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Campaign for Free To Air access for GAA on TV

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A campaign has commenced locally to ensure that all GAA matches are ‘free-to-air’ following the failure to transmit the recently replayed Connacht football final.

Musicians, politicians and footballers, past and present, are behind the campaign to ensure that all football and hurling matches are readily available and not subscription-based.

At the Connacht football final replay in Castlebar between Galway and Roscommon, Tuam singer-songwriter Seamus Ruttledge held a one-man protest outside the ground over the fact that it was not being televised live.

The match was available on the RTE website but many had difficulty in actually accessing the link to the player and were left more than infuriated. The free-to-air campaign is already gathering momentum.

It has the support of Leo Moran of The Saw Doctors, Senator John O’Mahony, who guided Galway to two All-Ireland successes and actually raised the matter in the Seanad, and well known journalist Jim Carney. There are several Galway and Mayo footballers who are also behind the campaign not the sell the viewing rights to Sky.

Seamus Ruttledge told The Connacht Tribune that the Connacht football final replay could not be played or televised on the Saturday evening because Sky had the rights to some of the qualifiers so the match had to be played on the Sunday.

Given the fact that the Ulster football final and the Leinster football final were down for decision on the same day, the Connacht final replay could not be televised live and was only available on the RTE Player, which became inaccessible for thousands of fans who wanted to watch the match.

Tuam’s Cllr Shaun Cunniffe is also behind the campaign to ensure all GAA games are free to the public in view of the fact that it is an amateur game and none of the players are being paid for their commitment.

“What happened for the Connacht final replay was unforgivable. It was still a provincial decider and the fact that it could not be held on the Saturday because of Sky commitments meant that it could not be broadcast live the following day.

“There are people who simply cannot get to games and who don’t subscribe to the likes of Sky but the least they should be entitled to is to watch a Connacht final on their televisions,” Cllr Cunniffe added.

Outside the Connacht football final replay in Castlebar, Seamus Ruttledge displaying signs saying that Gaelic games are not for sale and that he did not support a pay-per-view arrangement between the GAA and Sky Sports.

He said that he intended to form a lobby group to ensure that all GAA matches are available free-to-air. “Most GAA followers have no direct connection with GAA headquarters or the annual GAA congress,” he said.

Seamus Ruttledge added that it was this cohort of followers who wanted to watch matches over the summer months and should not be alienated by having to subscribe to Sky Sports. “It seems as if Sky is dictating everything at the moment”, he said.

“It just seems that the rank and file supporter has no input on deals that are made with Sky Sports. What is happening at the moment is horrendous and the fact that we cannot watch a Connacht football final is totally unacceptable,” Seamus Ruttledge added.

Connacht Tribune

Galway husband and Roscommon wife cheer on different sides of Connacht Final fence!

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Galway supporter Michael Bradley and his wife Roscommon supporter Siveen Bradley in Ballinasloe this week. Pic Gerry Stronge

The Bradley family in Ballinasloe have divided loyalties ahead of this Sunday’s Connacht senior football final between neighbouring counties Galway and Roscommon.

Mike Bradley, from Ballinasloe town, is a ‘stone mad’ Galway GAA fan – but his wife Siveen is from Newtown, a village three miles over the border and will be very much shouting for the Rossies.

Her nephew is Paul Carey, a rising star of Roscommon GAA, and already a legend in the Pádraig Pearses club, who could torment the home team’s defence at Pearse Stadium if he’s recovered from injury and if he’s fit and picked to play.

Though he may not feature this weekend, the 21-year-old Carey made his senior inter-county debut this season during Anthony Cunningham’s march to Division Two League success; and landed eight points for Pearses in the South Roscommon club’s first ever provincial title win in January.

Siveen, a sacristan in St Michael’s Church, and Mike, a caretaker in Canal House, live on Bridge Street and they’ll watch the provincial decider at home on television – because she could not handle the nerves of watching it live in Salthill.

“I watch the matches on telly or listen on the radio. The only reason I don’t go to the matches is I’d get too excited! I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. Even when it’s on the telly I’d be turning it off and on and texting my sister have they won because I couldn’t watch! I’m fierce bad,” laughed Siveen.

Her daughter, Siobhán, a Galway supporter, is married to a Mayo man, Seán Vahey, who live in Castlebar.

“As bad and all as I am I have a daughter married to a Mayo man! I’m up against it,” joked the proud Roscommon woman.

Read full coverage ahead of the Connacht Football Final in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway not getting its fair slice of Government cake

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Galway County Buildings.

Galway County Council needs a bailout – because it is continually underfunded by central government…and not because of rapidly rising inflation.

Chief Executive Jim Cullen warned County Councillors this week that Galway County Council is the lowest funded local authority in the country per capita.

This underfunding, ongoing for years, was impacting on its capacity to deliver services in the county.

Mr Cullen said he was also concerned that cost inflation and rising cost of inputs, materials, fuel and energy were going to have an impact.

But he said that ‘the only bailout we need’ is a correction in the per capita funding it receives from central government.

He said “I don’t expect to get a bailout” to cover the cost of inflation, because it was impacting on all local authorities.

“If we do, that’s good,” he said.

But Mr Cullen urged County Councillors to ‘stay focused’ on the real financial problem facing the local authority historically and now, which was underfunding.

He said he has taken every opportunity to raise this issue with junior and senior ministers who visit Galway, including most recently Environment Minister Eamon Ryan.

He signalled it involved a fairer distribution and retention of the money raised in the county through Local Property Tax.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Drugs feud boils over with pipe bomb attack

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TWO arson attacks on houses in Ballinasloe over the past week – one of them involving a pipe bomb – are believed to be part of a feud related to drugs.

Both incidents occurred in the Hymany Park area of the town with a pipe-bomb used in the first one which took place shortly after 2am on the Friday morning of May 20 last.

The pipe bomb was set off at the front door of the house which had one occupant when the attack occurred – the man did not suffer any injury in the incident.

However, extensive damage was caused to the front of the house with a door and window destroyed – Gardaí have described the use of a pipe bomb as ‘very worrying’.

In what could be a related incident, another house in the Hymany Park was the target for an arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning last.

A fire accelerant – possibly petrol – was splashed onto the front door of the house at around 4am which was then set alight. The damage is understood to have been confined to the front door area.

A Garda spokesperson issued an appeal for anyone with information in relation to either incident – or who may have relevant dash cam or camera footage – to make contact with them.

“Both incidents were highly reckless, but we are particularly concerned at the use of an explosive pipe-bomb device in the first one.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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