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Royal visitors enjoy best of our history – and a glimpse of our bright future

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A team of 200 gardaí locked down NUIG, parts of the Claddagh, city centre, Oranmore and later Gort for a packed itinerary undertaken by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at the start of their four-day trip.

While media reports were overshadowed by the handshake and private meeting between Prince Charles and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams during the NUIG reception, it served to bring the visit to the top of the news agenda around the world – and with it Brand Galway.

The small number of locals who managed to make it past the tight security cordon which reigned at each engagement were rewarded with a quick handshake and a smile from the Duchess of Cornwall who broke from protocol to go on impromptu walks outside venues.

Prince Charles set the warm tone for the visit in his speech by admitting while he was a Fred Astaire fan since he was young, but he “may be a little too old to learn the steps of the Irish dancing routine”.

On this his third visit to the island, he declared that each time he was “so overwhelmed and so deeply touched by the extraordinary kindness, the welcome and indeed the fun of being in Ireland”.

During his trip to the Marine Institute in Oranmore, which he had specifically requested en route to the Burren, Prince Charles was introduced to staff working on research into sustainable fisheries, marine bio-discovery and climate change impacts. He was gifted a 330 million year-old piece of fossil coral recovered from near Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.

In the Burren, he helped build a dry stone wall and invited Pat Nagle and son Oliver, local farmers taking part in the Burren conservation programme, to visit his estate to help him grow a hedgerow.

After her visit to the Claddagh National School where she learned about the Suas literacy programme, the Duchess of Cornwall was treated to a ten-minute performance of Richard II, which is part of the DruidShakespeare production to mark their 40th anniversary.

Afterwards she met with the actors depicting the historical lives of her royal ancient in-laws.

She then walked around the corner to the House Hotel, which showcased produce from the Wild Atlantic Way. The Duchess has a keen interest in homegrown and sustainably sourced food and is one of the few royals to actually taste food and drink on her engagements. She stopped at each stall set up by the producers, including Kelly Oysters Kilcolgan, Bradys Butchers of Athenry, Connemara Smokehouse, Sheridans cheesemongers and McCambridges.

By evening time the couple reunited at Lough Cutra Castle for a private dinner with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, where they dined on blanched asparagus, pan-seared halibut followed by panna cotta and poached rhubarb at a dining table where the guest list remained under wraps.

Their Galway leg ended with an overnight stay in the Gort demesne before they set off for Sligo and an emotional trip to Mullaghmore, where Prince Charles’ great-uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed in an IRA attack alongside three others in 1979.

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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