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Connacht Tribune

Widening work along deadly stretch hits the buffers

Declan Tierney

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There is no chance of movement on a road widening project along what was once the deadliest stretch of national route in the county, despite the fact that the necessary land has been bought and paid for.

That’s because there’s no more money to do the work – and this in turn has led to fears that the original landowners will soon be able to claim squatters rights on the property because of the length of the delay.

It was planned to widen the old N6 road between Ballinasloe and Loughrea close to Cappataggle and a process was put in place in which land was acquired on either side of a two mile stretch.

But Transport Infrastructure Ireland, which acquired the necessary land, has not moved on the road improvement works.

However, Cllr Aidan Donohue believes that this was money badly spent as there has been no movement on widening the road since the M6 motorway was provided. “It was a waste of money,” he added.

The Fine Gael councillor said that he could not understand the logic of acquiring land on either side of the old N6 road when the motorway was being planned.

Cllr Donohue said that the landowners were paid for the property on either site of the old N6 and were yet grazing it. He has now asked Galway County Council officials to investigate the situation.

He raised the matter at a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council and said that the lands were ‘bought and paid for’ without any work taking place.

“It is mind-boggling what is going on. They decide to widen the road and then give up on the idea despite the land being bought”, he said.

There is a stretch of the old N6 that is not governed by an extensive had shoulder. In the past, it used to be dotted by white crosses which indicated the number of lives that were lost at this stretch.

It has been suggested that the development of the motorway has resulted in TII losing interest in this stretch despite it still being a national road.

Senior Engineer Damien Mitchell said that the Council were looking for funding to bring the surface of the road up to acceptable standard. He expressed doubts that funding would be provided for its widening in the present climate.

Cllr Michael Connolly said that there could be an issue of squatter’s rights coming into play. He said that if the farmers were utilising the land for seven years, then they could claim it back.

Mr Mitchell said that he could not say what land had been acquired by the Council but he would find out before the next meeting. He said that he would also find out what agreements were entered into with the land owners.

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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