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Connacht Tribune

Tuam mental health facility gets the green light

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The green light has been granted for a multi-million euro mental health facility in Tuam – despite concerns that the development would interfere with the integrity of a burial ground on the old Grove Hospital site.

Fears have been expressed that the part demolition of the old Bon Secours Hospital in Tuam and the provision of a mental health unit could have a negative impact on the unofficial burial of babies in unconsecrated graves.

Planning permission for the conversion of the old Grove Hospital into a state-of-the-art mental health facility was granted by Galway County Council earlier this year but this became the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala by an Oranmore woman who believes her infant brother is buried there.

But the Planning Appeals Board rejected the appeal and granted permission for the development subject to seven conditions being complied with.

One of the conditions stated that the appointment of a conservation expert be appointed. They will manage the removal of stained glass windows from the building to ensure the integrity and protection of the historic fabric of the building.

There was no mention of the protection of any children’s burial ground in the decision to grant planning for the mental health unit on the site of the old Grove Hospital.

However, the Health Service Executive were asked to facilitate the preservation, protection and recording of archaeological materials or features that may exist within the site.

The decision has been welcomed by Galway East TD Sean Canney who said that it paves the way for the proposed mental day hospital and disability facility to proceed.

“This project follows on from the completion of the Tuam ambulance base which is now fully staffed. Also the new €10 million Primary Care Centre is reaching completion and will be opened later this year.

“Progress is also being made on the new Community Nursing Home and I expect that the design stage for this project will progress rapidly,” Deputy Canney added.

The planning appeal was lodged by woman living in Oranmore who says that her infant brother may have been buried on the site of the old Grove Hospital in Tuam when it was under the control of the Bon Secours sisters. She took her case to An Bord Pleanala.

She stated that her brother may have been buried there in or around 1958 or 1959 and that there may be other infants buried there. In her submission, she also states that while the nuns’ remains were removed for reburial, the remains of the babies were ignored and left behind.

Over the past year, Tuam became the focus of national and international media attention following the revelations surrounding the Mother and Baby Home off the Athenry Road which was also operated by the Bon Secours sisters.

But planning permission was granted by Galway County Council to the Health Service Executive for the part demolition, refurbishment and remodelling of the Grove Hospital which closed more than 25 years ago.

This is to provide a mental health services facility, an early intervention and disability services facility and shared services for the HSE West.

It is proposed to carry out the works in two phases. The first phase will involve the part demolition of a two-storey extension that was constructed in the 1960s and the refurbishment of the ground floor and first floor of the existing hospital building.

The works will also involve the reconfiguration of the car park to the front of the building providing 20 spaces and the provision of a new car park to the rear of the hospital which will have 26 additional spaces.

The second phase will require some further demolition to the existing building and refurbishment works to the remaining sections of the first and second floors along with the old chapel, where the sittings of Tuam District Court are currently held. This facility will become unavailable to the Court Service at the end of June next.

However, it became the subject of a planning appeal from Noreen Meehan from Oranmore who said in her submission that her interest in the old Grove site arises from her belief that her infant brother may be buried there.

She says that she and her family are fearful that the area could be inadvertently interfered with or disturbed as a consequence of site development works.

“We want to ensure the current owners (the HSE) respect and protect the heritage of this burial ground into the future and we propose this plot of ground be designated and preserved as a memorial garden and landscaped without interfering with the remains of the babies buried there,” she said.

Ms Meehan has asked An Bord Pleanala that no further works or landscaping be carried out to this area pending a full detailed archaeological assessment is conducted by appropriately qualified independent consultants. She was not successful in her appeal.

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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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.

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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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