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Connacht Tribune

TDs at loggerheads on proposals for overtaking cyclists

Declan Tierney

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A Government Minister has hit out at legislation put forward by his fellow Galway East TD to impose stricter fines and penalty points on motorists who do not leave a metre and a half of a gap when overtaking cyclists.

OPW Minister Sean Canney described the plan as ‘extreme and unworkable’ and does not believe that it will become law – not least because so many TDs were opposed to it.

The Road Traffic Bill being put forward by Deputy Ciaran Cannon will, if passed, require motorists to obey the minimum passing distance of a metre and a half (around five feet) when overtaking cyclists.

Failure to comply with this will incur an €80 fine and three penalty points if it was passed into law.

But Minister Canney said that he could not understand where his fellow Galway East TD was coming from.

“If it was implemented to the letter of the law, then motorists would have to overtake cyclists while driving on ditches or in adjoining fields”, the independent TD added.

Minister Canney said that he did not believe that the Fine Gael TD had properly thought through this proposed piece of legislation and particularly when it refers to rural County Galway.

“Every weekend groups of cyclists gather at specific locations before embarking on cycles that could take them to various parts of the county. Invariably, they use the least trafficked roads to avoid any disruption for motorists.

“But most of these roads are no wider than ten feet and with two cyclists cycling abreast, it would be impossible for motorists to keep such a distance away from then when overtaking. They would be forced to drive on ditches or in fields in order to comply with such a law,” Minister Canney added.

Fine Gael’s Deputy Ciaran Cannon wants motorists to obey a 1.5 metre passing distance when overtaking cyclists or else face a hefty fine and penalty points. He said that this law would create a safe space on our roads in which cyclists would feel protected from passing traffic.

According to Deputy Cannon the proposed legislation is in the interests of children attending their local school or families out for their Sunday spin. He wants a designated space where cyclists can feel safe and protected.

However, his Government colleague Minister Sean Canney disagrees. “It is obvious that Deputy Cannon does not realise that the vast majority of cyclists use roads that are so narrow that it is nearly impossible to overtake.

“And even if they do, it is not possible to adhere to a 1.5 metre passing width. I cannot see this proposed legislation getting any further and if it does, it is not in the interests of motorists or any safety measures.

“Also, it hasn’t a hope in hell of being implemented because we do not have sufficient Garda resources to police every rural road where there is a presence of cyclists”, Minister Canney added.

But last week’s launch of the campaign also coincided with hundreds of cyclists gathering in Dublin city centre to highlight road fatalities involving people on bicycles.

Speaking at the event, Dr Mike McKillen, spokesman for the Irish Cyclists’ Advocacy Network, said he welcomed the publication of the Bill.

“This piece of legislation needs to be passed. We’ve got to change mindsets out there,” he said.

“The 1.5 metre rule is absolutely essential that drivers understand they have to change driving behaviour – we get comments in all the time from people saying drivers are coming too close and driving too fast, I won’t cycle.

“Virtually no children cycle to school now as parents understand that road traffic is hostile to cyclists. Traffic conditions must be managed to promote active travel for children and the 1.5 metre rule is so crucial here.”

Countries that have introduced the 1.5-metre minimum distance law include France, Belgium, Portugal and Australia, 26 US states and several provinces in Canada.

This campaign for a similar law in Ireland was spearheaded by Wexford cyclist Phil Skelton, who felt compelled to take action when two local cyclists died from injuries sustained in close passing incidents with motorists.

“If you are not a cyclist it can be very difficult to imagine just how intimidating it is to be overtaken by a vehicle too closely.

The creation of a virtual safety zone through the introduction of Minimum Passing Distance Law is not just for middle aged men in Lycra, this is aimed at all people who ride bicycles and especially those who are currently too scared to do so,  he said.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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