Two of Galway’s beaches formed half of the four nationwide to have been given a ‘poor bathing quality’ status, for failing to meet the minimum mandatory standards.
Clifden and Ballyloughane Beach in Renmore failed to make the grade, along with a lakeside bathing site in Westmeath, and Achill, Co Mayo in the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Quality of Bathing Water in Ireland – An Overview for the Year 2013’.
The long-term future for Clifden looks blighted with the EPA report acknowledging that a programme of remedial works for the nearby wastewater treatment plant had commenced – but it added that was unlikely to bring about significant improvements in water quality ahead of the 2016 bathing season.
Two public toilets at the beach, as well as septic tanks from local houses, and leaks from three surface water outfalls were blamed for the threat to seawater quality in Renmore.
Overall, the report said that Ireland’s bathing waters continued to be of a very high standard, with 97 per cent of designated bathing areas meeting the minimum EU qualifying standard.
The EPA monitors 135 locations, the most popular bathing waters as nominated by local authorities, but the authority says that it would like to see the programme widened.
A total of 84.4 per cent (114 of 135) were classified as being of ‘good’ status – a rise from 67 per cent (91 of 136) in 2012.
Next year, many beaches may reach the ‘excellent’ standard of water quality, as new stricter EU standards come into force.
“Our projections show that almost 90 per cent of Ireland’s designated bathing waters should meet the new ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ water quality standards, which will come into force from this year,” said Dr Matthew Crowe, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Assessment.
“Irish bathing waters continue to be among the best in northern Europe. By contrast to the 2012 bathing season, the warm dry conditions last year meant that many waters returned to their normal good quality.”
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
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.
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
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.