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Clare man charged with rape in Galway

A 20-year-old County Clare man has been charged with the rape of a woman in a Galway city apartment last year. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Galway District Court on Monday where he  denied two counts of raping the woman on the night of July 23-24, last year, contrary to Section 4 and Section 21 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act, 1990. Garda Conor Barrett gave evidence of going to the man’s home earlier that morning and arresting him. He took him to Galway Garda Station and charged him there. He said the man replied “not guilty” to both charges. Garda Barrett said he had no objection to bail provided conditions were attached. Judge Aeneas McCarthy remanded the man on his own bail of €1,000 with no lodgement required, to appear before the court again on March 11 for service of a Book of Evidence. Bail was granted on condition he surrender his passport …

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Families call for extended maternity review

Pressure is growing on Health Minister, Leo Varadkar to extend the timescale and scope of a review of maternity services in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, after claims that the number of babies who died or have been deprived of oxygen is more than double the official figures. Many women from the East Clare area avail of maternity services at Portiuncula. The Saolta Group, which runs Portiuncula Hospital, has sanctioned a review into maternity services at the hospital, after the deaths of two babies and oxygen deprivation for five more. This review covers the nine-month period from February to November of last year. However, Warren and Lorraine Reilly, Loughrea, who lost two babies in Portiuncula Hospital within two years, have requested Minister Varadkar to extend the terms of the proposed inquiry from 2008 to 2014. The couple lost babies Asha and Amber, in 2008 and 2010 respectively, in the hospital. Asha was stillborn, while Amber had to be rushed to Holles Street …

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Hen harrier concerns for hill farmers

Following a series of public rallies in the West of Ireland, a new national farming organisation, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has been officially established. Since the draft Rural Development Programme was sent to the European Commission on July 3, 2014 by the Departments of Agriculture and broadly endorsed by the farming organisations, a passionate group of hill farmers and those farming designated lands, including farmers with hen harrier sites, have sustained a campaign to make changes to the RDP. The reasons for this was that commonage farmers could access the GLAS scheme as individuals and where Natura lands have been devalued  by designation, that measures would be added to help keep those farms viable. Massive rallies were held in Westport (1,700 farmers), Letterkenny ( 900 farmers), Maam Cross (1,000 farmers) to highlight the unfairness of the proposals in the draft and culminating in a march for fairness by 2,500 farmers in Castlebar.  

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

Kinvara sewerage contracts imminent

Contracts for the long-awaited sewerage scheme in Kinvara are due to be signed by the end of April, it was confirmed this week. Local Fine Gael TD, Ciarán Cannon said he is in regular contact with Irish Water CEO, John Tierney, in relation to the project. This week, Mr Tierney confirmed that tender process for the contract is eight weeks, with submissions due on March 27. Contracts for the plant, which local people have sought for decades, are due to be signed at the end of April. Deputy Cannon said he is delighted that work on the €5.2 million project could begin this year. “I receive regular updates from Irish Water on this particular project and I’m pleased that Irish Water has confirmed to me this week that all is progressing well and that it is their intention to award the construction contract before the end of April. “It has taken a long time to reach this point and it …

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Garda alert: Ardrahan accident investigation

Updated: January 28, 2015. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a 47-year-old man died following a traffic accident in Labane. The incident took place at Cregclare, in the vicinity of the Little Flower Nursing Home, at approximately 4.30pm on Monday. A male pedestrian was injured when he was hit by a truck. He was removed to University College Hospital, Galway, where he died on Wednesday. Gardaí would like to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of the nursing home around that time. Witnesses are asked to contact Gort gardaí on 091 636400 or any garda station or phone the garda confidential number, 1800 666111.  

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Two babies die in Galway hospital

An independent review of maternity services is underway at a Galway maternity hospital following the death of two babies as a result of oxygen deprivation during delivery. An internal review of maternity care at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe also found another five babies had evidence of hypoxia during delivery. In line with the requirement of the HSE “Open Disclosure” policy, the seven affected families are being contacted by the hospital and appointments made where requested for consultations with medical staff and support services. According to a statement issued by the Saolta University Health Care Group on behalf of the hospital, there have been no other negative perinatal outcomes since the enhanced monitoring measures were put in place. The group stated the hospital has put in place enhanced care processes and monitoring of women in labour at its maternity unit to address quality of care issues that arose during the period between February and November 2014. On December 4th, the Saolta Group …

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Multi-vehicle crash on motorway

UPDATE:15:00 A multi-vehicle car accident on the south-bound lane of the M18 motorway, on the Ennis side of Crusheen early today (Tuesday) resulted in the road being closed for over an hour. The crash occurred at approximately 7.30am and resulted in major diversions while the scene was being cleared and gardaí investigated. No one was seriously injured in the crash. Drivers heading from Ennis to Galway were initially asked to divert at the Tulla road junction, while, those travelling from Galway to Ennis as asked to divert at Gort through Tubber. However the route has since reopened. This morning’s crash is understood to have involved cars stopping to help a motorist who had skidded before a further vehicle skidded in the slippery conditions. Gardaí have issued an appeal to all road users to exercise particular care as the cold weather is set to continue over the coming days. “We would remind all motorists to drive as the conditions determine. We …

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January show for Jigsaw

South Galway starlets are being urged to take part in Kilbeacanty Talent on Show, a fundraiser to be held in the village for Jigsaw Galway. Young people from all over the South of the County are invited to enter the show which will take place in McCarthy’s Bar in Kilbeacanty on January 9 at 8pm. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential support service for young people’s mental health and well-being, aged 15 to 25 in Galway City and county. The organisation also works with communities across the county to help them support young people’s mental and well-being. Jigsaw Galway was selected as the beneficiary of the event because it is currently setting up an outreach programme to better support people in Gort and South Galway. The Kilbeacanty Talent Show format will have each act performing for a maximum of 15 minutes. Once all the acts have performed the audience will vote for their top three who will perform again before …

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