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Connacht Tribune

Camogie officer’s marathon challenge in memory of sibling

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Running the equivalent distance of a return trip from Loughrea to Croke Park as part of Galway Camogie’s Lockdown Challenge 2020, a Galway Camogie Board officer is hoping the memory of his late sister – who sadly passed away earlier this year – will see him through.

Ballymacward’s Brian Griffin commenced the challenge on Monday. Over 40 days he aims to run up to 10km a day until the distance of 380 kilometres is completed by the deadline date of Friday, December 11.

His efforts will raise money for Galway Camogie and Galway Hospice, the latter of which will receive 20% of all proceeds gathered through the multiple events taking place as part of Galway Camogie’s Lockdown Challenge.

It’s a huge undertaking for Galway Camogie’s Development Officer, but he is hoping his passion for camogie and the memory of his late sister Janette Griffin, Ballyglunin, will inspire him to deliver on his goal.

“My sister passed away earlier this year from cancer,” says Brian. “She was 48 when she died, two weeks short of her 49th birthday. In November of last year, she was diagnosed and she passed away on May 13 this year. She had three boys.

“She was in the Hospice there for a good few months. So, it is important for me to try and give something back. I suppose, when I’m out running, she might carry me along as well,” he says.

Brian and his fellow County Board officers had been discussing possible fundraisers for Galway Camogie before the current lockdown came. It was this that prompted the 40-day Lockdown Challenge.

“The idea is that we will get as many people to register and do a challenge and raise what they can for ourselves and Galway Hospice,” outlines Brian. “There are a lot of people interested and we’ve reached out to a lot of clubs. So, we are pushing it far and wide to get as many people involved.”

Some of the challenges undertaken around the county are: 5km or 10km a day for 40 days; walking the distance to Croke Park and back; walking 15,000 steps a day for 40 days; doing 100 burpees each day until December 11; and doing a virtual solo relay around Ireland.

“We would love people to come up with their own ideas that are totally different, out of the ordinary,” says Brian. “I know there is a woman in Athenry, Cathy Dillon, who is cycling virtually from Athenry pitch to every hurling and camogie pitch in Galway. So, that comes to about 500 kilometres for her to cycle.

“So, challenges like that. Others might just climb Croagh Patrick, doing as little as 800 metres a day. No challenge is too big or too small. The main thing is that you log in your challenge. You have to be seen to be doing it.”

Each challenge can be undertaken individually or as a team – so long as there is social distancing. Once the challenge is logged with Galway Camogie, each participant will be sent the link to the iDonate page. Each challenge must be tracked. For instance, Map My Run or Strava can use used to monitor kilometres while, for something like burpees, a video of each daily task must be recorded.

As Brian notes that the more people who get involved, the more “craic” it will be. He encourages as many as possible to do so. “Also, I think, in the lockdown, it is good for people to stay engaged. You can kind of get down in the dumps looking out the window for five or six weeks.

“So, it is important for people’s mental health as well to be involved in something like this, to be part of a group. If you were sitting at home on our own, you could kind of get bogged down.”

All going well, the energy the Lockdown Challenge will generate will feed into Galway camogie’s senior team as they bid to win back-to-back All-Ireland titles under manager Cathal Murray. Griffin agrees.

“As we know, all sporting organisations are stuck for money at this time. So, it is important that we get behind those girls as well. It would be brilliant if they could do it again this year. It is a big challenge for them and we have to back them.”

As for Griffin, himself, he has already embraced his own mammoth challenge. “I have registered now so there is no getting out of it,” he laughs.

“The money raised, though, will help to continue the good work both Galway Camogie and Galway Hospice are doing on the ground. If every club could put in a challenge, it would be great.”

(Photo: Camogie stars Sarah Dervan, Niamh Kilkenny and Emma Helebert promoting Galway Camogie’s Lockdown Challenge 2020, which got underway this week).

Connacht Tribune

Ethics Officer finds FF councillors did nothing wrong with €180,000 pot

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Four Fianna Fáil councillors in the Tuam area accused by colleagues of ‘hijacking’ a €180,000 fund, have been told they did nothing wrong.

The fund was allocated to Tuam Municipal Council as part of a €1 million allocation by the Government to the county’s five municipal councils in order to “strengthen municipal districts”.

While the other area councils agreed amongst themselves on where the money should be spent, agreement could not be reached.

Instead, the four Fianna Fáil councillors, who have control of the seven-member Tuam Municipal Council, decided where the money should be allocated, which infuriated the other three members.

The matter was referred to the Ethics Officer of Galway County Council who was asked to investigate if this contravened the Minister’s direction as to how the money should be spent.

Now, Fianna Fáil Chairman of Tuam Council, Cllr Donagh Killilea, has been informed that they did not contravene the ethical framework for local government and it was a democratic decision.

He said that it was a needless and expensive route to ask the Council’s Ethics Officer to investigate how they conduct their business as local representatives “given that there was never any clear evidence of wrong-doing.”

When the dispersal of the €180,000 was being discussed by the Tuam area councillors, it was the four Fianna Fáil members who used their majority vote to dictate where the money would be spent – the other three councillors were ‘left out in the cold’.

This infuriated Cllr Andrew Reddington (FG), Cllr Pete Roche (FG) and Cllr Karey McHugh (Ind) who accused the Fianna Fáil councillors of pulling ‘a political stunt’.

They also took issue with the fact that the other municipal districts arrived at a general consensus as to how the money should be spent.

A ‘behind closed doors’ meeting between the seven councillors to discuss the dispersal of the fund that was agreed, but it never took place.

In prompted Cllr Reddington to table a motion at a full Galway County Council meeting that the Ethics Officer investigate the manner in which the distribution of the €180,000 was being handled.

A report from Council Chief Executive Jim Cullen states that the Ethics Officer investigated the claims that the €180,000 was unfairly distributed between the four FF councillors.

But the official concluded that the matter was discussed at length and that the decision on the allocation of the funds was determined by a majority vote of the members.

The officer stated that the decision was based on a motion that was voted upon and duly carried and complied with the Minister’s requirements.

The Chief Executive along with the Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Cllr Peter Keaveney, having considered the Ethics Officer’s report, have concluded that no further action is required.

“If every time we call for an investigation when a vote is won or lost, it is my opinion that we will never get any business done as a Municipal.

“It’s time to bury the sour grapes and get on with representing the people who elected us; the distractions of the past six months have to end,” Cllr Killilea added.

(Photo: Cllr Donagh Killilea)

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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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