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Taoiseach ‘shocked’ by impact of city bypass plan

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The Minister for Transport and the Taoiseach appeared “shocked” that the proposed city bypass was positioned so near the centre and was destroying so many high-calibre homes.

That was the assessment of the residents who met with Minister Pascal Donohoe on Wednesday and after an impromptu meeting with Enda Kenny in the corridors of Leinster House en route.

Spokesman for the Galway N6 Action Group who attended said while they got no commitment from anybody about the road, the four members left upbeat that they had laid out the full picture for both the Minister and the Taoiseach.

“We had a presentation and we had the pictures of houses for demolition. The Minister was quite shocked at the scale and the quality of the properties involved,” recalled Newcastle resident Colman Collins.

“We told him we couldn’t get answers why the old outer bypass was dropped and why we were getting an inner bypass instead of an outer bypass. We spoke about how after 31 years every bus still goes into Eyre Square rather than over the Quinncentenary Bridge.

“We explained that we had to go to Brussels to hear that the outer bypass could still be put back on the table when we were told it couldn’t. He didn’t make any commitments, but he said he would ask questions of Galway County Council and [consultants] Arup about the whole process. His attention never wavered for the entire 40 minutes.”

On bumping into Mr Kenny, he enquired if the delegation were up to talk about the outer bypass, to which they retorted that it was an inner bypass and not an outer road.

“He was shocked by the proximity of the road to the city centre,” recalled Colman.

The Taoiseach remarked that whatever solution was found should be infrastructure to facilitate the future development for the city for the next 50 years.

The reaction of both politicians has buoyed the resolve of the campaigners, who have vowed to oppose the preferred route option even though it was destroying 41 houses instead of 141 properties which some of the six routes had threatened to do at an earlier stage.

“My sense is this deal is not done yet. I’d say to people: do not despair. This emerging route does not have to become ‘the’ route. Lobby your councillors, TDs. Give us pictures of your properties and join us. Do not lie down under this. This is not the best solution – the outer bypass and alternative public transport solutions are.”

The “emerging preferred route corridor” involves a new bridge and viaduct over the river Corrib, two short tunnels at Ballybrit and Coolagh on the Headford road, with the demolition of 41 houses and a further 10 more “seriously affected”.

Fine Gael Deputy Brian Walsh, who organised the meeting, said while he fully supports building a bypass, he still had concerns this preferred route would fall again on environmental grounds as it impacted on the protected limestone pavement.

“I think it’s a much better option than the others put on the table before but I haven’t yet been convinced that the limestone paving issues has been alleviated. I’ll await the final design to see if it’s going to be a water-tight application or will be exposed to years of legal challenges.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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