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Western line right on track

THE West on Track campaign has warmly welcomed Iarnród Éireann’s new range of developments on the Galway-Limerick section of the Western Rail Corridor. The group has also expressed satisfaction at the healthy passenger levels for its first year of operation,Over 250,000 journeys have been made across the Limerick-Galway route, including the Limerick-Ennis and Athenry-Galway commuter services, since it opened on March 30, 2010 and Iarnród Éireann has expressed confidence that service changes now in place will continue to attract more customers to the route.Following a successful trial period, the current online promotional fares of €10 each way on selected services between Limerick and Galway are to be extended until further notice. Iarnród Éireann has also said that new services introduced last month will give a boost to customers in the Galway area and along the Western Rail Corridor line from Galway to Limerick. New and changed services include a new Galway-Ennis evening commuter service departing Galway for Ennis at 6.30pm …

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Young programmers take top award

FIVE budding whizz kids are celebrating their innovative flair this week after scooping first prize in a major national computer programming competition.Jake Farrell, Leon Holmes, Nathan Crawford, Brendan Winters and Jack Faherty, who are all aged between 10 and 12, developed a new computer game that won first prize worth €500 in the national Scratch competition in Tallaght Institute of Technology last Saturday.Scratch teaches computer programming concepts to young people and is administered by LERO, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre.Gort Family and Community Resource Centre recently ran a computer programming course for young people, which was facilitated by volunteer Steve Holmes. The five boys, who are all from the Gort area, were never involved in computer programming before and designed and developed an award-winning game. Steve, who works as a computer programmer in Avaya, a Galway-based global leader in enterprise communications systems, software and services, got the idea for the project while watching his son, Leon, completing his homework …

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Gort’s French connection to the beautiful game

PROMISING young soccer players from South Galway will be given the opportunity of training with their contemporaries in an internationally renowned soccer academy in Brittany thanks to an international cultural exchange involving Gort Community School and a local secondary school.Last year, Gort Community School student, Joe Gaughan, who plays with Salthill Devon, trained with young soccer stars in En Avant de Guingamp, the school academy for the town’s professional soccer club.This is the club where Chelsea stars Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba and Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny honed their skills before they were transformed into household names as a result of their English Premiership exploits.Soccer fanatics in a 20-strong group of second-year pupils from Gort Community School were delighted to get the opportunity to visit the club last week as part of the school’s French Language and Cultural Exchange. This is one of the sporting benefits of the third annual exchange between Gort Community School and Lycee Notre Dame.However, Gort …

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Burrenbeo Trust scoops top heritage award

A SOUTH Galway charity scooped the overall award at this year’s County Heritage Awards held last week. Representatives of Kinvara-based Burrenbeo Trust were presented with the top award at the event.The Galway County Heritage Awards ceremony took place in the Claregalway Hotel on Thursday. The ceremony, which was postponed from December 2010 due to bad weather, was well attended by elected representatives, community groups, schools and individuals from all parts of the county.Speaking at the ceremony, Councillor Jimmy McClearn, Mayor of the County of Galway, said, “Our heritage belongs to each one of us and it is vital that it is valued and appreciated at a local level if we are to manage, preserve and protect it. It is clear from the number, quality and calibre of the nominations for a County Heritage Award that our built, natural and cultural heritage is valued at a local level.”Scoil Bhríghde Naofa, Northampton, Kinvara was the winner in the Loughrea Electoral Area for …

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Contract difficulties for Gort-Tuam bypass project

THE National Roads Authority has “had difficulty” concluding the Public Private Partnership contract for the Gort to Tuam bypass due to the country’s financial insecurity, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has stated.Minister Leo Varadkar was responding to questions posed by Labour TD Colm Keaveney.“The N17-N18 Gort to Tuam project is being tendered by the NRA as a public private partnership, (PPP) but due to concern in the capital markets regarding Ireland’s overall financial situation, the NRA has had difficulty concluding this PPP contract,” Minister Varadkar stated.Deputy Keaveney said he had met with the minister “regarding concerns at unhelpful commentary in the national media about the future viability of the Gort to Tuam bypass”.“The Gort to Tuam scheme is being tendered by the National Roads Authority as a PPP. As such, we are reliant on private sector funding for the construction and for its operation. The contract for this critical infrastructure should have been awarded in 2010 and the …

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