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Connacht Tribune

Still waiting on pier repairs – three years after funding approval

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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.”

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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