The Park and Ride from Galway Airport was branded “unsustainable” last night after it emerged that just 20 cars per day are using the service.
And in the nine weeks it has been up-and-running, there were a total of 14 days when nobody used the service at all.
However, Michael Coyle, Chief Executive of Galway Chamber – the controlling shareholder of the airport – said the operator of the service, Farrell Travel, is committed to continuing the service, on the reduced frequency introduced just over a week ago.
“The operator remains committed to continuing to provide the service at reduced timetables. It’s a six-month pilot,” said Mr Coyle.
He said that while feedback from users was positive, the average number of cars each week was 135 (150 people).
“The usage remains lower than the operator and we would like. In the early stages, there was evidence of numbers growing, but once the schools closed, numbers fell back.
“We have introduced a revised schedule. We believe it can help traffic congestion, particularly with the advent if major road works, and with major events such as matches, concerts and the Novena. Second level school children were using it to travel from school,” said Mr Coyle.
Referring to a story from this newspaper a fortnight ago, Cllr Tom Costello said the figures were “devastating” as the service had already been cut back.
“When are they [the operators] going to cry halt? 150 per week is a devastating figure,” said Cllr Costello.
Cllr Mike Crowe said he never believed the Carnmore site was sustainable, and he was not sure if Galway was ready for Park and Ride, whether it had the population to sustain it, or if there was enough of an incentive to use it.
Cllr Donal Lyons said the service is unsustainable going forward, because of the losses being incurred.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later
Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man
Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.
Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.
He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250, the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.