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Lack of action on Emergency Department upgrade ‘shocking and unacceptable’

Cllr James Charity has described this week’s revelation in the Seanad that there has yet been no date set to lodge a planning application to upgrade the Emergency Department in GUH on a permanent basis as shocking and unacceptable.

The Department revealed that the project is still proceeding through the “public spending code” and there is no date yet set for a planning application to be lodged for the main building, with just a temporary extension being facilitated in the interim.

Cllr Charity said the Government need to get their act together and stated “In 2016, ahead of the then General Election, the Irish Times quoted the Taoiseach, in referring to the ED at GUH, as stating “It has to be the worst accident and emergency department in the country at this stage, and I got the sense when I met management that everyone was at the end of their tether.”

“Five years later, and under his leadership, it now appears they don’t even have a date set for a planning application for a new permanent and upgraded ED, which is simply unacceptable and which continues to treat Galway residents with contempt and indifference, not to mention the staff who have to work in the ED.

“The lack of urgency on this project is compromising the health and safety of those who find themselvesin the unfortunate position of having to utilise the Emergency Department and a clear commitment from Government is urgently needed to provide the resources to get this project started immediately,” concluded Cllr Charity.

Canney welcomes progress on installation of Athenry footbridge

Independent TD Sean Canney has received confirmation from Galway County Council that they have issued tender documents to contractors for the construction of a footbridge to provide pedestrian access to Clarin College Athenry.

He confirmed that the footbridge was planned and part of the planning application for Clarin College. However, the Department of Education did not include the works in the original contract. The tenders are due back on the 28th July and once evaluated the preferred contractor will be appointed.

It is estimated that the works will be complete within eight weeks after the contract is signed.

“I welcome this progress on a project that will provide direct safe pedestrian access for pupils attending Clarin NS,” said Deputy Canney.

“It is important that no further delays are encountered and that this project is delivered as quickly as possible”.

He said that he has been working on this project with Cllr. Gabe Cronnelly, his Independent Councillor colleague from Athenry. He also commended Galway County Council who have taken on the project at the request of the Department of Education.

More than 9,000 Galwegians on waiting list for theory and driving tests

More than 9,000 people across Galway city and county are still waiting for their theory and driving tests, according to new figures from the Road Safety Authority.

The figures, which were released to Sinn Féin transport spokesperson, Dep Darren O’Rourke, reveal a total of 9,413 people in Galway are still waiting for their theory and driving tests. Of these, 5,271 Galwegians are waiting for a driving test, while 4,142 are on the theory test waiting list.

Galway East Sinn Féin’s Louis O’Hara has criticised the lack of action to deal with spiralling waiting lists for theory and driving tests.

“Last year Sinn Féin warned Minister Eamon Ryan his lack of preparation and planning for driving tests was going to cause chaos during 2021,” he said. “We called for additional testers to be hired to help address the growing backlog, but it took months for the Minister to grant approval for the 80 extra testers the RSA themselves requested. They are still not in place.”

Mr O’Hara said the situation was “not good enough”, especially as young people were “predominantly affected” by these delays.

“The delays are impacting their employment opportunities and will become a major problem for many as they return to college in September,” he said. “Universities were able to immediately switch to online exams during the pandemic, but no action was taken by Minister Ryan on this front.”

Mr O’Hara is calling for an immediate increase in testing and theory testing capacity, including the fast-track recruitment of staff, longer opening hours, and the establishment of pop-up centres

Art inspired by the landscape and history of Oughterard

Cuimhní, an exhibition of paintings and prints by artists Leah Beggs and Kathleen Furey, opens tomorrow at the Courthouse, Oughterard.

The exhibition title is the Irish word for memory, and the works that will be displayed by Beggs and Furey - who are both based in Oughterard, are a response to the area’s archaeology and history, combined with their own imaginings and personal experiences of their locality.

The exhibition was due to take place last year as part of the Galway 2020 Small Towns Big Ideas Project, Set in Stone, which invited local artists and groups to respond to research by archaeologist Bill Daly and replica material created by Brendan Hodgers.

Cuimhní runs until July 25. It can be accessed via See also and


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