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Ring Road ‘would be pollution threat to Rusheen Bay’



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Surface discharge from the new ring road in Cappagh would flow into the Barna Stream and into Rusheen Bay, a local resident has claimed.

The claim was made at the An Bord Pleanála oral hearing this week by Cappagh resident Kevin Gill, who argued that the planned drainage for the Cappagh valley is to allow run-off from the road to enter the local water course and to use existing sewers

“Any polluting surface discharge, such as heavy metal and hydro carbons, or surface water impacts during construction, can flow freely into Barna Stream, which flows through Barna Woods, home to a rare natural beech wood and out into Rusheen Bay both part of the Galway Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

“This discharge would be further exacerbated due to the lack of action on a local flooding issue on the Cappagh Road where after heavy rain a stream runs down our road directly where the proposed bypass junction is located,” he told the eighth day of the An Bord Pleanála hearing.

The Council responded to these claims by stating that “the source and location of this recurring local flooding is outside of the proposed works area and the proposed development boundary area”.

“The proposed road development, including its proposed drainage treatment, will not impact upon the existing flooding at this location nor will it alter the source of the flooding.”

Mr Gill asked how the engineers could have missed the fact there were no sewers in the area.

“What other parts of the plan don’t exist? How can we trust their planned construction, which destroys part of the eastern tributary of the stream, to stop the pollutant risks in an area subject to varying seasonal stream flow, when they can’t even survey the area sufficiently?

“Barna Stream’s source is in the Moycullen Bog Complex and directly links this to the Galway Bay Complex. One weekend of rain, when works are not taking place and a previously unmapped stream outside of the proposed works area, could wash pollution directly into multiple SACs, killing off the Salmon and Sea Trout spawning beds.”

Mr Gill said the road project would be at odds with the National Planning Framework (NPF), which states that the ‘liveability’ quality or of life of urban places was a priority.

“Considering the residents of Cappagh will experience a complete reversal from a safe, quiet, dark, unpolluted environment that provides plentiful foraging for animals, birds and people, to a permanently bright, polluted location, suffering from habitat fragmentation, with increased chance of serious health issues, where it is less safe due to busy road crossings and higher traffic levels, and suffers the severance of a forageable public access bóithrín that is older than any of us here – how does that scenario fit in with the NPF?” he asked.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of each day of the oral hearing this week, see the Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.


Swimmer James clocks up one million metres in year



From the Galway City Tribune – A keen swimmer in Galway has clocked up an astonishing one million metres in a year as part of his gruelling exercise schedule.

James Brennan reached the impressive milestone over 400 swims last years,  which were split between the sea in Salthill and across the road early-morning sessions at Leisureland pool.

He would count the lengths in his head or on his watch, regularly swimming up to 240 lengths over 90 minutes in the pool and up to 2km off the beach for a half-hour. On a regular week he would swim the equivalent of 20km.

When James realised he was at 800,000 metres last November, he decided to go all-out to pass the one-million mark by the end of 2022.

So he concentrated on swimming for at least ten hours a week leading up to Christmas and celebrated passing his goal before breaking up for the festivities.

“I’ve always done a lot of swimming. I’ve competed for my local swimming club in Claremorris, County Mayo, and was involved in the Corrib Polo Water Club races. I won the Heskin League, which is a combination of the 14 different open water races in Salthill. I also won the league in Claremorris,” he reveals.

The software engineer has been living in Galway for  13 years and has been a member of Leisureland for four years.

“It’s a really great pool, it has nice facilities, the staff are all very nice,” he reflects.

Facilities Manager of the Council-owned premises, Ian Brennan, said the phenomenal distance was the equivalent of swimming from Galway to Amsterdam.

He heard about James’s achievement from Green Party Councillor and Leisureland board member Niall Murphy, who happened to be swimming in the lane beside James when the Mayo man reached the goal.

“I felt that this is a hugely worthy event and fills me with amazement that we have a superhero in our midst. The future is bright.”

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Ó Tuathail not interested in Galway City Council co-option



From the Galway City Tribune – A two-time general election candidate for the Social Democrats in Galway West has ruled out filling the party’s vacant seat on Galway City Council.

Niall Ó Tuathail, a health reform advisor, has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that he will not be co-opted to the City Council seat vacated by the shock resignation of Councillor Owen Hanley in January.

“I’m not going to be put forward for co-option,” said Mr Ó Tuathail.

The father-of-two has lived abroad for a time since taking a step back from electoral politics in the wake of his 2020 General Election defeat.

He confirmed this week he has not reconsidered his decision to take a long break from frontline politics.

“I’m still a Soc Dem member and we’re in a process looking for someone strong to represent the values of the people who voted for us in 2019,” Mr Ó Tuathail said.

He polled 3,653 first preference votes in 2020 in Galway West and was only eliminated after the 12th count in the five-seat constituency.

That was an increase on the 3,455 number ones he received in his first Dáil election in 2016, when he also bowed out on the 12th count.

Mr Ó Tuathail was synonymous with the Social Democrats’ brand in Galway, and was heavily involved with the local referenda campaigns for marriage equality and to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

It surprised many political observers when he opted not to fight a local election for the party in 2019.

That was a breakthrough election for the Soc Dems, when Owen Hanley became the party’s first ever Galway City councillor by winning a seat in Galway City East. Sharon Nolan narrowly missed out on a seat in City Central during the same election.

Mr Hanley cited allegations made against him when he announced in January that he was resigning his position.

He said that the matters were “very serious” and would take a considerable amount of time for the authorities to investigate.

The resignation of Mr Hanley left a vacancy on the City Council.

It is the prerogative of the Social Democrats to nominate a person who will be co-opted to replace him as a councillor at City Hall.

A spokesperson for the party told the Tribune last week that it has not yet chosen a successor.

“We don’t have any update in relation to the co-option. I will let you know when we have a candidate,” the spokesperson said.

One problem faced by the party is that a number of possible replacements for Mr Hanley have left the Soc Dems over policy and other issues.

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Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway



Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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