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Connacht Tribune

Securing Digital Hub would create over 300 jobs in the next three years



Minister Hildegarde Naughten....significant boost.

The west and north-west could be on course to become the location for a European Digital Innovation Hub – providing local businesses with access to technological services and creating over 300 jobs in the next three years.

If successful, more than 575 jobs are also expected to be created indirectly during the same period, and the number of direct jobs created by the hub is predicted to rise to over 1,600 within the next decade.

A network of EDIHs is being established by the European Commission as part of the Digital Europe Programme, which will support companies and organisations in their digital transformations, sharing the latest advances in areas like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing.

The region has been made a designated candidate EDIH for Ireland, which will now be included in a restricted call for EDIHs to be launched by the European Commission next month. Only four projects have been selected from a competitive national field.

Its bid to be chosen as an EDIH location was supported by local Minister Hildegarde Naughton, who hailed the move as a potential major boost for local enterprises and the regional economy.

“I am hoping that this will be a significant boost for the western and north-western region, and extremely positive news particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that would benefit from access to the hub at an important time for technological innovation. I will now be working with my colleagues in Europe in support of the Western – Northwest proposal,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Storm Barra to bring coastal flooding and disruption to Galway



Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West on Tuesday, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said,

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Connacht Tribune

Cancer Care West helps cope with loss



Declan and Ailish Scully and their children presenting a cheque to Cancer Care West for money raised for their Chrismas swim, in memory of Aidan.

A Galway family has revealed their heartbreaking grief at the loss of a son and brother – to pay tribute to the Galway cancer charity that offered such support at their darkest hour.

Aidan Scully died of cancer in early 2020 – but as his mum Ailish talks about her son, the essence of this fine young man shines through her story.

The Moycullen native was only in this world a short time, but he lived his time well – and he left a lifetime of good memories for his parents, his five siblings, his wider family and many friends.

Ailish talks of a quiet and gentle child, an uncomplicated teenager, an ambitious young man about to embark on his chosen university course, the uncomplaining patient and finally the accepting soul who peacefully left them that night.

During Aidan’s illness the family turned to Cancer Care West and the Galway Hospice for support. At Cancer Care West, Aidan, his parents Declan and Ailish and siblings Eoin, Niamh, Sinead, Ciaran and Kevin availed of the counselling services which they found extremely helpful as they coped with his diagnosis and treatment.

Aidan also availed of the cancer rehab physiotherapy service to help him stay strong. And following Aidan’s passing the family sought bereavement counselling with the Cancer Care West team they had come to know so well.

At times Ailish saw the Galway support centre as a home from home as different family members came and went for appointments.

“Declan and I want to say a big thank you to Dr Helen Greally and her team,” said Ailish.

“They have been an amazing support for us throughout this time, helping us all deal with the trauma of Aidan’s diagnosis and his untimely death.

“It’s so important to have someone to talk to at times like this, someone professional who is not part of your normal everyday life.

“It gives you the space to work through so many emotions and helps you find the strength to move forward each day,” she added.

The loss of Aidan is still very raw and Ailish and her family have a way to go yet to find some peace and acceptance – but each of them is finding their own path forward and getting on with a life that, despite the enormous hole in it, has happy moments and good times.

As for Ailish, every day she wakes to thoughts of Aidan and the pain of his loss.

But sometimes something will happen, like a butterfly landing on her hand – and she is reminded that he is never far away from her and while she can no longer hold him in her arms, she is always holding him in her heart.


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Connacht Tribune

Fisheries rows back over Corrib’s predatory pike



Lough Corrib...U-turn on byelaws.

By Dara Bradley 

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recommended a change to byelaws on Lough Corrib to remove legal protection from invasive species such as pike – throwing a lifeline to under threat native salmon and brown trout.

In a major policy U-turn that has been welcomed by local salmon and trout anglers, IFI has conceded that byelaws in operation on Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation (SAC) are in breach of EU Habitats Directive legislation.

In a submission to the Department of Environment, its parent department, IFI recommends that changes are made to the bye-laws to bring them in line with the EU Habitats Directive.

If this happens, then pike and other non-native coarse fish will no longer be afforded the same protections in Lough Corrib as the native wild fish.

Salmon and trout conservationists have hailed the change in policy as a success that, if implemented, could save native species from the threat posed by predatory pike.

Michael Donnellan of Oughterard Anglers welcomed the change in direction of IFI and he urged Government to implement its recommendation, which would strip pike and other non-native species of protections they are currently afforded under byelaws 806 and 809.

“The statutory body involved with fisheries management, the IFI, have accepted the Habitats Directive, and we now want the Department of Environment and Minister Eamon Ryan, to formally adopt the recommendations of the statutory body. They need to amend the byelaws as recommended by IFI.

“If that is done, that basically means that non-native species will not have any legal protection within the SAC, which would then mean that it is in compliance with the Habitats Directive,” Mr Donnellan said.

Earlier this year, the Department held a public consultation about Designated Salmonid Waters Byelaws.

In its submission, IFI has conceded that byelaws 806 and 809 were “conflicting” with the aims of trying to conserve salmon and trout on Lough Corrib.

This is thought to be the first public confirmation by IFI that its policy to date of supporting the byelaws had been misguided.

The IFI said byelaws introduced in 2006, to prohibit the wide-scale harvest of pike and coarse fish from certain waters in Ireland, was “directly in conflict” with aims of the then Central and Regional Fisheries Boards.

The byelaws were intended as a “stop-gap”, it said “but the anomaly caused by these byelaws in respect of the management and marketing of the Great Western Lakes as wild brown trout fisheries has continued for a period of time”.

The IFI said the “proposal to designate these lakes as salmonid, or wild brown trout lakes must address this inconsistency once and for all”.

IFI’s submission added: “It is evident that unless the lakes … are exempted from the provisions of the two Byelaws, the byelaw as it stands does not achieve its stated aim of protecting the wild brown trout status of the lakes.

“In fact these byelaws have resulted in fish species which have become ’naturalised’ in these lakes, afforded equal protection to the native species which have been there since the retreat of the last ice age. This is contrary to the aims of the Habitats Directive and fisheries legislation in general.”

Mr Donnellan has written to local TDs, Senators and Councillors urging them to put pressure on the Department and Minister Ryan to change the byelaws to reflect IFI’s new position, which would afford salmon and trout a higher level of protection on Lough Corrib SAC and comply with the EU Habitats Directive.

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