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Alcohol still tops list of Galway addictions



Alcohol continues to top the list of abused drugs in Galway

Alcohol remains the single-biggest drug abused by Galway people availing of addiction treatment – heroin, morphine and cannabis are problematic too.

Alcohol is the number one drug misused by addicts who presented to Galway’s Local Health Office in the four years to 2012, according to figures obtained by the Galway City Tribune.

The latest drugs statistics, extracted from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System, highlight the use of hard core drugs such as heroin, prescribed pain-relieving drugs such as morphine, as well as ‘recreational’ drugs such as cannabis.

Galway West TD, Brian Walsh (FG), who obtained the figures from the Health Service Executive, said alcohol and drug addiction remains a serious problem facing society.

“Alcohol abuse has been recognised as a damaging social problem in Ireland since the 19th century. It is clear from the latest figures that it remains a significant problem,” said Deputy Walsh.

“It is arguably more difficult to address than the abuse of some other substances because, historically, it has been culturally embedded in our society. But the figures can also be interpreted as the source of some encouragement, as they reflect a high number of people taking the step of seeking help for an addiction to alcohol.

“It’s really important for people to know that there are services in place should they need to seek help. These figures show that help is available and that people are taking up the offer of that help.”

The data reveals that a total of 529 cases were treated by the addiction services of the Galway Local Health Office in 2012. For some 281 of these – or 53% – the main drug problem they had was alcohol.

The remainder was for opiates, which represented 138 cases, or 26%, followed by cannabis, which represented the main drug problem in 15% of cases.

Cocaine accounted for the main drug problem in just nine cases, while Benzodiazepines was the main drug addiction in just 13 cases.

In 2009, cocaine was twice as likely to be the main drug problem of those attending addiction services in Galway but at 23 cases – compared with nine in 2012 – it was still relatively nowhere near as big a problem as alcohol or other drugs.

Opiates, which would include heroin and morphine, is on the rise: Analysis of the figures shows that opiates was the main drug problem of 22% of users in 2011 but that jumped to 26% in 2012.

There were no cases recorded in Galway where amphetamines, ecstasy or ‘volatile inhalants’ were the main drug problem of addicts presenting locally.

In a statement the HSE said: “In 2012, 62% of cases were treated in an outpatient setting, 28% were treated in an inpatient setting and 8% were treated in a low-threshold setting.”

It stressed that the figures relate to a case, or a treatment episode, and not an individual.

Connacht Tribune

Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time



A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.

Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.

Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.

So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.

The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.

Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.

He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.

Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.

Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.

Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.

His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.

This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.

The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.

It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.

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Connacht Tribune

‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting



A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.

At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.

“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.

This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.

One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.

“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.

None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.

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Connacht Tribune

New Chief Executive for Galway County Council



The new Chief Executive of Galway County Council is set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Liam Conneally, who is Director of Services for Economic Development at Clare County Council, is understood to be the preferred candidate following an interview process and has been offered the post.

His appointment will have to be ratified by councillors at an upcoming meeting of Galway County Council.

He will replace Jim Cullen, who was Acting CE for a number of years.

The last permanent CE of the local authority was also a Clare native, Martina Moloney who retired in 2014.

Since then, Kevin Kelly initially and then Jim Cullen have been acting in the roles.

According to his LinkedIn page, Liam Conneally was a senior planner at Limerick City and County Councils for almost three years before taking up the Director of Services role in Clare in 2016.

He was educated at University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast.

A native of Ennistymon, he is steeped in the GAA.

“He’s done a very good job in Clare; he’s very dynamic and forward-looking, he will be a good choice for Galway County Council,” said a source familiar with Mr Conneally, and the interview process.

Government completed a review in 2021 about whether it was going to appoint someone permanently into the CE role, which was filled on a temporary/acting basis for almost nine years.

It’s understood that officials in Dublin had delayed filling the role as they wanted to push for an amalgamation of both Councils.

The amalgamation, however, was rejected by local politicians, and has since been put on the back burner.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, is due to retire this year. It’s understood his deputy CE, Patricia Philbin will take the role in an acting capacity until an interview process is completed.

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