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Connacht Tribune

‘Twenty Minute Hill’ just got a whole lot longer

Declan Tierney

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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

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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