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Call for HSE staff shuttle extension for patients



The free shuttle bus service for HSE staff travelling between University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park should be extended to patients.

It is claimed that there are occasions when the bus travelling between both hospitals is empty and could accommodate patients as well as staff.

The move would have the effect of easing the parking situation at UHG – there are times when there are long delays in accessing the car park.

It has been suggested by Fianna Fáil general election candidate John Connolly that patients attending UHG should be allowed to use the Park and Ride facility from Merlin Park.

He said that there occasions when the bus was not full and could accommodate out-patients attending University Hospital Galway

“Parking has been a long standing issue at the UHG campus and this measure would go a long way to reducing the problem.

“Despite increasing car parking at UHG, people driving to the hospital for out-patient appointments still experience long delays and a shortage of car parking spaces.

“Not only is the parking overspill an irritation for local residents, it is also a major source of frustration and can add to stress levels of patients whose anxiety levels may already be raised,” Mr Connolly stated.

The former FF city councillor said that the current staff park and ride facility runs from the Merlin Park campus to UHG every 30 minutes from 7am to 8.45pm seven days a week.

The additional capacity at Merlin Park provides an ideal solution to the parking problems at UHG.

“I am calling on the hospital group to seriously consider the possibility of using the current staff park and ride facility at Merlin Park to accommodate patients who have out-patient appointments at the hospital.

“There would be no additional cost to the hospital as the service is already in place but it would make a huge difference to patients attending the hospital who find the current parking situation at the hospital extremely stressful.”

The shuttle service has been in operation for around 10 years. It transports staff who work on both sites along with samples for the labs, files and so on.

The shuttle is also used by staff based in UHG who travel from the east or north of the county and who park in Merlin Park and travel by bus to and from UHG.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors



Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre



An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis



Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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