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Connacht Tribune

Chasm of distrust remains between both communities

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Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill: potential Northern Ireland First Minister.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

If you look at the text of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement you will find that the bulk of the most bitter, the most divisive, and the most contentious issues were not really dealt with.

They were ‘parked’ to be dealt with at a later date. The biggest issue, of course, was decommissioning. That took seven long, exhausting and arduous years to sort out. But sorted out it was in 2005 when Séanna Walsh read out a statement from the IRA saying it was standing down.

Many of the other disputes have never really been sorted out – flags and emblems, the Irish language, North-South institutions – and are still ‘live’. Politics in the North is still defined by identity and the Tribe, with the preponderance of people voting along green or orange lines (although in less volumes with each succeeding election).

So many things have not been sorted out. There is still a chasm of distrust between both communities. Brexit has exacerbated divisions.

All those fudges are now almost a quarter of a century in existence without being sorted. Yes, it is imperfect. But it’s still infinitely better than what went before.

I had a quick check back to see the last time I wrote a substantive piece about the North in this column. It was April 2020, a full two years ago, and that was to mark the passing of John Hume, a colossus figure in Northern politics. The situation may be imperfect but that trumps violence every day of the week.

The Assembly elections this week might result in a historic shift in the North. For some that should have meant the end of sectarian-driven politics and a politics-as-usual scenario, where day-to-day issues such as cost-of-living, health services, education and infrastructure were debated.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Connacht Tribune

You’re A Star winner’s single shows she still shines brightly

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Lucia Evans...new release showcases her vocals and her songwriting.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Even now, when Lucia Evans’ name is mentioned, many still remember her as the 2006 winner of RTÉ’s You’re A Star – the TV talent show that garnered millions of views and, at the time, encapsulated the nation.  An outstanding vocalist and performer, the Galway-based artist has accomplished a broad and dynamic career since, collaborating with the likes of Sharon Shannon and Brian Byrne, and throwing herself into projects onstage.

What has been missing in the last decade of Lucia’s work is a catalogue of original material – but that is set to change.

This Friday, she releases Holding Onto the Fire, a piano-based ballad that showcases the power of her vocals as well as a vulnerability in her songwriting. It is a daunting step for someone who has largely shaped the creative visions of others in her work.

Lucia embarked on a writing project in 2019 and this single will see that effort come to fruition. The track itself dates back to 2020 so it has been on her mind for a long time.

“It’s just different,” she says of releasing her own work. “I suppose, with other projects, you’re taking somebody else’s baby on board and you’re really trying to get underneath the composer or visionary’s skin to see exactly what they’re trying to convey, and you do your best to do that.

“When it’s your own creation, I think the attachment is an awful lot deeper. There’s a degree of separation between yourself and a creation when you’re brought into something. When you’re the creator, it is a part of you.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Hard to tackle housing crisis with nebulous vacancy stats

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin...disputing vacancy stats.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics – which can make it really hard to get a handle on how many vacant homes there are in the State.

According to census data, from the Central Statistics Office there are 180,000 of them. However, that figure has been contested; GeoDirectory data puts it at 90,000.

Then several local authorities have done their own studies of their own. In one pilot study of three local electoral areas, Dublin City Council looked at 213 homes. It confirmed that 49 of those were vacant and only 16 were confirmed long-term. That was ten per cent of the total.

During the week the Oireachtas Housing Committee published a report on urban renewal – with some very powerful recommendations. What is of more interest is its findings.

One of the witnesses, architect Mel Reynolds, estimated there were 137,000 homes vacant based on census figures. While the committee did not adopt that figure, the media certainly ran with it.

We reported that a vacant home tax would be applied to 137,000 homes throughout the State – and the Government took issue with that. It contested the 137,000 figure, with even Taoiseach Micheál Martin saying it was too high.

The Department of Finance is now completing a report with its own estimate of vacancy. It’s basing its figures on the returns for the Local Property Tax. We can conclude that the extent of vacancy is far lower than 137,000.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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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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