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.
€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.