What happened in Wicklow this week: Weekly news roundup 03/11/19

Top stories from the week ending 03/11/2019.

Dog dies after being stolen from garden in Baltinglass

A family are appealing for information after their pet died after being stolen on Monday evening.

The dog was taken from a garden in Weaver’s Square in the centre of the town between 9 and 10pm on Monday night.

It was later found dumped opposite O’Reilly’s garage only yards from where it had been taken.

The pet sustained injuries consistent with a beating and had its tail ripped off.

The dog was taken to the vet but died from the injuries.

A reward has been offered for any information that can identify those responsible.

If you were in the area on Monday evening and may have noticed anything suspicious call 085-1466456 after 6pm or the Gardai in Baltinglass at 059-6482610.

Paraglider suffered heart attack during flight in Wicklow Mountains

Father of three Rafal ‘Ralph’ Skóra, who died when paragliding in the Wicklow Mountains in May, suffered a heart attack, an air accident report has found.

Mr Skóra, a Polish national who had been living in Artane North Dublin, died when he disappeared when flying over the Wicklow Mountains.

A post mortem examination carried out as part of the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) report found that he died from a heart attack.

The report states – ” The cause of death was acute myocardial infarction, due to, or as a consequence of occlusive coronary artery thrombosis with atheroma”.

Mr Skóra did not suffer any fractures in the crash and toxicology tests showed he did not have any alcohol nor drugs in his system.

He launched his paraglider from Sorrell Hill at 11:33am on the day of his disappearance, with the intention of going on a cross county flight to Wexford Town.

Mr Skora was reported missing to Gardaí later that evening when he did not answer a number of phone calls from his wife and his friend he had been paragliding with.

He was found at Ballinacor Mountain the next morning by members of the Dublin-Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and was pronounced dead later that morning.

Pearse Cafferky, chairperson of the Irish Hand Gliding and Paragliding Association (IHPA) said – “This report will hopefully help to bring some closure for Ralph’s family and friends and the wider free flying community.

“It also preserves Ralph’s reputation as an excellent pilot and that his tragic death was not the result of any decisions or actions taken in the course of his flight. It was an unforeseen tragic event that could have happened at any time,” said Cafferky.

Ralph’s wife Dominika has asked for husband to be remembered as the good person and pilot we all knew and take comfort in the knowledge that he passed away high in the clouds doing what he loved, flying free.

West Wicklow children year-long wait for psychology appointments

Social Democrats Candidate for Wicklow, Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore expressed serious concern at the figures released to her party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD by the HSE, which show that 90 children under the age of 18 are waiting for more than a year for psychology appointments in the West Wicklow/Kildare HSE area.

“It is shocking to see the high numbers of children that are being left sitting for over a year on a waiting list for a psychology appointment in the West Wicklow / Kildare area. This region has one of the highest numbers on waiting lists for that age group in the country when you exclude city regions.

“When you compare those times with waiting times across the remainder of County Wicklow, where no children under the age of 18 are waiting longer than a year, it shows that access to very basic healthcare is a postcode lottery.  The fact that 90 children in West Wicklow and Kildare are waiting over a year for an appointment isn’t acceptable for our public health service and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

“These figures show yet again the inability of the HSE to deploy resources where they are most needed. Why do some children, and their families, have to go without support because of where they live?

“Aside from the misery that children on these lists face, the longer they have to wait for treatment, the more complex and costly interventions will be when they are reached. Investing now makes sense from both a compassionate and practical perspective.”

Donnelly Welcomes Planning Approval for First Phase of Dell Site Development

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála to approve the first phase of a new development for the old Dell site in Bray.

Deputy Donnelly explained, “This site has been lying idle since 2006 when Dell relocated to Cherrywood with the loss of around 1,000 local jobs. It’s not only been a waste of perfectly good land, but the empty space has also been an eyesore for the community.

“I’m very happy that a slightly altered version of the new design has been accepted by the planning authority. The latest plans will see a mix of residential and commercial properties erected. Part will be designated for a nursing home and part will be used as an office block. The changes involved the height of the buildings.  Some locals had been worried that the planned 4 storeys would overlook their homes and restrict their views of Bray Head. Amendments were submitted to An Bord Pleanála and the new design will now stretch to only 3 storeys in the north and east of the site. These changes will hopefully alleviate the concerns of nearby residents and will allow the developers move a step closer to breaking ground.

