A crucial Inishbofin pier destroyed in storms five years ago has still not even been assessed for repair – even though €90,000 funding was approved for a survey in 2015.
Project coordinator of the Inishbofin Development Company, Simon Murray, acknowledges that repairs to some of the damage caused by the severe storms of December 2013 and January 2014 on the south of the island was carried out under the emergency funding granted at the time.
However, there were significant gaps in the repairs on that side of the island that have yet to be completed. Back then he was urging Galway County Council to carry them out while engineers were on site to avoid escalating costs further.
Locals carried out their own repairs to North Beach, a stony cobble beach between Lough Boffin and Northside Bay which split in two.
The storm water cut a deep trench cut into it allowing the sea to merge into the lake and spill onto the road, cutting off nine houses and flooding one.
As Council workers were stretched in the aftermath of those devastating storms, they decided to act before nature could wreak further havoc.
The Council also did not repair the East End pier built in 1890 which acts as a breakwater to prevent flooding to the 20 homes located here. It was all but demolished by the fierce stormwaters.
“This is a tidal pier used by fishermen but it’s more important as a breakwater for the whole area. Right now, there’s nothing to stop the houses here flooding. We’ve had a few hairy moments over the last few years when big tides and high winds have combined but we’ve been lucky that the wind was coming in the wrong direction,” explained Simon.
Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív said it has now emerged that €90,000 was approved in 2015 for a coastal erosion and flood risk management study that was never carried out.
In a reply to his parliamentary question, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Pascal Donohue confirmed that Galway County Council received €1.64 million to repair the storm damage and its programme of works included locations on Inishbofin at the east end and south face shore.
“All funds have now been disbursed to the Council in relation to this programme and I am advised that the Council has undertaken the works on Inishbofin at a total cost of €301,000.
“I have been advised that the OPW approved funding of €90,000 in 2015 under its minor flood mitigation works and coastal protection scheme to Galway County Council for a comprehensive coastal erosion and flood risk management study for Inishbofin Island as a whole, including the issues of concern at the East End Pier.”
Deputy Ó Cuív said the study was essential in assessing whether to rebuild or replace the pier completely.
“The East End Pier provides vital protection to houses in the area and is also needed by local fishermen”, said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“Based on the reply I received from Minister Donohoe, it would appear that Galway County Council has not completed this study or submitted any results of the study to the OPW. This delay is disappointing and I will be pressing that the matter will now be addressed as a matter of urgency”.
At a meeting of the Galway County Council Islands Committee – which met in September after a gap of ten years – Simon raised the issue of the pier.
A lack of resources was the reason given for the study not being carried out.
“We understand that a survey needs to be done so that a cost estimate can be drawn up and a tendering package produced. We would really like this to happen now and not put on the long finger anymore,” he stated.
“After all, islands are a serious economic driver for the county.”
Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie