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Connacht Tribune

Brexit demands new vocabulary on foot of political contortionists

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Boris Johnson...Teflon Tory.

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

It’s been so long in the ether that they’ve had to come up with new words for the Brexit process. The latest three month delay is called a flextension, no less; another ugly portmanteau word being created to deal with this ugly political situation. And we are all conveniently ignoring the elephant in the ditch – otherwise known as the corpse of a British prime minister.

That’s because it’s not there – because Boris Johnson has broken more promises than Zorba the Greek has broken plates.

And we can now add to that his definitive October 31 deadline, hot on the heels of his other ‘over my dead body’ vow over a border in the Irish Sea.

Johnson is the kind of politician for whom no scandal is big enough to end his career.

He can tell barefaced lies, cheat on his wife, be a completely incompetent Minister. He can fail to deliver his promises again and again and again.

But he always has a trump card up his sleeve – his charm, his roguery, his slightly endearing bumptiousness, his facility with language. Nothing sticks to him.

What happened in the Commons last week was no defeat for him, because he still did what Theresa May could not do.

He got his Withdrawal Bill through parliament with a really impressive majority of 30.

He lost on the second vote, his proposal to rush it through in three days.

But look at his win.

He did not need the DUP. Most of the 21 MPs he expelled from the Conservative parliamentary party voted for him.

So did 19 pro-Brexit Labour MEPs.

Indeed, so did virtually all the hardline Conservative Brexiteers, members of the Euroepean Research Group.

Commentators will have to give Johnson a bit more credit for his political skills. He spent the first few months of his premiership being lampooned for ham-fisted mistakes.

Like a 1500 metre runner with a kick, he has had a sprint finish which almost brought him over the line.

And now he’s set for the ultimate test as he goes before the people for the first time as leader – even agreeing the date of the election nearly proved to be as difficult as accepting there should be an election at all.

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Connacht Tribune

Remote working creates rural boom

Stephen Corrigan

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Report....Professor Alma McCarthy.

Urban dwellers are now looking to up sticks and move to the countryside, as working from home becomes the norm – and with a new survey showing almost all workers who have made the switch hoping to maintain some level of remote working, rural life is becoming increasingly attractive.

According to one of the lead researchers behind the second national employee survey carried out since the onset of Covid-19, remote working is surging in popularity, with 94% of over 5,600 participants hoping to continue working remotely for some or all of the time – an increase from 83% six months ago.

Professor Alma McCarthy of the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG told the Connacht Tribune that the desire to continue working from home had grown since the first phase of the survey in April, with more flexible hours and no traffic adding to its appeal.

“What we are looking at here is a particular cohort of the workforce that have jobs which lend themselves to working from home, and where people have that opportunity, we see that support has gone up [for remote working].

“Most people want a blended type of working arrangement, where they work from home some of the time and go into the office maybe one or two days a week. I think that is probably how it will look from now on,” said Prof McCarthy.

The number of people who wish to work from home five days a week has more than doubled since April, now at 27% compared to 12% in the early days of Covid-19.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Retail outlets stay positive despite shut-down

Stephen Corrigan

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Challenge...Fiona Charity.

Galway retailers have reiterated calls to shop local online in the coming weeks, as Level 5 restrictions force them to close their doors in the run up to peak shopping season.

From today (Thursday), unessential retailers must shut up shop until December 1 – limiting outlets such as clothes, furniture and toy shops to online sales and collections only.

One such shop is Modella Fashion in Corrandulla, which only opened its doors for the first time in July, and while owner Fiona Charity said it was clearly a huge challenge to start a new business in a pandemic, she remained hopeful that she could weather the storm.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing, but public health is the most important thing, and if this works, we might have more freedom for Christmas.

“We are lucky in that we went live with our website last week and that’s been really busy already. Even though we can’t open, people are able to order online and have their order delivered, or click and collect,” said Ms Charity ahead of closing this week.

Likewise, Standún in An Spidéal has seen a surge in their online sales since the onset of Covid-19, according to manager Deirdre Ní Ghríofa, who said the message for everyone was to “shop local as much as you possibly can”.

Ms Ní Ghríofa said they had a big increase in local sales online during the early days of the pandemic and that was something she hoped would continue in the run up to Christmas.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Back in our bubble – and braced for the impact

Dara Bradley

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Fourth Class pupils from Galway Educate Together NS in Newcastle enjoying the wonder of science to mark the launch of Galway Science and Technology Festival's 2020 online programme running from November 8 to 22.

Galway is braced for the economic impact of this week’s return to lockdown – with both the pub and retail sector preparing for the worst.

The head of the county’s publicans predicted that as many as one in five outlets will never reopen, given that the best case scenario now is that they’ll return to Level 3 for Christmas,  which limits outdoor drinkers to just 15.

In a stark warning, Chair of the Galway branch of the VFI, Joe Sheridan, said a conservative estimate was that 20% of pubs won’t reopen – but that could rise to one-third if they didn’t see some return to business for the festive season.

Retailers too were predicting the worst – but still with the belief that a good December could save them.

The reasoning behind the move to Level 5 was underlined by the fact that new cases of the infection are now rising at a rate of 500 per week.

After another record week of positive cases in Galway, there were 13 patients in two public hospitals being treated for Covid-19 – twelve in UHG and one in Ballinasloe.

There were a further three suspected cases in UHG.

See full coverage of the Covid crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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