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TD labels new proposals on bypass as ‘madness’



A Government backbencher has described new proposals for the N6 Galway City Transport Project as “madness” and called for focus to revert to the original Galway City Outer Bypass (GCOB) route.

Six route options for the new city ring road are being considered and as many as 130 homes and some businesses may have to be demolished under the plans, which could cost up to €750 million.

Fine Gael Deputy Brian Walsh said Menlo and Barna villages would be damaged or destroyed under the proposals, and landmarks such as Ballybrit Racecourse would be substantially compromised.

He wants planners to scrap the new routes and go back to a variation of the old bypass route. Several city councillors at Monday’s meeting argued the same, but the official leading the project, senior engineer Michael Timmins of Galway County Council, says the old route was rejected in the courts and cannot be used again because it will be rejected again.

“The original bypass was stopped because it threatened to damage bog cotton,” said Deputy Walsh, “but there appears to be no such reservations about bulldozing people’s homes.

“The routes that have now been presented are utterly outlandish. They would destroy villages, homes, and public amenities; steamrolling the city and plunging it into chaos for years during construction,” said Deputy Walsh.

“On top of that, the projected costs associated with these routes are completely unfeasible. A variation of the original GCOB that could be progressed under IROPI would present an alternative that could be completed quicker and at a fraction of the cost of what is now being proposed,” he said.

The IROPI planning process allows authorities to apply for permission to develop infrastructure notwithstanding its impact on environmentally sensitive sites where there are Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest (IROPI).

“It is preposterous that we’re talking about putting people out of their homes for the sake of a small area of limestone paving and some bog cotton. This has to be about people, not plants or paving,” added Deputy Walsh.

Speaking after public consultation meetings, Mr Timmins explained that it was not possible to revisit the ‘old’ route as part of the new proposals for a bypass.

He said if the old route is resubmitted, it would once again be rejected out of hand by European and Irish courts. It’s a non-runner, he said, which is why the Council has come up with five new route corridors.

“You cannot use the old route because the old route has been rejected by the Supreme Court on foot of an opinion from the European Court and you cannot come back with the old route again or it will be rejected by the courts again,” insisted Mr Timmins. He said they were forced to examine new routes in order to prove that they had exhausted all avenues.

“An Bórd Pleanála rejected the western wing of the bypass from the N59 to the R336 at Barna, and the Supreme quashed the remainder of the route. The problem is, if you wish to go forward with a new route where you want to use the process of getting the opinion of the European Commission to support your route, you must show it is the least damaging alternative.

“You cannot just pick a route and say to the European Court, ‘please give us an opinion to allow us to build on this’. No, they’ll say ‘you shouldn’t be here at all, you shouldn’t have damaged the environment’. So you must examine other options to the old route.”

Connacht Tribune

Nurses call in Chief Fire Officer on ED overcrowding



UHG's Emergency Department.

The nurses’ union has formally urged the Chief Fire Officer to investigate 17 alleged breaches of the fire regulations as a result of chronic overcrowding in the emergency department at University Hospital Galway.

It’s the second time the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has done so since Christmas, fearing the lives of staff and patients are being put in grave danger.

The emergency department was busier than normal last week, with between 222 and 251 patients turning up to be seen per day. On Wednesday of last week there were 53 patients waiting on trolleys, according to figures released by the Saolta Hospital group. That went down to 47 on Thursday and Friday.

This week has seen little let up. On Monday and Tuesday the number of people who could only get a trolley was down to 36 and 38 respectively.

Local area representative of the INMO, Anne Burke, said as a result of very high attendances at the temporary emergency department, management had opened a transit area where between 12 and 14 people could be accommodated in cubicles.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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

Comer has eyes on the prize



Damien Comer undergoing an eye test at Specsavers; the Galway star is encouraging all to look after their eyesight and hearing.

If you Google Damien Comer, the first entry the search returns is a dedicated Wikipedia page, which declares: “He’s better than David Clifford”.

And while Wikipedia as a source of fact isn’t necessarily always reliable, who are we to argue with it?

But whatever about comparisons with Kerry greats, the Annaghdown clubman is certainly up there among Galway’s finest ever footballers.

Winning a first All-Star last season, from his third nomination, was proof of that. It was a special personal accolade, but he’d trade it in a shot for a Celtic Cross.

“It was nice to get but if I finish my career not having won an All-Ireland, I’ll be very disappointed,” he declared.

Comer hints that the 2022 All-Ireland final loss to Kerry last July was not one of his better games in maroon, and it’s one he thinks about regularly.

“Yeah, I would yeah, I’d think about it a bit. But I try to forget it as well, because it wasn’t a good day for me, personally, anyway.

“You try to forget about it and yet you have to try to learn from it and improve on the mistakes you made, and stuff you didn’t do that you should’ve done, and different things that you can bring to this season.

“It’s one that’s hard to forget about really because we were there for so long. Sixty minutes in, neck-and-neck, and then they just pulled away, so it was disappointing,” he said.

Damien Comer has teamed up with Specsavers to encourage people to take a more proactive approach to their eye and hearing health. There’s a full interview with him ahead of Sunday’s National Football League Final, is in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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

Galway publican reflects on traumatic journey that ended with his abuser in jail



Paul Grealish. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway businessman Paul Grealish remembers the moment back in 2000 when he was given a sheet of paper and asked to write about his life. He was on weekend-long self-development course that he’d been sent on by his brother John. At the time, John was managing director of their family business for which Paul and their sister, Joan, also worked.

“The course was probably done in an attempt to make it easier to manage me,” says Paul with a laugh, adding that he “was tough to manage” back then.

He was enjoying the course – until he received that blank sheet.

“I got about four or five sentences in, writing about my early life. Until I got to the primary school part . . . I was in tears,” he remembers. “I was so used to compartmentalising things, I didn’t see the danger.”

In the early 1970s, aged nine and ten years, Paul had been beaten and sexually abused by his teacher, Brother Thomas Caulfield, at Tuam CBS primary school.

He had repressed those memories for nearly three decades.

“You bury the memory, and you bury it as deep as you can. There’s an awareness of something terrible there but it’s too frightening for you to actively remember.”

Paul was so terrified of those memories that he’d lost all recollection of his childhood. He couldn’t tell his story.

He was meant to show it to one of the course leaders – a counsellor, he thinks. Instead, Paul put the nearly-blank sheet before the man and explained what had happened.

Realising Paul’s plight, that man gave him a list of phone numbers for counsellors in Galway.

“Every now and again, I’d look at it and think about ringing them but I didn’t,” Paul says.

However, the abuse that had robbed Paul of his childhood and blighted his adulthood with feelings of guilt and self-hatred refused to stay buried. Finally, he knew he had to deal with it. That journey began in the early 2000s and Paul finally got closure earlier this month when Caulfield was sentenced to 27 months in prison – with the final seven suspended – for his crime.

Read Paul’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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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