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South Galway

Extra psychiatric nurses hired after alleged assaults on staff

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has agreed to recruit an extra 14 psychiatric nurses, following 36 alleged assaults on staff working in the Galway Mental Health Service for the first four months of the year. Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) secretary, Des Kavanagh has confirmed that the number of psychiatric nurses working in the Galway Mental Health Service is to increase from 50 to 64. In an interview with The Clare Champion, Mr Kavanagh said he recently met senior HSE managers to discuss ways to address the huge number of alleged assaults that were taking place in the service. He said the union was very concerned about the chronic staff shortage and the reluctance of management to call in additional staff on overtime or to hire agency personnel. Stating that staffing levels were at “critical levels”, he said the High Observation Unit in the Department of Psychiatry at University Hospital Galway had to remain closed due to a lack of staff. …

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Sewerage extension following political pressure

FOUR extra housing estates will be included in the new €4.5 million Kinvara Sewerage Scheme after Irish Water approved a major extension following political pressure. The estates, not originally included in the initial plan, include Cuan na Oir, Bothar na Mias, Dunguaire Haven and Ard an Mhuillinn. The cost of these extensions is €485,895 in total, over and above the estimated €4.5 million, which will be needed to complete the public sewerage scheme. Work on the new sewerage scheme is scheduled to start in October. At an average €6,650 per existing property, it compares well with figures previously used by Department of the Environment as a basis for similar extensions. On this basis, it is expected that Irish Water will be able to proceed with inclusion of these estates, in tandem with the commissioning of the new treatment works in 2016. Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins has claimed the water utility decided to include the four estates in the new scheme …

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Farmers in a flap over ‘worthless’ land

Hundreds of farmers in North East Clare and South Galway are in a flap over the designation of land for the protection of the hen harrier, which has rendered an estimated 9,844 acres “worthless”. Feelings are running high among landowners in the Sliabh Aughty area, which has the dubious distinction of having the largest designation to safeguard this protected species under an EU directive. As a new farming group, Irish Farmers With Designated Land (IFDL) briefed deputies and members of the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee on the difficulties that landowners are experiencing due to this designation at a meeting in Dublin this week, local farmers said they are mounting an intensive campaign for change. Frustration and anger over the Government’s decision to suspend the previous compensation scheme in 2010 due to budgetary constraints, will be voiced at a public meeting in Ballinakill, County Galway on Tuesday next at 8.30pm. Farmers’ efforts to receive adequate compensation for the devaluation of their land …

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Higgins has sights on Labour Dáil seat

EAST Galway Labour Senator, Lorraine Higgins has been selected as the party’s candidate in the constituency for the 2016 General Election. Senator Higgins is the Seanad Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade and was nominated to the Seanad by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in 2011. She had run in the general election earlier that year but was narrowly beaten. Last year, she ran as the Labour candidate in the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European Parliament election. Speaking at the Labour Party convention in her home town of Athenry on Friday, Senator Higgins said she planned to win a seat in Dáil Éireann. “In regard to the question of whether or not I can win, the simple answer is yes. The perception that Galway East is not Labour heartland no longer applies. At the last election, we turned that thinking on its head, when the party received almost 8,000 first-preference votes, enough for me to take a seat next time …

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Kinvara breeder enjoys success at Balmoral

KINVARA beef shorthorn breeder, Tom Staunton, enjoyed tremendous success at the recent Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland. With his team of three animals he took the Beef Shorthorn Reserve Champion with his eye catching Carmba Rothes Hottie. It wasn’t Hottie’s debut, as she was awarded the All-Ireland Beef Shorthorn Heifer calf in Strokestown, CountyRoscommon last September. Tom’s bull, Bushypark Ultra took second prize in the senior bull class and his maiden heifer, Graigue Hilltop took second prize in her class also, at Balmoral. Tom was commended for the huge effort he puts into exhibiting his beef shorthorn cattle and putting Irish beef shorthorn genetics on the international stage.

