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Connacht Tribune

Staying safe in the inclement weather

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An inflatable dam in place near Ballinasloe to keep the flood waters at bay. Photo: Hany Marzouk.

IVAN KELLY, Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme Adviser, with Teagasc, Galway/Clare gives some timely advice on staying safe in the current volatile weather conditions.

STORM Jorge rages over the country as I write – the third serious weather event to hit the West of Ireland in the month of February, following on from Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, as warming oceans and a changing climate fuel higher-speed winds.

The heavy rain that accompanied these storms has resulted in thousands of acres of farmland being flooded, along with destruction to homes and property. Met Eireann charts show rainfall in the month of February was recorded at nearly 250mms. in the Athenry weather station. This was up from in 73mms. in February 2019 or over 300% increase in rainfall on the previous year.

In severe cases, cattle had to be moved out of farmyards to safety in the past week due to the risk of flooding. Soils are saturated, making grazing difficult or impossible.

Many farmers have to cope with the financial burden of purchasing extra concentrates to replace the unavailable grass, management challenges regarding longer housing of stock and waste storage issues with tanks filling and land being unsuitable for spreading slurry.

These severe weather events are unfortunately getting very common over the past few years. While the designated agencies continue to plan for extreme weather events including alleviating the risk with improved flood relief measures, what are the key things all farmers can do to help protect themselves, their families and farm?

Farm Safety

Do not enter flooded areas unless it is absolutely necessary and ensure you tell someone where you are going. If possible work in pairs. Bring a charged mobile phone in a secured pocket.

Flood water can lift items such as manhole covers and slats so extra vigilance is required where these are present.

Stay off roofs and high places particularly in windy conditions. Take extra care when using ladders which should be secured.

When using farm vehicles for transport within farms vigilance is required at road edges, banks of streams or embankments as these may be undercut by flowing water.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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