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Connacht Tribune

Residents demand safety works to cope with additional traffic

Declan Tierney

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Residents along one of the main arteries into Tuam are demanding the completion of a long-running road widening project in advance of the opening of the new stretch of motorway later this year.

Householders in the Kilbannon area say that their road will be a potential death trap as it is anticipated that it will be taking a huge amount of additional traffic when the new Gort to Tuam motorway opens.

And they have warned that, unless a stretch of the road coming into town is widened, it will also become extremely dangerous for motorists.

Several years ago a stretch from the old sugar factory on the Ballygaddy Road to Kilbannon was widened and local residents say that they were told that there would be another phase of road widening in advance of the new motorway being opened up.

But residents’ spokesman Paschal Mannion said that he had been informed by Galway County Council engineers that the road further out would not be widened and that just four inches of tar would be laid on the existing surface.

“This is completely unacceptable. When the motorway near Tuam opens, this road is going to carry a huge amount of additional traffic and it is simply not safe to do so.

“Anyone who travels along this road on a regular basis know full well that it is very dangerous with lethal bends and a very uneven surface. A further road widening programme is essential before the motorway and bypass of Tuam is opened,” Mr Mannion said.

But Director of Services for Roads with Galway County Council Michael Timmins told The Connacht Tribune that the funds were not in place for a full realignment of this stretch.

He agreed that when the motorway opens that it will generate more traffic along this road and said that this would probably increase the chances of it becoming a priority for realignment.

Mr Timmins said that works would be carried out to improve the surface of this stretch of road but budgetary constraints prevented the Council from carrying out the works that local residents are seeking.

The residents are referring in particular to the stretch from Duddy’s pub in Kilbannon to Kilconly GAA pitch which is around a half mile in distance and said that this is a particularly dangerous section.

Last weekend locals held a protest at a monument which was erected in memory of a young motorist who lost his life over ten years ago along this stretch of road. They intend to take their campaign into the offices of Galway County Council.

The Kilbannon Concerned Citizens group say that traffic on this road will intensify later on in the year as it will provide access onto the new motorway. Around 60 local residents have signed a petition calling for the road to be widened.

“We are deeply disappointed to hear the news that the road from Duddy’s pub to the football pitch is not going to be widened now. We have learned that Galway County Council has received a large grant to upgrade this road.

“But instead of starting to widen the road, what they plan to do is lay four inches of tar on top of it. This is a dangerous stretch of road. A young man lost his life there in 2006.

“It is already a busy road as it serves the local Kilbannon National School and the football pitch. When the motorway opens, it will attract a lot more traffic and particularly from South Mayo,” Mr Mannion added.

He said that there are several young families in the area and that it is not safe for them to walk or cycle to school. He said that when the motorway opens, this road, which is the main road from Tuam to Ballinrobe, will become a death trap.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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