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Lough Cutra stay for Royals

Lough Cutra Castle hosted the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on their recent official visit to Ireland. The couple attended a private dinner with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at the South Galway castle where they were staying on Tuesday night. The couple returned to the venue after their programme of engagements on Wednesday, before flying to the North from Shannon Airport on Thursday morning for the second leg of their four-day Ireland visit. President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina arrived at Lough Cutra Castle estate shortly after 8pm on Tuesday. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had arrived at the well-known South Galway estate earlier in the evening, after an exhausting schedule of events as part of the couple’s first official visit together to the Republic of Ireland. The President and Mrs Higgins were greeted by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla in the tiled hallway of the privately-owned castle in …

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Pupils well up to scratch

PRIMARY-school pupils from South Galway and North Clare were among the award winners at the National Scratch programming finals held in Dublin Castle recently. CreativeComputerLab in Gort; Coder Dojo, Kinvara and New Quay National School were each represented in the final 25, out of more than 800 entries from across the country. The national competition is run by the Irish Computer Society and Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, Lero. Scratch is a visual programming language and online community developed by MIT, where people can create their own interactive stories, games and animations. It encourages children to learn computer programming and share their projects online on the Scratch server. The Scratch finals are held in conjunction with TechWeekIRL, which is a week-long technology festival held in Dublin Castle. CoderDojo, Kinvara was a finalist in the after-school section in the junior infants to first class category. Ariel Gorman developed an animated storybook of Dr Seuss’ book, entitled Oh The Places You’ll Go, in …

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Taking a trail around Lough Derg

A new trail showcasing the rich natural heritage of Lough Derg will be officially unveiled next week. Lough Derg (on the Shannon) Nature Trail is produced by the county councils in Clare, Galway and Tipperary, and co-funded by The Heritage Council and Lakelands & Inland Waterways. The 130-kilometre trail takes visitors from Portumna in Galway down the western shore of the lake, to Killaloe in Clare, and back up on the eastern side to Terryglass in Tipperary. The stops along the route, which can be travelled in any direction, include walking routes, lakeshore access, great bird watching locations, woodland parks for adventuring, and quiet spots to enjoy the beautiful vistas of Ireland’s third largest lake. Among the 24 discovery points featured is the monastic site at Inis Cealtra, known as the “Jewel of the Lough’, as well as the ancient woodlands of Portumna Forest Park, Derrycrag Wood, Raheen Wood and Cominchas Forest, the sheltered bays and harbours at Rosmore, Mountshannon …

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Keane to continue

Open in one form or another for two centuries, Keane’s shop in Gort has survived booms, busts, the war of independence, the civil war, the world wars, the dawn of electricity, the online revolution, pay parking and everything in between. Now as owner Colman Keane looks to the future, he recalls a few tales from the past including one about WB Yeats, the shop’s best-known debtor – albeit, he says, that story may involve a “small amount of poetic license”. Of Down and Derry ancestry, the Keane family arrived in the town from Craughwell around 1812. “As Napoleon was retreating from Moscow, we were attacking Gort,” Colman laughs. “Our first establishment was on the Galway Road. We had a cinema there for the silent movies in the latter part of the 19th century. That building is still there, derelict practically, and we moved to Bridge Street a short time later to the site where we are now,” he outlines. Today …

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Kinvara's picturesque harbour area. Photograph by John Kelly.

Tourism buoyed by new ferry service

A NEW sea service bringing tourists from Galway City to the Burren will be launched this weekend. The company behind the initiative believes in the region of 4,000 tourists a year could be brought to North Clare and South Galway on the sailings, as planned, but that there is capacity to expand the service. MacMara, a newly-formed marine and coastal ecotourism company based in Kinvara, will launch the routes at the pier in the village on Saturday. The company will run daily crossings from Galway Port across the bay to Kinvara and Ballyvaughan on alternate days, as well as coastal trips plying the bay. The foundation for the tourist-orientated ferry was the feasibility study for the Ballyvaughan Bay Hop, a community-led sea commuter service from Ballyvaughan to Galway City. Gwen Ryan was the driving force behind that project and is now involved with MacMara. “We had very positive feedback from the Bay Hop. There was a lot of interest in it but that interest was mainly from leisure travellers and people …

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