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CITY TRIBUNE

Trees plan uprooted by Galway City Council

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Volunteers planting the trees last month at Mad Yolk Farm in Rosshill against the backdrop of Galway Bay.

A massive tree-planting project on the east side of the city could be uprooted after Galway City Council ruled it is considered to be an unauthorised development in an area with protected views.

Last month, volunteers came together to help to plant up to 1,000 trees at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ in Rosshill.

However, locals claimed that the trees would block a protected view of the sea and of Roscam Round Tower, which is an early medieval monastic site and a National Monument.

The Council subsequently issued Warning Letters in relation to the “unauthorised tree planting on lands at Rosshill Road”.

“There is a Protected View, Protected Structures and a number of National Monuments listed in the vicinity.”

The letters were served on the secretary of Seafront Farm Ltd, Mad Yoke Farm Ltd, both with addresses in Sceilig Ard on the Headford Road and the secretary of Sunmile Ltd, with an address at Mill Street.

The Council is expected to compel the owner of the land to return it to its original state.

Brian Dilleen officially opened Mad Yolk farm at the end of last month with a mass planting session of 1,000 native Oak, Hawthorn, Hazel, Birch, Rowan, Scots Pine and Crab Apple trees.

Following an internship on a small mixed enterprise farm in Sweden, the Newcastle man bought two four-acre plots in the area three years ago to set up his own chemical-free organic farm.

His plans also included a no-dig market garden, which he hopes can provide organic food for over 100 locals residents.

Galway City Council issued the Warning Letters under Section 152 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, ordering that the planting of trees cease and “discontinue any unauthorised development forthwith”.

The company secretaries who were served with the notice have been given until the middle of this month to make a submission to the local authoeriry.

The Council stated that there was a protected view, protected structures and a number of national monuments located in the vicinity of the planted land.

“In the event of you failing to comply with the terms of this warning letter, Galway City Council may, where it considers that unauthorised development has been, is being, or may be carried out, withing 12 weeks of service of this letter, issue an enforcement notice,” the letter reads.

Mr Dilleen has argued that his trees did not constitute a development and that the Council would normally ignore a case of this type.

He told the Galway City Tribune that the controversial trees had been planted in order to create a mixed species hedge which would act as a wind breaker for the farm, running parallel to the view of the sea.

“You hear 1,000 trees and it paints a certain picture,” added farm manager Joe Gray.

“We planted a Hawthorn hedgerow at the back of our second field facing the Atlantic to create a new habitat for wildlife and plug in the gaps of the existing barrier of brambles,” he said.

“Behind this we planted a windbreak of shrubs and native trees sourced from the charity ‘Trees on the Land’.

“Unfortunately – and we’re sure through misunderstanding of our aims and perhaps the wording of our Facebook event – someone from the local community complained to the Council that we were planting 1,000 trees and creating a woodland in a vicinity with a protected view.

“As was written in the Facebook event, the planned planting had taken into consideration the protected view of the nearby Round Tower and had been planned with respect to our neighbours,” Mr Gray stated.

The two men argued that their open farm would enhance the protected view of Roscam Round Tower and the sea, which they claim is currently not visible from the walkway. They also stressed that they were committed to providing a meaningful resource to the local community.

“Most of that number (of trees) made up the one hedgerow of Hawthorn and only a further 140 trees were planted for the windbreak, both in the same place that isn’t near to the view in question, which will provide our field with some relief from the wild Atlantic wind,” said Mr Gray.

“Furthermore, we looked out from the public road where this view is supposed to be, and the sea and Round Tower can’t even be seen because of an existing hedgerow.

“With our open-farm policy, we’re happy to have people come into our land which has a very good view of both. We’re sure that planting a hedge on agriculturally-zoned land is not an issue for the Council to waste time on and apologise for our part in it.”

However, Roscam-based councillor Alan Cheevers said people needed to adhere to planning laws relating to protected views and structures

“If it’s a case that there’s a protected view notice on a portion of land, that view would have to be adhered to for the locals,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

“We have to respect residents. We have laws surrounding the planning and protection of views and heritage sites, and we have to respect that and work within the confines of the law,” he added.

(Photo: Volunteers planting the trees last month at Mad Yolk Farm in Rosshill against the backdrop of Galway Bay.)

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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.

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