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Connacht Tribune

‘Twenty Minute Hill’ just got a whole lot longer



Motorists on one of the most trafficked routes in North Galway will be running into temporary red lights – for the next four years.

A section of the main Tuam to Dunmore road will be reduced to one lane in the coming weeks on foot of safety concerns and the fact that it has become a high accident location.

There was a fatality last October at Carrowmunniagh – or Twenty Minute Hill as it is known locally – while there have been six serious smashes over the past five months.

The black spot is a narrow bend with rock formations on either side – and during adverse weather conditions, rubble spills out onto the main N83, causing a hazard for motorists.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland is to carry out a road widening programme to improve safety – but members of Tuam Municipal Council have been informed that, while there was agreement with a landowner on one side, there was none on the other.

The ultimate move in that process would be a Compulsory Purchase Order, which could mean a process of up to four years – meaning the road at this point would be reduced to a single lane during that period.

Senior Engineer John Coyle said that the road, at this location, is through a section of deep cut with no verge and loose rubble falling on the road every so often.

He explained that in the past month there has been a number of serious incidents where the road has had to be closed for a number of hours with diversions in place.

“It was on foot of this that the County Council along with Transport Infrastructure Ireland have decided to carry out road improvements and this will involve the installation of a one-way traffic system,” Mr Coyle said.

Cllr Pete Roche asked that traffic calming measures be put in place rather than closing off one lane as he said that this would cause major disruption and annoyance for the thousands of motorists who travel this road every day.

He suggested that a reduction in the speed limit to 30km/h should be considered but he was told by officials that even this was no longer a safe option.

Cllr Tom McHugh urged the Council engineers to enter immediate negotiations with the landowner who is less than willing to accommodate the road widening. “This has to be expedited in the shortest possible period,” he said.

The Fine Gael councillor believes that there are around 10,000 vehicles using this road every day despite the Council figures saying that it is just over 4,300.

Mr Coyle was of the opinion that even if the Council erected special signs to reduce speed, a lot of motorists would not adhere to this.

Cllr Des Joyce said that traffic lights for a possible four years would not be welcomed by motorists and hoped that the safety works could be carried out much quicker.

Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised



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’



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



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

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