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A new-found love of chess one way Connacht star is keeping busy




Ultan Dillane in action in the Sportsground against Leinster in 2018.

By Oisin Langan

Connacht and Ireland Rugby Player, Ultan Dillane, spoke this week on behalf of Rugby Players Ireland, urging people to stay safe and look after each another during this period of uncertainty. Dillane offered some insight into how he is staying active and what he is doing to bond with his housemates following the outbreak of the global pandemic, Covid-19.

Rugby Players Ireland has a number of resources in place for rugby players and the general public to support mental wellbeing including the Tackle Your Feelings App, supported by Zurich and funded by the Z Zurich Foundation and is free to download through the Apple and Google Play App stores.

OL: How are you finding the last couple of weeks?

UD: Yeah, it’s been different for sure, but yeah, the provinces have done the best they can to keep all the players with gym equipment, you know, and then try and facilitate us to train as normal.

Everyone is experiencing a big change in their lives, and we’ve been no different.

We’ve been given the gym, divided up between all the players and luckily enough we’ve enough equipment in the house to get some good training under our belts.

It’s been definitely different for sure, it has taken some getting used to but, at times, it’s been quite enjoyable.

OL: Is it a different challenge? And maybe even in some ways, a bigger challenge? Because you’re trying to change how you exercise and what you do and maybe your body isn’t used to that so that in itself is the challenge, that in itself is, although you didn’t choose it, is in itself, kind of, good for you?

UD: Definitely, because you can’t get the whole gym delivered to your house, you kind of have to make do with what you have, so, there’s a lot of exercise we’re being told to do that is really, really, hard and the body definitely doesn’t like it.

But it’s a nice challenge to try and better yourself and that’s something you otherwise wouldn’t be doing much of and yeah, I think we’ve all, the three of us here, we’ve all tried to target some goals and maybe try to achieve some personal bests by the time we get back to normality you know?


OL: There is three of you in the house – you’re living with Dominic Robertson McCoy and your brother. How important is that to have other competitive people around you because that will maybe help keep you sharp, keep that edge, that competitive people and professional athletes like to have?

UD: My brother has played rugby before and he would be quite competitive. It is good to have that, kind of, everyone trying to bring each other up to get some training done, because it’s very easy to fall into a hole of laziness at times.

You’ve so many hours in the day to do stuff in but yet, it’s so easy to do little and it’s nice to kind of have everyone trying to push each other on to maybe do some conditioning or an extra weight session because it’s not as if we are going playing any games so there’s plenty of time to recover from everything.

We also find that we are giving each other nutritional tips because it’s so easy to fall into that lull of just eating whatever you want because you’ve no one to kind look over you or to check you on anything.

It’s been good, we’ve been quite positive.

OL: It sounds like this is quite a good test of your professionalism because there is no one watching you and it would be very easy to slip into bad habits?

UD: Yeah, so there is a good buzz to try and get some good clean cooking going and we’ve all taken to it quite well to be fair.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Friction between businesses and local government over the reclaiming of public space to facilitate outside hospitality marred the beginning of the city’s ‘outdoor summer’.

Galway City Council has come under fire over its handling of plans by bars and restaurants to use street furniture to facilitate outdoor dining and drinking.

Most city watering holes and eateries resumed trading on Bank Holiday Monday – serving outdoors only – for the first time since Christmas, and the authorities reported that it was successful for the most part, although it needed time to ‘bed in’.

The city vintners’ group said its members with adequate outdoor space were happy to be back and described the mood as ‘euphoric’ in places.

But several outlets expressed disappointment with the Council.

In Eyre Square, the Skeff Late Bar and Kitchen claimed it had to cancel 200 advance bookings – up to 800 people – for this week, after the Council refused permission for “extended outdoor seating”.

On Middle Street, Sangria Tapas Restaurant lashed the Council for refusing it permission to use certain types of awning and windbreakers to facilitate outdoor dining. “Surely the powers that be can take time to support the industry that supports the city?” its proprietor said in a complaint to City Hall.

‘Back the West’, businesses criticised the Council for rowing back on promises to provide additional outdoor space on Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper, in time for outdoor hospitality’s reopening on June 7.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Council chief: ‘landlords see 4% rent increase cap as a target’

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said that the 4% annual cap on residential rent increases is now seen as a target by many landlords.

Brendan McGrath said that affordability continues to be a major problem for renters in the city and that an increasing number of people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme have to pay ‘top ups’ to their landlords.

The HAP scheme replaces rent supplement for those with a long-term housing need – the individual finds a private rented accommodation within specific rent caps and the Council pays the landlord directly. The tenant then pays a rent to the Council based on their weekly household income.

The maximum monthly rents under the scheme range from €330 for an adult in shared accommodation to €900 for a single parent or couple with three kids.

Based on their household size, tenants can also apply for a 20% extra ‘discretionary’ payment on top of their HAP payment.

However, Mr McGrath said many on the HAP scheme in Galway have to pay top ups to their landlords.

“Rents as a percentage of income is increasing and affordability remains a major problem for the city’s renters. The majority of HAP tenants require additional discretionary payments to assist them in maintaining their tenancies, particularly single person households.

“An increasing number of HAP tenants now have to pay top ups to their landlords even with the 20% extra HAP discretionary payment applied for their particular household size,” Mr McGrath said in a report to councillors.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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