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Warning to salmon farmers over water extraction

Dara Bradley

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Salmon farm operators in Connemara have been warned over the illegal extraction of water from a local freshwater lake.

Warning letters have been issued to two salmon farmers operating in Kilkieran Bay following the discovery of an illegal pump and piping system, siphoning fresh water from a nearby lake.

Galway County Council has written warning letters to Bradán Beo Teo and Marine Harvest regarding the detection of the unauthorised development of a pipeline and abstraction pumping system at Loch An Mhuilinn into Cloonawilleen Bay. It is part of the Kilkieran Bay, special area of conservation (SAC).

The Council was alerted to the unauthorised development and illegal activity after local inshore fishermen noticed that water was being extracted from a trout lake at An Muileann, Gorumna Island.

Last year, an enforcement noticed was issued to Marine Harvest to dismantle a piping and pump system at nearby Loughaunore Lake.

The owner of the latest unauthorised development is not yet known but the Council has issued warning letters to Bradán Beo Teo and Marine Harvest. They were given a month to respond. The Department has indicated Marine Harvest does not own the pipes.

The aquaculture licence section of the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine has also confirmed it will investigate the matter “as a priority”.

Last year Marine Harvest said it needed to extract water from Loughaunore Lake as an emergency measure to save their salmon stock from Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD). Bathing salmon in fresh water for three hours cures the fish of AGD.

It has not yet been established when the latest pumping system and pipes were developed at An Muileann but it has been there for some months.

Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages has called for a full investigation, and for hefty penalties if it is shown that the law was broken.

“This system has been put in without planning permission and without a foreshore licence. Whoever is responsible cannot be allowed to get away with this,” said Billy Smyth, chairperson of GBASC.

“When that pump is working, millions of litres are being extracted from the lake, which is a trout lake located in an SAC. The other serious thing about this is that the citizens of Ireland have been forced to pay water charges to Irish Water for the amount of water they use. And yet these people aren’t paying a penny for all the water they are using,” he said.

Údarás Na Gaeltachta are major shareholders in Bradán Beo Teo, the company that owns the two salmon farm licences in Kilkieran Bay SAC, one of which was leased to Marine Harvest for the last two years. GBASC says Údarás has questions to answer regarding this latest development.

“Is the board of Údarás aware that a company that they are a major shareholder in, may be implicated, through their ownership of the two licences, in the operation and construction of an illegal piping and pumping system?

“We are calling for an investigation into how this can happen. Salmon farm operators who break the law, should have their licences revoked and be heavily fined, otherwise this situation will continue year after year,” added Mr Smyth.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

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Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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