If a footballer who earns a somewhere north of a quarter of a million pounds a week can get into a complete strop over his employer’s failure to wish him a happy 31st birthday, imagine the damage such an insult could do to a mere mortal.
Yaya Toure was so upset by Manchester City’s snubbing of his special day that he was weighing up his footballing future – admittedly a slight overreaction, but it shows how important birthdays can be to some people.
For the first half of your life, it’s an excuse to get out with the lads and give it a good lash – but for the second half, it’s a day you’d prefer to forget on the basis that it’s another page torn from an ever dwindling book.
When you’re ten, you cannot sleep with the excitement of wondering if the postman will bring birthday cards – a euphemism, of course, for money – to mark your special day.
Then there’s turning 18 and perhaps 21 – the only difference between the two is that all your little old aunties turn up at your coming of age and you have to entertain them for an hour before you can get stuck into it with your mates.
But after that, as you grow older – and in this scenario, 31 qualifies as old – you tend to settle for a cup of tea and a smile; perhaps a hand-drawn card on a folded A4 sheet, with a picture that depicts you as a stick insect super hero.
You certainly won’t quit your job over it – although some companies, unlike Manchester City, won’t take that chance.
I once worked for a newspaper that automatically sent every employee a birthday card on their special day – and while it was nice that accounts remembered, this often proved more hassle than it was worth.
Because despite what Yaya might feel, there are many who’d prefer their birthday passed by quietly and without public attention – but when a card is left on your desk before you come in, your cover is well and truly blown.
And the knock-on from this is also bad news – your colleagues have a good excuse for buying you nothing because they only just found out when they saw the card….but they’d be delighted to join you for a drink later, once you’re the one paying for it.
So the card that you know was signed in advance ended up costing you money on a day when you might have had a reasonable expectation of being the recipient of goodwill and Guinness.
Yaya, of course, could buy the bar and still have change from his week’s wages – but that doesn’t seem to be the point.
It was a matter of principle that annoyed him – his Arab bosses didn’t care enough to wish their superstar midfielder all the best for his big day, which fell during City’s post-season tour of Abu Dhabi.
Just what he was talking about soon because something of a mystery in itself after a video surfaced of Toure being presented with a birthday cake by the club, which also tweeted a birthday message at the time.
But it would appear that the multi-millionaire wasn’t angling for a mere card and a cake at his work station – he’d seen other clubs do so much more than that.
“He got a cake but when it was (Brazilian full-back) Roberto Carlos’ birthday, the president of Anzhi (Makhachkala) gave him a Bugatti,” said Toure’s representative Dimitry Seluk.
“It’s not a question of money or contract, believe me. He has everything he needs. For Yaya what is the most important thing is human relationships,” explained Dimitry. “We’ve not asked any money, we don’t ask any presents. We’re only talking about attention.”
And clearly he’d personally ensured plenty of that in what must be the most petulant reaction to a missed birthday of all time.
Indeed so upset was Toure that he was thinking of quitting the club altogether, sparking something of a mini-riot among the world’s richest clubs – and presumably the dispatching of several staff to buy up all the birthday cards they could find.
Certainly no one in his entourage will ever forget his big day again, because clearly this is a man who might appear to have everything – except a Happy Birthday.
And maybe that’s where the gifted midfielder got his name – someone asked him if he’d like a big birthday party when he was a young fellow.
And jumping up and down with excitement, he clapped and shouted: “Yaya, yaya – gimme, gimme, gimme some cake.”
Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars
Five large Garda stations in County Galway are operating with fewer Garda vehicles now than two years ago – leading to a call for the local fleet to be restored to 2020 levels.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed to Galway West TD Noel Grealish that the Garda fleet in the Galway Garda Division stands at 116 as of October of this year.
That’s greater than any of the years from 2012 to 2019, but it represents a reduction on the Garda fleet when compared with 2020 and 2021 figures.
Galway Gardaí had a dozen fewer vehicles this year, compared with 2020. There are 13 fewer patrol cars, down from 96 to 83; there was no change in the number of vans and motorcycles, and the division acquired one extra 4×4.
Garda stations in Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam, Clifden and Salthill have all lost patrol cars in the past 24 months, according to the official figures.
Independent Deputy Grealish has demanded a restoration of the Garda fleet in Galway to 2020 levels.
“Gardaí have a demanding enough job to do, but it makes that important work even more difficult if they are not allocated the proper resources,” Deputy Grealish said.
“A reduction of twelve vehicles in less than two years across the Galway Division, down from 128 at the end of 2020 to 116 in October this year, is concerning.
“I have asked the Minister for Justice to explain why this has happened, that the number of vehicles in the Galway Division has fallen by ten per cent, when nationally the total fleet actually increased by 6%. I am demanding that they at the very least be restored to their 2020 levels,” he said.
Deputy Grealish pointed out that almost all areas of the county had suffered a reduction in Garda vehicles since the beginning of last year. Ballinasloe currently has six vehicles, a reduction of two since the end of 2020; Clifden also has six, down one; Loughrea was down three to eleven; Salthill was down three to ten; the biggest reduction in Garda vehicles was in the Tuam area down five to twelve.
Galway City’s fleet increased by two vehicles, for a total of 71.
Minister McEntee said that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including the purchase, allocation, and effective and efficient use of Garda vehicles.
“As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review to ensure their optimum use in light of identified operational needs and emerging crime trends,” she added.
Galway City Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) last month complained that the number of vehicles available to Gardaí in Salthill and Knocknacarra was insufficient.
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later