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Safety audit planned for Galway city waterways



The rivers and canals of Galway are too accessible at the moment, according to Cllr Niall McNelis who has submitted a Notice of Motion to Galway City Council requesting a safety audit of the city’s waterways.

The Notice of Motion requests “that this council and the Lough Corrib Navigation trust carry out a safety audit on all the access points to the rivers and canals that flow through the city”.

A report by Irish Water Safety on drowning in the Republic of Ireland states that 62% of all drownings from 1988 to 2012 occurred on inland waters, with a total of 10% occurring on the Corrib.

“Over the past number of months there has been a series of deaths by drowning in the river and the canals – some of them by self-harm and some of them accidental,” said Cllr Niall McNelis.

“I was talking to the Students’ Union in NUI Galway and one thing that they wanted to see done was a safety audit of the canals. So I put in a request and it turns out that these audits can be conducted free of charge by Irish Water Safety, who actually happen to have their head office based in Galway.”

Currently, there are 60 lifebuoys located along the river and canals in Galway City, which are checked by Community Wardens on a regular basis – weekly during off-peak season and twice weekly over the summer.

The lifebuoys in question are located at areas where there is public access to the water, and should a safety audit be undertaken, it would be carried out in these areas. This year, Irish Water Safety will be carrying out water safety audits on all piers under the remit of Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees.

“There has also been a public meeting held recently where they were actually looking at getting people to patrol the canals and waterways at night time, similar to what they do in Limerick,” said Cllr McNelis.

“I believe that we should be doing an audit first of all and, where needed, barriers should be put up, or extra lighting or maybe some growth has to be but cut back and stuff like that.”

Another plan, according to Cllr McNelis, is to get a life buoy that will be sponsored by NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, and will be given to either the RNLI or the Fire Brigade.

“This lifebuoy will have a bleeper on it, so basically if somebody goes into the water and you throw this lifebuoy in, it’ll be able to track where the body may be. It’ll have a heat sensor on it,” said Cllr McNelis.

“So, if somebody goes in, you can throw this lifebuoy in and it will follow them along the river bank, so you’ll have a good idea of where they are in the water.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors



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

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre



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.

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis



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

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