“In my role as Health Spokesperson I can personally say I’m very relieved to see a brand-new nursing home coming into the area. My party has recently exposed serious delays in the project to upgrade existing nursing homes to acceptable standards. In Fact, almost one third of projects announced in 2016 have missed their completion date. It is absolutely essential we provide high quality accommodation for people at every stage in their life.  We know many prefer to remain in their own home, but when that isn’t an option we absolutely have to provide top notch alternatives. We already have many fine nursing homes in Wicklow, hopefully this new nursing home will be prove to be a great addition”, concluded Donnelly.

Katie Taylor claims WBO super-lightweight title

Katie Taylor has added the WBO super lightweight belt to her WBA, WBO, IBF, WBC and The Ring lightweight belts after beating Christina Linardatou in Manchester on Saturday night.

The Wicklow native won by a unanimous points decision.

Wicklow lakes and rivers among those littered according to DCU study

Wicklow rivers and lakes failed to be classified as clean as over one third of Irish rivers and lakes were deemed to be littered, according to Dublin City University’s initial WaterBlitz study.

Despite its natural beauty, Glendalough Upper Lake was deemed to be among the one third of 373 Irish waterways surveyed that were found to be littered.

Other key facts and findings from the preliminary study include;

  • 18% of rivers tested had high levels of nutrient nitrates
  • High levels of surface algae observed 
  • Dublin had the lowest levels of pollutants of the four European area surveyed (Paris, London, Luxembourg)
  • 373 water samples taken over 4 days
  • 30 catchment areas tested
  • Among the most sampled water bodies were the Dodder river with 79 sample points, the Liffey with 67 points, and the Tolka with 24.

Project Lead Dr Susan Hegarty commented – “We were delighted that there was such a huge response to our first WaterBlitz and we want to thank all of our citizen scientists for getting involved. 

“We’ve seen in the last week how fragile our water ecosystem is, with over 600,000 people in Dublin, Meath and Kildare having to boil their water due to a plant malfunction, while others around Knock airport have a boil water notice due to the bacteria cryptosporidium being found in the public water supply – indicating the supply is contaminated with animal or human waste. 

“We’ve seen from the preliminary results of the WaterBlitz, in addition to pollutants such is nutrient nitrates and phosphates, litter is a big problem in our water bodies, with over one third of locations surveyed littered.  Plastic in particular is incredibly problematic, as it breaks down into microplastics that enter the food chain.

“We hope that we will be able to build year on year on the work carried out in the WaterBlitz to establish a more complete picture of the health of Ireland’s water bodies and how they are faring over time.” concluded Hegarty.

A second, more in-depth and comprehensive report on the data obtained through the WaterBlitz will be released in mid-December.

€250,173 for improvements to Wicklow towns and villages

Some €250,173 has been allocated for improvements to 5 towns and villages around Wicklow, a Fine Gael Minister has said.

Minister Doyle said: “This funding is extremely welcome news for Wicklow, especially residents of Dunlavin, Coolkenno, Aughrim, Redcross and Delgany.

“I am delighted to confirm Dunlavin will create a walking trail along the historical route within the village and local area, Coolkenno will install lighting and handrails in the community field, Aughrim will develop and upgrade age friendly amenities, Redcross will enhance its streetscape and Delgany will develop a greenway feasibility study and a public realm urban design plan.

“These excellent initiatives are will ensure our smaller towns and villages are more attractive and sustainable places in which to live and work.

“The funding, allocated under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, is a key part of the Action Plan for Rural Development and the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Programme for Rural Regeneration.

“The benefit of previous funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme is now being felt countrywide and I am delighted today that even more areas in Wicklow will benefit from the funding.

“Almost €68 million has now been approved for more than 830 projects across the country under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme since it was introduced in the second half of 2016, with more than 600 of these approved since the Action Plan for Rural Development was launched in January 2017.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said:“Interest in the Town and Village Renewal Scheme this year was very high and the scheme was heavily over-subscribed.  It was not possible to fund all the applications received, but I am pleased that many of the towns and villages which have been successful this year are receiving funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for the first time. 

“I want to thank the Local Authorities for engaging with local communities in these instances to help them to identify good projects which have merited support.

“The Government’s commitment to supporting rural Ireland is further underscored through the €1 billion Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which complements the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and provides an opportunity to deliver more integrated and ambitious projects which will further support the revitalisation of our rural towns and villages.”

Dunlavin: Creation of a walking trail along the historical route within the village of Dunlavin €20,977.44

Coolkenno; The installation of new lighting and hand rails in the community field € 24,000

Aughrim; Development and upgrade of the age friendly amenities € 95,600

Redcross: Enhancement of streetscape of village €80,000

Delgany: Development of a Greenway feasibility study and public realm urban design plan € 29,600.

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