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Connacht Tribune

Border issue a Rubix cube where someone moved all the colours

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Crossing the border... how will it change?

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

We were in Donegal at the weekend to visit my brother and his family. The trip takes you through Co Tyrone. Nowadays, there is no physical barrier. A few kilometres north of Emyvale, the markings on the road change, and suddenly there is no Irish on the road signs and all speed limits are in miles.

There may be no border, but sometimes when you hear people talk about the ‘invisible border’, you would think that Ireland has already been united.

For sure, when the border infrastructure started coming down almost a quarter of a century ago, it made a huge difference. Until the mid-1990s, going to the Six Counties was never an easy jaunt.

The border itself was intimidating. There were these huge corrugated security stations, complete with cameras and rifle-bearing soldiers. The checkpoint process was tense for those not used to it.

For that reason lots of Southern people were reluctant to make the journey north during the years of the Troubles.

Sure for Northerners, that overbearing security presence had become part of the fabric of their society and they had normalised it. For southerners who went up once or twice a year, it was a very different kind of experience.

And so gradually, that easy journey south for North had its reverse experience, the easy journey north for southerners.

The trip to Newry to buy cheap booze. The weekend away in Belfast to see the Titanic Quarter and experience the city’s food and culture (even the Belfast of the Troubles became a tourist destination – the Black Taxi tour of the loyalist and republican areas is now de rigeur for visitors).

But all that happened after the Border came into existence after Independence almost a century ago created a difference that has not been fully undone.

For one, the Troubles forced communities into default positions expressed by their religious backgrounds – Catholic and Protestants.

That manifested in a sectarian edge never experienced in the south. Sure, the South was unashamedly Catholic but is quick evolution into a secular society over the past generation has not been matched in the North.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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