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Connacht Tribune

Travellers in legal challenge against removal of animals

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A Judicial Review has been sought in the High Court on Galway County Council’s decision earlier this year to remove horses from land adjacent to a halting side on the outskirts of the city.

In February, eight horses were lifted from a site adjacent to the Carrowbrowne Traveller halting site on the Headford Road.  County Council wardens, Gardaí and representatives of a private horse rescue service based in Roscommon were involved in the operation.  It was prompted after a winter of complaints about wandering horses along the Curraghline – a number of motorists collided with the animals and there were several reported ‘near misses’.

Michael Owens, Director of Services at Galway County Council, has confirmed to County Councillor James Charity (Ind) that Judicial Review proceedings have been taken against the local authority arising from the recovery of those eight animals from a site on the N84.

Mr Owens said: “The Judicial Review proceedings referenced in your email relates to the removal of the horses from the Headford Road and subsequent actions.”

It is understood the proceedings are being taken by or on behalf of the Travellers who own the horses.

Judicial Review proceedings suggest that the action is being taken against the Council on the grounds that there was something procedurally wrong with how the horses were lifted, and/or what was done with them subsequently. There is a certain period of time during which the owners are allowed to claim their animals before they are either rehomed or put to sleep.

The matter is in for mention in the High Court again on November 20, when affidavits will be lodged, but it probably won’t proceed to a full-hearing until 2019.

Cllr Charity, a barrister, said the local authority cannot afford to ‘do nothing’ between now and when the proceedings conclude – stray horses on the N84 is a problem that is once again rearing its head this November, he said.

Just two weeks ago, he said a woman from Shrule contacted him to say she had struck a stray horse wandering on the Headford Road at night. There was nowhere to pull-in safely and, afraid to stop on the side of the road, she drove to Clonboo and abandoned her car, which was badly damaged.

Cllr Charity was present in February when the horses were lifted and he said it was necessary.

“It was particularly bad in November and over Christmas last year, and got worse then in February, when there was no growth and the horses were leaving the site, and crossing the busy road, in search of food. It was dangerous, and people were rightly going berserk.

“Since the Ballinasloe Horse Fair, there have been more horses back in the field at Carrowbrowne and there are concerns that the problem of wandering horses will continue this Winter,” he said.

The matter has been put on the agenda for next Monday’s Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District meeting.

Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

Read 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

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