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‘Told you so’ says Council as traffic gridlock grips Galway City



“We warned you” is the message from Galway City Council after traffic was brought to a standstill around the city this week.

And officials have advised motorists to find an alternative route while they carry out overnight works on Lough Atalia for three days at the beginning of September.

Lough Atalia inbound will be closed from the junction of Bóthar Páirc an Aonaigh (behind the Radisson) from 7pm to 7am on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 3 and 4, and on Tuesday September 10. The road closure is to allow works to be carried out to the water network.

Director of Services for Transport and Infrastructure, Ciarán Hayes, said the road will only be closed inbound, and that a diversion will be in place through the Fairgreen, Eyre Square, Victoria Place and onto the Docks.

He said that while schools will have just re-opened when the works are taking place, “there is a never a good time for road works”.

“We always have a difficulty with timing. Any earlier, and it would have coincided with the Arts Festival or the Races, any later and there is a greater likelihood of adverse weather conditions and then we’re up to Christmas.

“Hopefully, this will give us ample time to carry out these necessary works. That public road (Lough Atalia) is always busy because it is limited by Wolfe Tone Bridge.

“We don’t anticipate any huge impact in terms of back-to-school traffic, but where possible, people should use an alternative route,” said Mr Hayes.

Meanwhile, he accepted that the closure of the slip road off the Quincentenary Bridge was a contributory factor to heavy traffic across the city this week, particularly on Wednesday.

Mr Hayes said prior warning had been given about the ‘phenomenon’ that is Galway City traffic during August.

“We warned about this, both on radio and through the press last week. What we’re hitting now is the regular mid-August; the Leaving Cert result are out, the CAO offers are out, students are looking for accommodation, there is back-to-school traffic and tourist traffic.

“This is exactly why we gave advance warning. There is heavy traffic, we know why it’s there, we know mornings are quieter and that’s why we have advised people to make a choice about their journey, things will be easier if they come into town in the mornings,” said Mr Hayes.

He said the works on the Bodkin Roundabout at Galway Shopping Centre “have not given any difficulty yet”, but that the closure of the slip road off the bridge may have contributed to delays on Wednesday.

The Council previously advised that there would be no lane closures on the approach to the roundabout during peak hours.

However, Mr Hayes clarified that this referred to the roadway approaches, and not the slip road. He added that the project has not experienced any major delays and is still on track to be completed at the end of October or beginning of November.

Connacht Tribune

Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!



Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.

Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.

Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.

The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.

Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.

“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.

*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune 

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Connacht Tribune

Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison



A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.

The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.

A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.

At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.

They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.

Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.

The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.

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Connacht Tribune

Dismay as marine park proposal rejected by planners



A lifeline project, with the potential to create around 200 long-term jobs in an area of South Connemara ravaged by unemployment and emigration, has been rejected by planners – primarily environmental grounds.
The proposed marine park or Páirc na Mara, east of Cill Chiaráin village, was viewed by many as a real chance to turn the tide for this unemployment blackspot.
Locals – and the vast majority of Galway West politicians – were supportive of the project which was viewed as one that would revitalise the area.
That said, Galway County Council’s decision to refuse permission for the marine park was welcomed by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages which had expressed fears that the marine farm would extract huge amounts of fresh water to breed more than 1.5 million salmon smolts.
They said that millions of litres of fresh water would have been extracted on a regular basis by the salmon farm company operating the smolt rearing units – from the same lakes as the Carna and Cill Chiaráin water supply system.
“Local residents can now rest assured that their domestic water supply won’t be hijacked to line the pockets of people who have no regard for the local environment or residents,” said Billy Smyth, Chairman of Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.
It was proposed to provide a marine innovation park Pairc na Mara on a 60-acre brownfield site at Cill Chiarain.
The development involves the provision of a number of marine-based facilities as well as education and research facilities in the townlands of Cill Chiarain, Ardmore and Calvary.
It involves the abstraction of water from Lough Scannan, its transfer to and temporary storage in Iron Lake along with impoundment and pumping to the Marine Park site with a rising main.
According to the application, Galway County Council has previously granted planning permission for aquaculture-based activities on the site of the proposed marine park back in 2002 while the first phase of the innovation park was built in 2005.
There were a considerable number of submissions supporting the application with many saying that this part of Connemara would benefit greatly from such a development.
But there were others who expressed concern over the potential impact it would have on the environment, and it would be located in a highly sensitive area.
Cllr Gerry King said that it was a valuable opportunity lost to the area given the amount of unemployment that exists. He added that there was local outrage at the decision.
The Fianna Fail councillor met with those behind the project and residents in support of the project. He said that they all agreed that this decision should be appealed to the higher planning authority.
It was refused on the basis that it would adversely affect the integrity and conservation objectives of the European sides in the vicinity of environmental value.
Planners stated that they could not be certain that the project would not adversely affect the integrity of Cill Ciaran Bay, the islands and Connemara bog complex
They also said that the Environmental Impact Assessment Report did not present a sufficient level of information on the impact it would have on human health, biodiversity, land, soil, water along with cultural heritage and the landscape.

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