a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and get the Corrib rescue craft in place as soon as possible.

“I suppose we’re all trying to work together to ensure that a full-time rescue craft is provided on the Corrib and I believe that real progress is being made in this regard. This would be very good news for everyone,” said Mr Swan.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Three years on and ‘Changing Places’ facility on Salthill Promenade still not open

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Mayor of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins at the site of the Changing Places facility, for which she had ring-fenced money. Work on the project only began last February, despite initial predictions that the facility would be open in January last year.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The wait for accessible, specialised toilet facilities at Ladies Beach in Salthill goes on – three years after they were ‘prioritised’ by city councillors.

Galway City Council has confirmed to the Tribune this week that the ‘Changing Places’ facility at Ladies Beach is still not open.

Construction of the facility began almost a year ago, at the end of February 2022.

The local authority confirmed that some €135,600 has been spent on the unit, which is not yet open to the public.

“The initial stages of construction went well, with the facility now largely in place. There are a number of outstanding snags to be completed before the facility can open.

“Galway City Council is liaising with the contractor to complete out these snags, with a view to opening the facility as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said.

The local authority did not elaborate on what ‘snags’ were delaying the project.

But in January, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, suggested that staffing issues were to blame for the delay.

(Photo: Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, at the site of the Changing Places facility, for which she had ring-fenced money).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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