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Connacht Tribune

Bridie’s a high flyer at 106!

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Galway already holds the world record for the longest living siblings – now the county could be home to the world’s oldest global traveller.

Bridie Daly marked her 106th birthday by travelling back from Boston to her native Loughrea this month.

Bridie, who is one of eight siblings in the Duggan family of Ballinakill, Moyglass, found it difficult to get a flight due to her age.

But that did nothing to deter Bridie, who has flown home regularly since emigrating to America in 1929.

Bridie organised another flight with a Scandinavian airline, which involved a marathon trip and several stops in some far-flung places.

She has returned to see her family in Galway every two years since the year 2000.

And apparently Bridie is already talking about a return on her 108th birthday.

“She’s absolutely unbelievable. She lives on her own, a family member comes to stay at night time but she will not allow in home help. She can walk perfectly up and down the 14 steps to her apartment without being linked, she only recently agreed to use a walking stick,” explained Mary.

“Since she’s been home, she’s visited two nursing homes, seen grand nieces and nephews at two schools and travelled to Cork to see her husband’s cousins. She’s constantly on the go.”

Her brother Henry continues to farm in Moyglass at age 90. Her brother Kevin, 85, who followed her out to Boston, takes her out on regular lunch outings.

After 88 years living on the other side of the Atlantic, there is still not the hint of a twang, reveals Mary.

When Bridie first emigrated at age 18, she worked in a local church as a cleaner and secretary. She married Bill Daly from Cork and the couple had six children. Tragedy struck when she lost her husband to cancer when the youngest was only four, leaving her to raise the family alone.

She lost a son in a car accident at age 25 and two other children to natural causes in recent years. She remains remarkably active.

“She’s is a mass-goer without fail and says her prayers a lot. She goes out to get her hair done every Friday. She goes to Irish events, you just couldn’t believe she’s 106.”

At a party to celebrate her latest milestone last Friday in Portumna, she revealed her secret to a long life is to stay positive.

“Never despair. Live in hope,” is how she explained it to the 60 relatives and former neighbours.

Some believe she could be Ireland’s oldest person following the death of fellow Galwaywoman, Sarah Clancy in late December at age 108.

Sarah, a native of Sruthán, Connemara, had also emigrated to Boston before returning to the homeplace in 1988. She too had lived at home before passing away in her sleep.

The baby of the remarkable Clarke family of Castlenancy, Mullagh turned 100 in January. Sheila Burns became the sixth sibling and seventh family member – her mother was knocked down by a car at 101 – to survive a century. The family are now in the Guinness Book of World Records for the family with the most siblings to reach the age of 100.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Coffins have to brought by tractor over flooded North Galway road

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Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) and Cllr Peter Keaveney (FG) at the Creggs road out of Glenamaddy where flooding occurs on an annual basis.

Annual flooding on a stretch of road in North Galway requires the necessity for a tractor and trailer to bring the remains of a deceased person from the area to the local cemetery.

This was the claim at a local area meeting when it was demanded that Galway County Council carry out flood relief works on the road near Glenamaddy which is left under several feet of water every winter.

It resulted in Cllr Peter Keaveney tabling a motion at the Ballinasloe Municipal Council meeting that essential drainage works take place along the Roscommon road out of the town now that water levels are low. He wants this carried out within the next two weeks.

During one of the worst winters in recent years, the road was closed for three months and the Fine Gael councillor and agricultural contractor said that he pulled around 20 cars out of the flooded stretch when motorists decided to take the chance of driving through it.

Even in drought conditions, the levels remain incredibly high and this is mainly down to a local turlough that retains water throughout the year.

While he said that Galway County Council officials were extremely helpful, the problem lay with the Office of Public Works who would not allow drainage works as the road is situated in a Special Area of Conservation.

Senior Executive Engineer Damien Mitchell informed the meeting that Galway County Council are in a position to carry out some works but there are certain areas that only the Office of Public Works can drain.

Mr Mitchell said that the best way forward was a co-ordinated approach involving the County Council and the OPW while accepting that there was a major problem with flooding along this road.

In response, Cllr Keaveney said that this was a very acceptable move and added that a joint approach to the flooding in Glenamaddy was required at this stage and particularly with the winter approaching.

Williamstown’s Cllr Declan Geraghty said that residents were living in hell as some of them saw their houses destroyed by rising flood waters near Glenamaddy.

“There are even deceased people being brought by tractor and trailer to be buried which is an absolute disgrace. There is an opportunity to do this now or otherwise we are looking at flooding for the next 10 years.

“People have put everything into their homes only to see them destroyed when it comes to prolonged heavy rainfall.

“There is a solution to this problem and environmental issues should not take precedence,” he added.

The Independent councillor said that raising the level of the road, which leads to Creggs and onto Roscommon, was not the answer to the problem because the levels were so high.

Galway County Council have carried out several surveys of the area around the flooded road and officials told previous meetings that, subject to approval from the OPW, there was an engineering solution possible.

(Photo Cllr Declan Geraghty (Ind) and Cllr Peter Keaveney (FG) at the Creggs road out of Glenamaddy where flooding occurs on an annual basis.)

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Connacht Tribune

Teen arrested over €45,000 cocaine seizure

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Gardaí have seized €45,000 of what they believe to be cocaine in Ballinasloe.

Gardaí attached to Ballinasloe Garda Station conducted an intelligence-led operation in the Dunlo Harbour area of the town yesterday.

During the course of this operation a quantity of suspected cocaine, estimated to be worth €45,000, concealed on derelict grounds was seized.

A male in his mid-teens was arrested at the scene and detained at Ballinasloe Garda Station on Sunday.

He has since been released with a file being prepared for the Garda Youth Diversion Office.

The focus of Operation Tara is to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels.

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Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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