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Author’s ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ grabbing attention

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Galway author Emma Comerford shines a provocative and entertaining light on the sometimes erratic psyche of the modern-day Irish woman in her just-published book, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’.

A guaranteed laugh-out-loud read, the book is comprised of astute wit and razor-sharp observation, as well as colloquial use of self-deprecation and satire.

Emma, a native of Luimnagh, on the shores of Lough Corrib in Corrandulla is daughter to a published author, playwright and retired solicitor Henry Comerford. Books, she says, were an integral part of her childhood. “I come from a real literary family. So from the age of dot, if you expressed an interest in anything – there were like ten books beside your bed.”

A colourful character by nature, Emma is friendly, personable and well travelled. But writing didn’t come instantaneously for the Galway girl who gained experience and insight working as a motorbike courier, fruit-picker, welder and building surveyor in different locations all over the world before settling down in the IT industry. The experience of travel would later prove a valuable source of inspiration for the fledgling author.

Emma observed behavioural differences as distinctly Irish on a backpacking trip, mingling with backpackers from various countries. Commenting on the demeanour of the Irish abroad she says: “We had to befriend everybody in the bar, buy them all drinks, give them cigarettes (we were backpackers, we had no money), then bring them all back to the hostel and do the Siege of Ennis”.

Cognisant of ritual practices, a moment of self-realization ensued. “None of the Italian girls did this, it was just the Irish girls – we’re just that little bit different.”

The inspiration to write first came to Emma after reading Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Be a Woman’. “After reading it I was going – somebody should write a book like that about Irish women”.  Ideas, she said, presented themselves “almost like sketches”.

“When I started writing, there was loads of material. I think because I travelled a lot and lived in different countries – there was loads to write about and compare to”.

Emma took the plunge to write her first few pages. “I wrote four pages and sent it to Conor Montague [Galway playwright of Who Needs Enemies?]. Conor came back with eight pages of commentary. The first line was “This is really good; you should keep going with this”. That was really encouraging” she says.

Her debut book, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ is described as a part Exposé, part how-to guide, which pledges to impart information to the reader on:

■ How to perform the ‘walk of shame’ with utmost dignity and deal with the ensuing catholic guilt
■ How many people you can tell when you are sworn to secrecy
■ Coping with the consequences of an out-of-control hen party
■ Acquiring assertive school gate etiquette
■ Overcoming your zumba/pilates/book club antagonists
■ How alcohol-dependent you and your friends really are
Satire is used in exploring common traits amongst Irish women.The book suggests mná na hÉireann have a genetic aversion to compliments and will react in one of three ways:
■ Rebuff the compliment by belittling the item under discussion, e.g. ‘Oh, this old rag? I’ve had it for years’ or ‘Thanks, Penneys’ best’.
■ Immediately draw attention to a perceived failing: ‘Yes but have you seen the size of my arse?’ or ‘Look! I have psoriasis all over my elbows’.
■ Parry the compliment with a return compliment, thereby making them feel uncomfortable. Better still, introduce a bit of paranoia into the equation.

It is said the Irish will forgive a great many things, but having no sense of humour is considered a “cardinal sin”. Irish women love to laugh and admire people who make them laugh.

Other topics tackled in the book include: Obsession with death; Catholic Guilt; Begrudgery; Superstitions; the desire to maintain a savage level of craic; and Gossiping.

Irish Bitches Be Crazy puts forth the notion that Irish women are unique due to combined psychological, environmental and sociological factors. “Catholic guilt, heavy drinking and sewing classes produce a definitive type of girl,” it reads.

‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ depicts “The journey of Irish women from Peig Sayers to Miriam O Callaghan” presenting a satirical account on the evolution from genetically challenged (due to “years of inbreeding”) basket weavers of yesteryear to the newfound glamazons (with “paid-for-good-looks”) of today.

Says Emma: “I found that most of the traits attributed to Irish females are, in fact, true. Rather than debunking the myths, I have extended them . . . xpounding many of the old chestnuts and proposing some new theories”.

The attention-grabbing title ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ was inspired by a young male work colleague of Emma’s who used to utter the phrase ‘Bitches Be Crazy’, which has crept into modern vernacular.

Feminist theory will argue it is offensive to women on two accounts; firstly the use of the word “bitch” and secondly the use of the word “crazy”.

But Emma – an Irish woman who considers herself a feminist – insists it is not intended to be offensive.

The aforementioned traits and clichéd stereotypes are an exaggeration in jest and not to be mistaken as a character assassination on all Irish women, she says. “It’s not meant to be offensive, it’s meant to be light hearted . . . I’m laughing at myself,” she pointedly remarks.

The brash title has worked in her favour thus far, grabbing the attention of Commissioning Editor for New Island – the publishing house who ultimately published her book.

