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Connacht Tribune

Clifden set for 50-bed district hospital

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Plans for a new 50-bed district hospital and nursing home unit in Clifden have taken a major step forward this week, with the announcement that a design team has been appointed to the project.

The new unit, which will replace the existing district hospital and St Anne’s Community Nursing home, is to be constructed on the existing site of both facilities.

Welcoming the move, Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) said entering the design stage was significant as it meant the development would now progress through the process leading to planning permission and construction.

The TD for Galway West said the new unit was much needed, citing a HIQA Report that said the existing facilities were unable to meet the demands of patients.

According to Deputy Ó Cuív, the new unit will include specialised care beds that will be inter-changeable and available for use as required.

“I have been informed that a design team is currently progressing with drafting the design of the new unit.

“The site will include a ten-bed dementia specific unit as part of the 50-bed compliment in addition to the current respite bed compliment of two beds. These two beds will be inter-changeable between respite care and palliative care beds. All of the rooms in the new unit will be single-bedded ensuite rooms,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He believed this new facility would vastly improve the provision of healthcare for the elderly in the Clifden area – and would reduce the need for admissions to UHG, the nearest acute hospital.

“It has been confirmed to me that in order to facilitate clients remaining in their own home for as long as possible, in the Clifden catchment area and to avoid admission to the acute hospital in Galway, the administration of intravenous antibiotics will be part of the nursing provision in the new unit.

“In addition to the facilities, I am also advised that day care will be provided in the new unit,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

The Cornamona-based TD said that while this was welcome news, it would be a while yet before shovels enter the ground, as finalised designs and securing planning permission will take time – even though he didn’t anticipate any major planning problems.

However, he said the single-biggest threat to all capital projects nationwide was the massive overspend on the new National Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

“We must ensure that there are no negative consequences for the progress of this project due to the overspend at the National Children’s Hospital.

“It would be important or the Minister for Health to ensure that no such delays occur with projects needed urgently outside of Dublin because of this over-run,” said the former Minister.

“We’ll be making sure that the West doesn’t suffer because of they’ve run into problems in Dublin,” added Deputy Ó Cuív.

Connacht Tribune

Shannon back in full flight!

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Turlough O'Neill, Ryanair Base Captain at Shannon; Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine, and First Officer Virginie Blazin, pictured at Shannon Airport at the announcement of new services to Corfu and Gran Canaria.

There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.

The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.

All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.

Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.

To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.

A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.

Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks

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The Clockworks...supporting Pixies on September tour.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.

Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.

In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.

On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.

With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.

“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.

“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.

“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

All out in force to cheer home one of their own

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Fiona Murtagh…back home with her Olympic medal on Sunday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.

Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.

That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.

The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.

“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.

Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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