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Residents’ fears over huge hole in the road



Residents in a Gort estate have warned somebody will be seriously injured unless a ‘crater’ on the road – big enough for a young child to fall into – is filled.

Locals say the pothole is at least four feet deep and appeared last weekend when part of a roadway collapsed in the Sliabh Carron estate on the Ennis Road.

Galway County Council has now initiated legal action to recover an insurance bond from ACC Bank for unfinished work in the estate.

One resident told the Connacht Tribune: “We noticed it on Friday evening, and it’s four to five feet deep. There’s just a hollow under the road. There was a problem there a couple of years ago with water pooling and it wasn’t repaired properly.

“There are more than 100 houses in the estate, so there are dozens of kids around. The hole poses a serious danger to them. There is a sandbag on it and a couple of cones around it at the moment, but it’s still very dangerous.

“On the road are about four inches of tarmacadam and a hollow underneath it. If a truck drove on it, the road would collapse,” he said.

The estate has not been taken in charge by the County Council, and is under the control of the receiver Pat Horkan of Russell Brennan Keane.

Catherine McConnell, Director of Services for Planning with the Council told the Connacht Tribune: “My understanding is that as a temporary measure, a bollard was placed over the hole, and the receiver has had engineers out to look at what will be required to rectify the situation.

“We have done a snag list in the estate, but it would always be our preference for the developer or receiver to finish it. There is a subtantial bond in place and we been in regular contact with ACC and the receiver,” said Ms McConnell.

She confirmed that legal steps have begun in order to draw down the bond, and that the Council cannot enter onto the land, unless there are “serious outstanding safety works”.

Planning documents indicate the insurance bond is for more than €210,000, but local councillor Gerry Finnerty believes that actual figure is closer to €120,000.

Sliabh Carron was built by developer Jimmy Considine from Bushypark in the city, but a receiver was appointed by the bank in 2010.

Cllr Finnerty said: “It’s like any other unfinished estate. It was built and the builder ran into financial trouble. The problem now is that the Council has been liaising for the last two years. It has now gone to their legal advisors to draw the bond down from ACC.

“There is no estimate for the work left to be done in the estate, but there is a problem with drainage and the pumping station and there is a possibility of collapse. There may be bigger problems underground.

“Somebody could get seriously hurt because the possibility [the road] could collapse,” said Cllr Finnerty.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run



A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda



Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway



Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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