Boat owners in the Claddagh have taken their own water samples which show over four times the level of grease compared to the City Council tests.
The discharge of oils, fats and greases into the city’s waterways has been an ongoing issue for many years, but the upgrade of the sewage system on Lower Dominick Street which connected up businesses and homes to the public sewer was meant to have solved the problem.
However, while the raw sewage being pumped into the water became a thing of the past before the influx of international visitors for the Volvo Ocean Race, residents insist the problem of ugly deposits of grease floating around the Claddagh Basin became worse with the increase in eateries across the west end area of the city.
Michael Coyne, who has been one of the most vocal campaigners on the problem, met with officials in June after a meeting was arranged by local councillor, Catherine Connolly.
They did a site survey and took a sample, which showed the levels of fats, greases and oils was 50mg/L, which they said was well within normal levels.
“We had to laugh. To be honest it made us mad. I don’t know where they took the sample from but it wasn’t the Claddagh Basin. We decided to take matters into our own hands and get our own tests done,” stated Michael.
The samples sent to the Health Service Executive (HSE) laboratory were taken from three locations in early June – the Canal at Dominick Street, which showed a level of 84mg/L; Claddagh Bankeen Corrib, which registered at 8mg/L and Claddagh Quay, that came back at 214mg/L.
“The lab technician told us that 214mg/L was definitely pollution, poison. All you have to do is go behind Dominick Street and look at the wastewater on Eglinton Canal and you’ll see the pollution.”
Cllr Connolly said she was satisfied with the response of officials, who promptly came to meet with residents and conduct tests.
She had sent the residents’ test results to Irish Water and they accepted there as a big difference in levels.
Cllr Connolly said work on connecting properties to the public sewer meant that there were no longer direct discharges of sewerage or grease into the canal.
Workers had used the lower water levels in recent weeks during work on the locked gates to double check that no discharges were going into the canal.
“So why is there still grease in the canal? It would seem it’s not there all the time. This could be somebody dumping this into the water. It could be coming from further upstream, it could be from one of a number of streams feeding into the canal,” she insisted.
“It’s very hard to catch anyone doing this. It’s like littering. It’s an education process, like with litter.”
Irish Water are due in January to introduce a licensing system for food businesses which would make it compulsory for them to install a grease trap.
However, this would reduce blockages in the Mutton Island sewerage system rather than the surface water of the canal.
“As a councillor, I was delighted the raw sewerage finally stopped being pumped into the canal. There are still one or two discharges on Nun’s Island. That’s real progress,” she stated.
“Hopefully when the licensing system is introduced it will raise awareness about dumping oil into the water.”
She had asked officials to install a boom near McGuire’s Daybreak Shop which prevented surface water going into the Claddagh Basin.
“This also serves to bring to people’s attention the outcome of dumping into the water.”
A spokesperson for Galway City Council said the licensing system may well have an impact on surface water as it would ensure any businesses that sell hot food would have to show they are properly disposing of grease.
Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain
Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain
The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir
The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete
Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.
Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.
Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.
Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.
Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.
It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.
The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.
Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.
In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.
This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.
Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.
It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.
Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.
Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.
“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.
He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.
Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.
In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.
“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.
(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.