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Campaign launched to save rural bus stops in Galway

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A campaign has been launched to save rural bus stops in Galway which have been axed by Bus Eireann.
It follows changes to the firm’s Route 20 from Galway to Dublin which has ommitted a number of stops including Kilrickle in Loughrea and Derrydonnell near Oranmore.
Bus Eireann says its Expressway services are not state funded and decisions must be made on a commercial basis.
The National Transport Authority has said it will look at options to try and meet demand in communities affected by the cuts.
Meanwhile, County Councillors recently voted for the local authority to write to Bus eireann to urge the company to re-instate the stops.
Tune in at 12 to hear Jackie Flannery, a daily commuter from Kilrickle to Athlone who has started a campaign to save the affected bus stops.

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Keynote Award for Galway Business in the inaugural Digital Business Ireland National Digital Awards 2020

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – A Galway business and a Craughwell native have picked up major awards at the Digital Business Ireland – Permanent TSB National Digital awards for 2020

Over 300 businesses and individuals entered the awards series across 13 categories with the finalists gathering for the virtual awards ceremony hosted by broadcaster Jonathan Healy yesterday evening.

During the virtual event, viewers saw the prestigious and coveted National Website of the Year Award go to Galway company, Spotlight Oral Care with Dublin Airport taking the Runner-up spot.

Galway was also represented among the winners of the awards celebrating Ireland’s top digital talent.

Galway native Ashley McDonnell from Craughwell, who works for international fashion retailer Puig, won the Next Generation Award aimed at under 30’s.

Secretary General of Digital Business Ireland, Lorraine Higgins, said, “We were delighted to recognise seventy outstanding businesses and people in the finals of the 2020 Digital Awards series. Selecting the winners proved to be a genuinely difficult task in light of the exceptional quality and high standard of the entries.

With numerous standout submissions, the expert judging panel had an exceptionally difficult task. The passion and perseverance of businesses in Ireland was consistent throughout and we were thrilled to reward their hard work and endeavour at our virtual event.”

“The growing importance of digital capability in business is crucial to meet the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, as new channels are developed for customers to access goods and services.

So many of the entrants in the Digital Awards demonstrated cutting-edge innovation and as such, have played a key role in keeping our economy open amid the various restrictions.

Their resilience in the face of the extreme disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is simply inspiring.”

“On behalf of all at Digital Business Ireland, the members and partners, I want to thank all three hundred entrants for getting involved in the process.

We would also like to extend our our heartiest of congratulations to those businesses, innovators and industry professionals who have been awarded across the thirteen categories and encourage those that did not to learn from the process and enter again next year.”

Head of Business Banking at permanent tsb Mags Brennan said “We, at permanent tsb, are delighted to partner with Digital Business Ireland for this year’s inaugural Digital Awards and in particular as sponsors of the Website of the Year category. 

It is clear from the quality and standard of finalists across all Award categories that digital is now a critical capability and key to the way we now do business in Ireland. 

Permanent tsb is committed to supporting businesses in our communities and our partnership with Digital Business Ireland allows us to reward and recognise the very best in digital businesses.  Congratulations to all the winners and runners up.”

Among the other winners announced at the virtual Awards evening are An Post, Fáilte Ireland, Pinergy, LuLu+ Belle, Nami Naturale, Batch, McElhinneys, Dogpatch Labs, social media influencer Louise Cooney, Colin Meagle of the Continuum Group and Niamh Tallon of HerSport.ie.               

The runners up include Triona Design, Harvey Norman, Inish Pharmacy, Jump Juice Bars, Beauty Buddy, HatchHouse Digital, LoyLap, Boxworks Co.Work.Space, Devan Hughes of Buymie, Samantha Kelly AKA Tweeting Goddess, Alice Goodwin of Core Optimisation and Fiona Daly of Codec.

Sponsors of the category Awards include Campion Insurances Ltd, Codec, Grouper Technology, Hikari Data Solutions, humm, .IE, Olive Group, Open Out, Lewis Silkin and Magico.

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Galway Senator says the process for the reimbursement of medicines for rare diseases needs to be reformed

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Fine Gael Senator and Member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Seán Kyne, has said the process for the reimbursement of medicines for rare diseases needs to be reformed given the lengthy delays in making new medicines available here.

Senator Kyne was speaking in advance of Rare Disease Day, which takes place tomorrow (Sunday), and aims to raise awareness of such illnesses and their impact on patients and their families.

Senator Kyne said: “The differences in the length of time that it takes to reimburse the cost of new medicines for rare diseases are worrying.

“In Ireland for example, it takes on average just over three years for the successful reimbursement of new medicines for rare diseases that are designated by the EU as ‘orphan medicinal products’. In contrast however it takes on average less than four months in Germany.”

Senator Kyne continued: “There are approximately between 6,000 and 8,000 rare diseases globally with anywhere between six and eight per cent of the population affected at some point in their lives. This means that between 280,000 and 320,000 people in Ireland will be affected by a rare disease at some point. However, only about 5% of rare diseases have a licenced treatment option.

“A Technology Review Committee for Rare Diseases, as recommended by the National Rare Disease Plan for Ireland, was appointed in late 2018 with responsibility for reviewing proposals received from industry or expert groups in Ireland for funding of new products for rare diseases.

“The Committee meets in response to requests for assessment of new products for rare diseases or expanded indications for existing products for rare diseases.

“However, it is my opinion that the current system for the reimbursement of new medicines in Ireland stacks the odds against the reimbursement of new medicines for rare diseases.

“The system is heavily focused on examining quantitative data such as large clinical trials. Such a focus makes it more difficult for medicines to treat rare diseases because by their very nature each disease only impacts a small number of people. 

“In addition, the threshold in Ireland for measuring the cost effectiveness of a new medicine, in the context of its ability to improve the quality of life or extend life, is set at €45,000. This threshold can seldom be achieved by medicines designed to treat rare diseases.”

Senator Kyne concluded: “We need to examine the reimbursement system in countries like Germany where new medicines, and especially medicines to treat rare diseases, are reimbursed much faster and are available to patients much sooner.

“It is also incumbent on pharma companies to work with Government to set a fair and reasonable price for their potentially life-saving products.

“The HSE Service Plan states that approximately €2.4bn is paid by the HSE each year to drug companies. This equates to 12% or nearly one in every eight euro invested in running our health and social care services.

“The speedy development of vaccines for Covid-19, which has taken place without sacrificing rigorous research into safety and effectiveness, shows that is possible to test new medicines and provide a decision on reimbursement much sooner.

“In the development of its work plan for this year, I have requested that the Oireachtas Health Committee examine this issue to help bring about the reform that’s needed.”

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Disposable income per person in Galway drops by 7% over 10 year period

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Disposable incomes per person in Galway dropped by 7% over a 10 year period.

According to the latest CSO figures, individual incomes fell from an average of €20,717 in 2008 to €19,226 in 2018.

Galway is one of only nine counties in which disposable incomes fell over the period.

Nationwide average incomes per person fell by just 2% between 2008 and 2018.

Meanwhile, average individual incomes increased by almost 18% in Dublin and 17% in Kildare from 2009 to 2018.

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