Overall, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ endeavours to make people laugh. And in keeping with The Galway Comedy Festival which runs this week, the book launch will took place on Wednesday, in Massimo.

■ ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ is available to purchase now at €9.99.

CITY TRIBUNE

Hospital worker failed to self isolate after trip to red-list country

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Management at University Hospital Galway have been asked to investigate ‘as a matter of urgency’ an allegation that a security employee at the hospital returned to work within the 14-day restriction period after coming back from a ‘red-list’ country.

The person has already worked at least two shifts at the hospital – including looking after an elderly patient – despite the fact that the restriction period would not have expired until this Sunday, September 20.

The Galway City Tribune can reveal that in a letter from SIPTU official to a senior UHG manager, it is alleged there was breach of protocol over recent days by an employee of an outsourced security company.

According to the letter to Services Manager Geoff Ginnety, while the worker was not covered under HSE employee rules, “they still must comply with the Government issued protocols”.

The letter from SIPTU states that the worker in question had told his colleagues that he was in a red-listed country and that ‘he did not have to restrict his movements’ for 14 days and could return to work.

“I request that you [Services Manager at UHG] address these concerns as a matter of urgency and provide clear guidance on how to deal with the issue,” the SIPTU letter states.

According to information accessed by the Galway City Tribune, the employee in question returned from a red-listed country on September 6 last and underwent a test for Covid-19 five days later on September 11.

Shortly after that, according to his employers, the results of his Covid tests came back as negative. The Galway City Tribune understands that he returned to his night-shift work on Tuesday night, September 15, and also worked the Wednesday night shift of September 16.

This newspaper has also been informed by reliable sources that on his first night back on duty the employee was left in charge of an elderly patient, while on his second night back at work, he was dutied to the Emergency Department.

When contacted by the Galway City Tribune, a spokesperson for the HSE said that they could not comment on issues relating to individual staff.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Leisureland sinks with €20,000 per week losses

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The plug is being pulled on Leisureland – leaving hundreds of swimmers, mostly children, and trainee lifeguards, high and dry.

Galway Salthill Fáilte CLG, the company that operates the publicly-owned facility, has confirmed it plans to shut down its swimming pool and gym, leaving members of six aquatic clubs, hundreds of schoolchildren, and the general public, without an amenity for the foreseeable future.

Swimming clubs fear they will lose a whole generation of young swimmers in Galway if the pool closes. And they have warned that it could end up costing €1 million to repair and reopen the pool after a prolonged closure.

Leisureland blamed the impact of coronavirus for its financial woes, with losses running at an average of €20,000 per week.

The company said that by August it had already spent its annual €300,000 subsidy subvention from Galway City Council, and the local authority has indicated it is not in a position to increase the subsidy further in 2020.

The planned closure – which could result in the furloughing of over 20 staff from next month – has shocked the local aquatic community.

A lengthy hiatus with Leisureland closed will mean Galway will lose a ‘whole generation’ of swimmers, according to Eamon Caulfield, President of Galway Swimming Club and member and former chairperson of Corrib Water Polo Club.

“We’re particularly upset and aggrieved that this is going ahead, it’s shocking. They should be looking to reverse this decision,” he said this week.

The majority of the five aquatic clubs that use the facility (Galway SC, Shark SC, Laser SC and Tribes and Corrib water polo clubs) are made up of children aged 10-18, including some international athletes. Hundreds of children from Galway schools also learn to swim there.

A water safety group has been using the pool every Sunday morning since it opened in 1973, he said.

“Historically it is where Galway gets its lifeguards from. How can you not have swim lessons in a public pool? How can you not have water safety taught in a pool in Galway?

“It beggars belief, we’re on the sea. The water safety people, where are they going to go, how are we going to get lifeguards for beaches? How are we going to get teachers for teaching swimming?” asked Mr Caulfield.

The clubs have roughly 150 members each and generate €150,000 revenue annually for Leisureland.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full version, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Gardaí get more than 1,000 house party calls

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway Gardaí have responded to more 1,000 house calls relating to house parties during the pandemic from mid-March to early September – the vast majority of them in the city area, it was revealed this week.

Chief Superintendent, Tom Curley, told the Galway City Tribune, that the figures for house party Garda call-outs were ‘startling’ and a source of major concern.

“This is a no-brainer. For anyone thinking of a house party, the simple message is – don’t do it. A serious amount of Garda time is now being spent dealing with house-party related incidents,” he said.

Between March 18 and September 1 this year, the Galway Garda Division responded to 1,034 house-party related calls, most of them in the city area.

“This a real and pressing issue not only for the Gardaí and the health authorities but also for the general public at large.

“Large numbers of people gathering in an enclosed house setting can be potentially disastrous in terms of our efforts to contain the spread of this virus. House parties are out – it’s as simple as that,” said Chief Supt Curley.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read more on Covid in Galway, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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