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Connacht Rugby stars are on the ball for Ability West



Members of the Connacht Rugby Team were on hand to launch ‘Be Our Guest at Ability West’, an awareness initiative by Galway based Ability West, which provides services for people with intellectual disabilities.

The players enjoyed the open door and warm welcome from the service users and staff of Ability West, an invitation which is being extended to the public throughout the county.

The ‘Be Our Guest at Ability West’ campaign aims to invite the public to visit the services provided by Ability West to people with disabilities in local communities.

By holding open days and various events throughout the coming weeks and months, Ability West wish to demonstrate to the public the high quality of services, care and supports provided by Ability West.

“The idea is simple, but very important,” explained Breda Crehan-Roche, CEO of Ability West.

“We are urging the public to become a part of our community and see for themselves the happy homes, day services and high standards we enjoy here in Ability West.

“We want to invite our neighbours into our homes and services, to build community networks and to promote that valuable community spirit.

“Ability West values community engagement and involvement and since our inception in 1962, we have always provided services within local communities.

“The vision of Ability West is dedicated to enabling people with intellectual disabilities, to realise their dreams and ambitions and to assist each person to reach their full potential and take their rightful place in society,” she added.

Connacht Rugby lock Aly Muldowney, who is also a board member of Ability West, said he and the other players were delighted to be part of this campaign.

“I’ve seen first-hand the fantastic services delivered by Ability West and I think it’s great the wider community will get the same opportunity,” he said.

Ability West provides services and supports to over 520 individuals with an intellectual disability throughout Galway City and County.

Various coffee mornings, tea parties, art exhibitions and craft sales will be taking place throughout the county in the coming weeks.

To see what’s happening near you visit Ability West’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter @abilitywest or email

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run



A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda



Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway



Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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