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A time to put people first as we battle the winter storms

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of those golden nugget of country wisdom back the years concerning weather, climate and the building of houses was to ‘ask someone’s grandfather’ [or grandmother] if they were unsure about the vulnerability of a particular area to flooding.

The logic behind that approach was that, if an area flooded back the years, then it would do so again. It really would only be a matter of time as floods and flood plains are cyclical by nature. Unless specific remedial actions have been taken, the floods will once again return to where they always have been – it’s just a matter of when.

Last weekend, Storm Desmond left a fair trail of problems in its wake. The two aspects of Desmond that caused real bother were the amount of rainfall it deposited and the length of time that it took to cross over Ireland – from early on Friday evening to the early hours of Sunday, a span of roughly a day and a half.

The rain bearing ‘tail’ of Desmond essentially got stuck over Ireland, and in particular the western half of the country, its way ahead essentially being blocked by high pressure that had sat in over continental Europe. The end result of that instead of the storm flying over in the space of five or six hours, it just got trapped over Ireland and delivered it’s full payload down on top of us.

As with all times of stress and worry with floods, the call for different actions to be taken will be made and listened to, but probably not acted upon. When the fine weather comes back and the land dries up, then the whole sense of purpose for doing something about floods completely loses its head of steam and there’s not a word about it again until the next deluge.

The time to plan ahead for floods is when the fields are green and dry; when the channels and drains can be cleaned and unblocked without leaving a mark on the ground; when the narrow bridges can be widened to take peak water flow and most importantly when the lives and welfare of humans, takes precedence over more aesthetic values.

For every flood relief scheme that’s proposed – and many (admittedly not all) of them are actually simple enough to plan – there will be at least 10 obstacles put in the way. Maybe it’ll be the fish, maybe the birds and the bees, maybe a snail or two, but one thing can be guaranteed: before one machine moves in to clear off a rotten tree in the river, it will be hard earned.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Shinners plan to gobble up Cheesy Cheevers’ support

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Cllr Alan Cheevers: All smiles in 2019 after he won a seat for Fianna Fáil in the City’s East Ward. But Sinn Féin are snapping at his heels as they plan to regain the seat they lost in that ward that year.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Sinn Féin is targeting gains on Galway City Council at the next Local Election – and plans to take out sitting Councillor Alan Cheevers.

The Shinners are still reeling from the last Locals when three of their elected members lost seats.

And while losses for Cathal Ó Conchúir in City West and Mark Lohan in City Central weren’t unexpected, the unseating of ‘golden girl’ Mairéad Farrell in City East sent shockwaves through the organisation.

Of course it was the best thing that happened to Mairéad. She pretty much immediately bounced back and caused a shock in Galway West by taking a Dáil seat in the 2020 General Election. That revival took even Mairéad by surprise.

But the loss of a seat in City East still rankles. And SF sources said they are determined to regain it – and possibly add a second seat – when voters go to the polls again in the Locals in two-and-a-half years.

Social Democrats newcomer Owen Hanley, who caused a stir by taking a seat in this ward at the first time of asking in 2019, is an obvious target for the Shinners.

Firstly, though, they’ve set their sights on taking out Fianna Fáil’s Alan Cheevers. He cultivated much of his support among African and East European immigrant communities in Doughiska, who had felt abandoned or ignored by the Establishment and political system.

Sinn Féin is said to have approached a number of potential candidates of African heritage who are based in Renmore and Doughiska, with a view to one of them becoming the first person of colour to be elected to City Hall.

That’s good news for diversity and democracy, but not necessarily happy days for Cheesy Cheevers, whose strong support among immigrant communities could migrate to any would-be Shinner candidate with first-hand experience of what immigrant communities want from their politicians.

Cheevers, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, told us he was unperturbed by the threat from a resurgent Sinn Féin and he remains focused on working hard, serving his constituents on the ground.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Worst part of Covid is the cover-up of smiles

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was John Prine who famously sung about his illegal smile – although in his case, it was a reference into happiness that might have been helped on its way with a contribution from artificial stimulants.

These days smiling isn’t illegal of course, but because, for the most part, you have to do it behind a face covering, it makes it kind of tricky – and difficult to spot.

That’s not entirely true obviously, because we are allowed to walk the streets with faces uncovered even if quite a number opt to leave their mask on.

But while we’re not going to pick of fight with the anti-maskers any more than we would be the anti-vaxxers – or people who shout and shake their fists at the wind generally (or Novak Djokovic or even his mother) – we can lament the lack of visible facial expression that’s the consequence of a cover-up.

It’s ironic of course as well to mention John Prine and Covid in the one piece, because it was Covid that robbed the music world of his unique talent. And that should be another good reason to protect ourselves from suffering the same fate.

It’s only some days that you’d miss seeing a smile, because we know that the mask can help save lives – but how sad it is that such a casual and fleeting greeting has to be hidden.

The one thing is that you can at least still tell genuine smilers from forced ones – because their eyes light up; they still twinkle over their mask.

The fake smilers only ever moved their lips; their smiles never made it past the nose – more of a grimace than a greeting.

So now all of that happens unbeknownst to the rest of the world – and we’re none the wiser because it doesn’t rise to embrace their entire face.

Mask wearing has been a drag for almost everyone – except curmudgeons and publicity-shy For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

National Archives offer revealing window into Ireland’s recent past

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Uneasy alliance...Charlie Haughey and Margaret Thatcher on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I’ve been covering the political so long time now that I’m the one they send down every year to look at the records being released by the National Archives. It used to be that confidential Government documents were kept for 30 years under lock and key before they were released. Thus the material that would have been opened before Christmas would have been the records from 1991 –  the last year of Charlie Haughey’s era as Taoiseach.

But about seven years ago, the British changed the rules on their releases and gradually brought the confidential period down, year-by-year, from 30 down to 20. They are now at about 22 years.

This left the Irish State in a bit of pickle. If we kept our rule we would have been badly out of sync with the British.

What did that matter? Well, the main event as far as it concerns the Archives is the Anglo-Irish stuff. That’s all the meetings abut Northern Ireland between the Taoiseach of the day and the British prime minister – and all the stuff generated between other senior politicians and officials.

So over the past few years from the Irish archives, we have been learning of the extraordinary summits between Haughey and Thatcher, with her going on massive rants about the IRA and the Government here not doing enough to prevent IRA attacks, and the Gardaí being like Keystone Cops because they were using arcane methods to gather intelligence.

Which was all very well. But that stuff – and seen from the prism of Margaret Thatcher and her officials – has been in the public realm in Britain for at least six or seven years. So, to borrow a phrase from the Northern Ireland peace process, there was not full parity of esteem when it came to viewing the documents.

The media always get in about a week early to preview the documents and write up reports on what they say – they appear on the days that the documents are released.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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