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Connacht Tribune

Artist convinces judge she did not intend to drink drive

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A Canadian artist convinced a judge that she was sleeping the night in her car with a beau she met at the Clifden Arts Festival, rather than about to drive home when caught with the engine running.

A native of Quebec, Delphine Schofield Veronneau was doing a home exchange at Oyster Cove, Kilkerrin, Carna, while living as an artist in residence.

On patrol after 3am on September 24 was Sergeant Edward Cronin, who told Clifden District Court that when he drove into the public carpark in Clifden he spotted the lights shining on the first car he saw.

There was a woman in the driver’s seat with her two hands placed on the steering wheel, with the keys in the ignition, engine running and the fan turned on. There was a man in the passenger seat and both were sitting upright.

He asked the 33-year-old if she had consumed alcohol and she replied that she had three pints. He brought her to Clifden Garda Station on suspicion of being drunk in charge. She later gave a reading of 46mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – more than double the legal limit.

Sergeant Cronin said he had done a sweep of the carpark just a little earlier and there was nobody occupying any of the six cars.

Schofield Veronneau began her evidence with a direct plea to Judge Mary Fahy. “I would never drink and drive. I just wouldn’t do it.”

She went on to recall that she was in town to attend the Clifden Arts Festival and intended to stay with a friend who worked in Mullarkey’s Pub after enjoying a few drinks.

She was going to walk to that friend’s place but she then met a man. She decided to sleep instead in her car where her new friend joined her.

There they passed an hour or so.

“I was sick at one stage…we kissed…at some stage I decided to turn on the car for the heat. I had no idea it was illegal. The second I turned on the car the police arrived. There was no intention except heating the car…in no second that night did I intend to drive the car,” she told the court.

She was asked by the prosecutor why she cleared the screen with the fan or had put on the lights if she did not intend to drive.

Schofield Veronneau replied that it was automatic in the car she was driving for the fan and lights to be switched on once the key was turned.

Judge Fahy asked if she really intended to sleep in a car all night.

She replied that she did. After being processed in the Garda station she had returned to her car to sleep for the rest of the night.

“Where did this male friend go?” asked Judge Fahy. “I don’t know,” replied the defendant.

“He was no gentleman,” the District Judge retorted.

Judge Fahy said she was going to dismiss the charge of being drunk in charge.

“I’m sort of suspicious but at the same time I have a doubt. She has raised doubts in my mind that she’s not somebody who foolishly drinks and drives.”`

Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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