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Connacht Tribune

Island left in limbo over failure to finish harbour

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The failure of Galway County Council to pursue the completion of the harbour and maintain what work had been carried out at a cost of €14m to taxpayers was strangling the economy of Inis Meáin.

Tarlach de Blácam said it was seven years since the Department of the Gaeltacht paid Galway County Council €100,000 towards the planning of the third phase of An Caladh Mór and nine years since the first and second stages were completed.

Tarlach, who along with his wife, Áine Ní Chonghaile, founded the Inis Meáin Knitting Company, said the lack of a proper working harbour on the island meant that islanders could not receive or despatch cargo by boat during the worst of the winter.

It also endangered lives as emergency personnel who had to carry stretched patients on the moss-covered steps on the current pier found it “absolutely treacherous”.

The pier was built at a cost of €14m to improve access to the Aran island for its 200 residents and seasonal tourists.

Work on Cé an Chalaidh Mhóir included dredging, the construction of a pier and breakwater and parking facilities, by far the largest part of the project.

Galway County Council had maintained that the final phase had been stalled because it had not received payment of €6.9 million for the work.

When that was handed over by the Department, the Council said it needed to get approval to seek planning for its completion.

Tarlach said the Council had now received a clear instruction since early summer from Roinn na Gaeltachta to move to the next stage, but still there has been no progress to date.

“Roinn Na Gaeltachta gave the go-ahead to Galway County Council to employ somebody to go ahead with the job but they haven’t made any appointment. It seems they have given priority to Inis Oírr and while we understand that their situation is equally urgent we don’t understand why they can’t progress the two together,” he told the Connacht Tribune.

“We feel badly neglected, which is quite evident the way they have failed to maintain the pier – missing lifebelts were never replaced, public water stands left in complete disrepair, the stairway, used for loading and offloading small boats including the lifeboat in emergencies, is extremely dangerous because of the build-up of moss on the steps.”

He understood that the final stage would cost in the region of €3m. Plans had already been drawn up for the project.

During bad weather cargo boats cannot land at the pier so the island can be cut off from all supplies. Last year this happened for ten days.

“I fought like crazy to maintain our air service when they changed it to a helicopter. They gave in eventually. But we need a pier to facilitate a reliable boat service all year round. My business which employs 20 people depends on accessibility as I export all over the world.”

The acting chief executive of Galway County Council Kevin Kelly confirmed to Galway County Councillors recently the Department had “indicated the advancement of works at both Inis Oírr and Inis Meáin”.

“They have approved funding for a resource to work on these projects and to avoid delay one of our existing staff was assigned to progress the work in advance of any more permanent arrangement.

“Attention has centred on Inis Oirr to date including meetings with the Department to discuss and agree the approach and issues arising.”

Tarlach is urging councillors to meet with the island committee to help them in their quest to see the project out.

The former Director of Services for Roads and Transportation, Marine and General Services, the late Liam Gavin, previously told councillors said €250,000-€300,000 would be needed to bring the planning forward – rather than the €100,000 sanctioned.

He also believed it could cost between €5 and €6m to complete the final phase.

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.

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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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