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1,300 wheelie bins of sewage flow into Casla Bay every day

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The equivalent of 1,300 wheelie bins of untreated wastewater flows into Casla Bay every day – and yet plans for a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for An Cheathrú Rua remain stuck in limbo, more than two decades on from when it was identified as needed.

Irish Water’s longstanding and controversial plans to compulsorily purchase a site at Sruthán Pier to develop a treatment plant to serve the Gaeltacht town appears in tatters but it has yet to commit to sourcing an alternative site.

The state company persisted with the plans against the advice of public representatives and residents.

In the meantime, the owner of the site, Glann Mór Céibh Teoranta, trading as Ionad Oidreachta na mBádóirí, secured planning permission to build what it described as a ‘world class’ immersive cultural heritage visitor attraction.

And just last month, County Councillors included a provision in the new County Development Plan 2022-2028 for a 100-metre minimum setback for all new WWTPs in An Cheathrú Rua.

This vote again effectively ruled-out the Sruthán Pier, much to the annoyance of Irish Water who claimed it would, “cause uncertainty over the timeline for the delivery of the ongoing project to provide wastewater treatment for this untreated agglomeration and mean that Irish Water are unable to commit to the provision of a WWTP for An Cheathrú Rua within the lifetime of the Draft Plan.”

The new specific objective in the Development Plan and the planning permission for a cultural centre effectively sinks Irish Water’s hopes of building at Sruthán Pier.

“Irish Water are aware of the recent An Bórd Pleanála decision and we are currently reviewing its implications for the proposed sewerage scheme and the current CPO,” the company told the Connacht Tribune.

Galway West TD Catherine Connolly (Ind) raised the issue in Dáil Éireann and said more suitable sites were available.

“We cannot stand over a situation where raw sewage is flowing into the bay in Conamara, in the heart of the Gaeltacht,” she said.

Deputy Connolly said she remembers the need for a WWTP in An Cheathrú Rua from when she was first elected to the City Council in 1999; and it pre-dates that.

She said locals believe an Údarás na Gaeltachta site in Ros an Mhíl could provide a solution.

“There is a site in the ownership of a state agency, we were told that that was too costly, but nobody has made up the cost of not dealing with the raw sewage,” she said.

Green Party Minister of State Malcolm Noonan said it was “unacceptable for raw sewage to be discharging into our water courses”.

He agreed that if there was an alternative site, Irish Water should pursue it.

Údarás na Gaeltachta, in a statement to the Tribune, indicated it was open to working with Irish Water (Uisce Éireann), on progressing a project at Ros an Mhíl.

“The existing WWTP in Ros an Mhíl was designed and commissioned to deal with the Údarás na Gaeltachta industrial estate facilities at the location, along with facilities at Ros an Mhíl port.

“While unable to comment on the capacity requirements of a municipal treatment plant for the An Cheathrú Rua region, Údarás are open to co-operating with Uisce Éireann in assisting with any such development.

“Indeed, Údarás na Gaeltachta has worked in the past with Uisce Éireann in providing Údarás wastewater facilities that were subsequently upgraded by UÉ for use as municipal wastewater treatment systems,” it said.

Kevin O’Hara, a Sinn Féin rep in Conamara, said a needs’ assessment carried out in the 2000s identified 2012 as the completion date for the facility; ten years on there’s no start date and no site let alone a finish date.

“I’m concerned with some of the narrative around it because there is a push there to put it into Ros a’ Mhíl, and possibly link it with the deep-water port development there. But there’s no guarantee that development will happen. It’s been announced in fanfare but . . . Whereas the sewage treatment plant is legally required. We are in breach of EU law by not having it.

“If we haven’t started to incur fines already, we will soon incur fines because they promised the EU they’d get this done for quite a while now,” Mr O’Hara said.

He said that the lack of WWTP was causing problems for locals trying to get planning permissions, because new homes rely on septic tanks, which can provide a planning hurdle.

“There’s no leadership from Irish Water; it is their responsibility; it is their problem. I don’t think as an organisation they are functioning well or making progress in Conamara,” he said.

Irish Water reiterated the need for WWTP.

“The proposed project will stop the discharge of the equivalent of 1,300 wheelie bins of untreated wastewater being discharged directly into Casla Bay each day. The existing wastewater network was constructed in the 1950’s and upgraded in 2007.

“Wastewater from the village is collected in the public sewer system and is discharged to the sea outfall to Casla Bay at Sruthán Pier. There is currently no treatment of the wastewater prior to discharge to Casla Bay,” it said.

(Photo: Mikey Darby)

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest

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Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway minors continue to lay waste to all opponents

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Galway's Aaron Niland is chased by Cillian O'Callaghan of Cork during Saturday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Stephen Marken/Sportsfile.

Galway 3-18

Cork 1-10

NEW setting; new opposition; new challenge. It made no difference to the Galway minor hurlers as they chalked up a remarkable sixth consecutive double digits championship victory at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

The final scoreline in Thurles may have been a little harsh on Cork, but there was no doubting Galway’s overall superiority in setting up only a second-ever All-Ireland showdown against Clare at the same venue on Sunday week.

Having claimed an historic Leinster title the previous weekend, Galway took a while to get going against the Rebels and also endured their first period in a match in which they were heavily outscored, but still the boys in maroon roll on.

Beating a decent Cork outfit by 14 points sums up how formidable Galway are. No team has managed to lay a glove on them so far, and though Clare might ask them questions other challengers haven’t, they are going to have to find significant improvement on their semi-final win over 14-man Kilkenny to pull off a final upset.

Galway just aren’t winning their matches; they are overpowering the teams which have stood in their way. Their level of consistency is admirable for young players starting off on the inter-county journey, while the team’s temperament appears to be bombproof, no matter what is thrown at them.

Having romped through Leinster, Galway should have been a bit rattled by being only level (0-4 each) after 20 minutes and being a little fortunate not to have been behind; or when Cork stormed out of the blocks at the start of the second half by hitting 1-4 to just a solitary point in reply, but there was never any trace of panic in their ranks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Gardaí and IFA issue a joint appeal on summer road safety

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Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche

GARDAÍ and the IFA have issued a joint appeal to all road users to take extra care as the silage season gets under way across the country.

Silage harvesting started in many parts of Galway last week – and over the coming month, the sight of tractors and trailers on rural roads will be getting far more frequent.

Inspector Conor Madden, who is in charge of Galway Roads Policing, told the Farming Tribune that a bit of extra care and common-sense from all road users would go a long way towards preventing serious collisions on roads this summer.

“One thing I would ask farmers and contractors to consider is to try and get more experienced drivers working for them.

“Tractors have got faster and bigger – and they are also towing heavy loads of silage – so care and experience are a great help in terms of accident prevention,” Inspector Madden told the Farming Tribune.

He said that tractor drivers should always be aware of traffic building up behind them and to pull in and let these vehicles pass, where it was safe to do so.

“By the same token, other road users should always exercise extra care; drive that bit slower; and ‘pull in’ that bit more, when meeting tractors and heavy machinery.

“We all want to see everyone enjoying a safe summer on our roads – that extra bit of care, and consideration for other roads users can make a huge difference,” said Conor Madden.

He also advised motorists and tractor drivers to be acutely aware of pedestrians and cyclists on the roads during the summer season when more people would be out walking and cycling on the roads.

The IFA has also joined in on the road safety appeal with Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche asking all road users to exercise that extra bit of care and caution.

“We are renewing our annual appeal for motorists to be on the look out for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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