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Review threatens new cuts to Galway East constituency

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There will be voter outrage in Galway East as the Government plans to pluck another 3,000 votes from the region and into the Roscommon dominated constituency.

Efforts are being made to restore the county boundary so as Galway East can be restored as a four-seater – as it was case before the boundaries were changed back in 2012.

But it seems that this will not be the case as the Government are determined to maintain the three-seater Roscommon-Galway constituency which takes in the whole of Ballinasloe along with the likes of Ballygar, Williamstown, Glenamaddy and parts of Dunmore.

It has been learned that more parts of Dunmore and Eyrecourt are to be included in the Roscommon-Galway constituency and this is bound to infuriate voters in these areas. It is part of a boundaries commission review that is currently taking place.

But it means that there is no chance of Galway East being restored to a four-seat constituency. Instead it will remain as a three-seater with 3,000 less voters which is now the cause of much controversy.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Michael Finnerty from Ballinasloe said that it was not a move that was welcome. He has constantly campaigned for Ballinasloe to be included in a four-seater Galway East constituency.

“We want to be part of Galway, it is as simple as that. We have no affiliation with Roscommon and the three TDs that were elected in Roscommon-Galway have no affiliation with Ballinasloe. It is a ridiculous situation at the moment.

“I have told the party that this is not satisfactory. We should not have to be in a situation that we have to be part of Roscommon. It does not sit well with party members since the last boundary review,” Cllr Finnerty added.

Fianna Fail party members in the Ballinasloe area are also disgruntled to be part of the Roscommon-dominated constituency and met recently to express their dissatisfaction. They have now written to party headquarters looking for support to have Galway East restored as a four-seater.

In the last general election earlier this year there was no candidate in the Ballinasloe area and the only candidate on the Galway side of the constituency was independent Mick Fitzmaurice in Glinsk who comfortably won a seat.

But now that it is the intention to put 3,000 more votes in the Roscommon-Galway constituency, it seems highly unlikely that there will be any change to the current situation in the immediate future.

Cllr Finnerty believes that eventually voter apathy will set in as he said that there did not seem to be any obvious candidate from the Ballinasloe area standing in the next general election.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors

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Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre

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An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis

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Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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

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