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Supreme Court hears the law was “radically misapplied” in Apple Athenry case

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Supreme Court has heard that the law was “radically misapplied” by An Bord Pleanála in the way it granted permission for the first phase of tech giant Apple’s planned data centre in Athenry
While Apple has since decided not to proceed with the Athenry centre, a five judge Supreme Court has today began hearing an appeal by two objectors addressing a range of legal issues arising from how the board dealt with the company’s proposal.
The appeal is by Sinead Fitzpatrick, who lives close to the planned 850 million euro development, and Allan Daly, of Athenry.
It is opposed by An Bord Pleanala and the State, but Apple is not involved.
According to the Irish Times Online the court’s decision is expected to impact on how the Board deals with similar projects.
The appeal is continuing.

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NUI Galway researchers caution over retrofitting and radon

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Ireland’s residential retrofitting programme should ensure ventilation is carefully considered to avoid an increase in levels of radon gas in homes, researchers at NUI Galway have found.

A team from the University’s School of Physics conducted one of the first studies of its kind to quantify the impact of improved energy-efficiency and airtightness on radon – a radioactive, odourless, colourless and tasteless gas.

With the Government having set a target of 500,000 homes to be retrofitted by 2030, the physicists used advanced computer models to predict how radon levels would be affected by improvements within different types of dwellings. 

Overall, it showed that if appropriate ventilation measures were not considered during the retrofitting process, there is a potential for radon levels to more than double.

However, the study also showed that when appropriate ventilation measures were implemented during the retrofit process, radon levels could be reduced below the initial levels.

The study was carried out by Dr James McGrath and led by Dr Miriam Byrne, both of NUI Galway, as part of research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It has been published in the international journal, Building and Environment, a leading research journal in the field.  

Dr McGrath, of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, said: “It is important that in our drive to make our buildings more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that we do not introduce additional risks of negative outcomes.

“The research findings highlight that radon, and indoor air quality overall, needs to be given due consideration as a key element of any proposed retrofitting works.”

Ireland has a higher radon level than the global average. The gas is a known carcinogen. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Ireland and is linked to approximately 300 lung cancer cases every year. 

The NUI Galway study examined a combination of different houses – bungalow, semi-detached and terraced dwellings; outdoor locations – suburban, rural and coastal regions; dwelling ages; and various ventilation measures. 

It also examined how airflow is altered through retrofitting and energy efficiency improvements like increased wall and attic insulation, new windows and doors and draught prevention.

Dr McGrath added: “The results have important policy implications, highlighting that radon needs to be given appropriate consideration during the retrofit process. It is essential that people realise radon is only a problem if ignored. Radon remediation methods are often straightforward and inexpensive with the potential to significantly reduce levels of what is a potentially dangerous gas.” 

The NUI Galway research team also noted that the only way to ensure that a home does not exceed the reference level after energy improvements is to carry out a radon test. 

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Public are reminded that the deadline for submissions on the Galway to Athlone Cycleway is tomorrow

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – The public have been reminded that the deadline for all general submissions on the routes for the Galway to Athlone Cycleway is tomorrow, March 1st.

The proposed Cycleway will eventually create a dedicated 270km route from Dublin to Galway city with both the North Green Route Number 1 and the Central Blue Route Number 3 joining to give a clear route from Galway City to Athlone.

Farmers and landowners in the public consultation areas can engage at any time with the project team.

In a statement to Minister Eamonn Ryan in the Seanad, Roscommon-Galway Senator Aisling Dolan said it was urgent that it happened as soon as possible.

Those who want to contact the project team can email info@galwaytoathlonecycleway.com, ring (091) 509267 or go to the website and fill out the online form.

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Headford Councillor welcomes decision on construction of community facility at Moyne Villa

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Headford Fine Gael Councillor Andrew Reddington has welcomed the decision to grant permission to Moyne Villa FC for the construction of a community facility on their grounds in Headford.

The facility will see the construction of a gym and leisure facility at the ground and will be in addition to the community playground, the walking track, community pitches and hub for remote working that is already in place.

Councillor Reddington said that the planned development was testament to the work being done at the club and their plans they have to offer yet another community facility for the people of Headford.

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