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CITY TRIBUNE

Counting the cost of a Galway City Council seat

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Candidates vying for seats on Galway City Council in May’s local election collectively spent nearly €120,000 on the campaign trail, newly-published figures show.

The 18 city councillors who were elected to City Hall, spent more than €62,000 on posters, election literature and leaflets, transport and travel, and advertising including social media.

A further €52,000 was spent by candidates who failed to get elected, among them Fine Gael councillors John Walsh and Pearce Flannery who lost their seats, despite spending more than €5,000 each on the campaign trail.

Three Sinn Féin councillors who also lost their seats – Mairéad Farrell, Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir – between them racked up spending of almost €8,500.

Of those who were elected, Fine Gael newcomer Clodagh Higgins was the candidate who pumped the most resources into her campaign, with a spend of €6,137. Each of her 811 first preference votes equated to a cost of €7.56 in election expenditure.

Fianna Fáil’s John Connolly, with a bill of just €1,251, spent the lowest amount of money of all successful councillors.

Mayor Mike Cubbard (Ind) got the most value per vote out of his local election spend – he spent €2,161 on electioneering, and won 1,292 first preferences, which works out at just €1.67 per vote. Only one candidate, Darius Ivan, in City West, spent absolutely nothing – and garnered just 30 first preferences.
This is a preview only. For extensive coverage and a full breakdown of election expenses and how they were paid for, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Three refused bail on violent disorder charges

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Longford Courthouse

Three men who were arrested this morning as part of a Garda investigation into violent disorder at a funeral in Mervue last year, have been denied bail by a District Court Judge.

Denis Hannafin, Curry; Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road – all in Longford – were charged with violent disorder in connection with an incident which occurred outside Holy Family funeral home on in January 13 last year.

Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told the court this morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family outside the funeral home on January 13, 2019, at approximately 3.15pm, when a number of members of the McGinley family made their way towards them.

An altercation ensued, which resulted in one member of the McGinley family suffering a gunshot wound, while another received a stab wound to the back. A third man suffered acid wounds.

Gardaí explained that there is a feud going on between the two families, which began when juvenile members of the families got into a fight at a pool hall.

Detective Leonard voiced concerns that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences and intimidate members of the McGinley family.

Judge Seamus Hughes had remanded the three accused in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday, February 28.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Three arrested in investigation into violent incidents outside church

Enda Cunningham

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Three men will appear in court this morning charged in relation to an number of incidents in Mervue last year. A man suffered a gunshot wound during one of the incidents. 

Gardaí in Longford arrested three males this morning in relation to incidents outside Mervue Church on January 13 last year.

The three males, two aged in their early 40s and the third in his late 30s are due to appear before Longford District Court this morning.

Following a funeral at the church, a man in his 30s received a gunshot wound to the leg and was treated in University Hospital Galway.

A second man in his late teens received a stab wound to the back and was taken to UHG for treatment.

A third man received minor injuries in an assault on Walter Macken Road.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mice the suspects in University Hospital Galway kitchen closure

Stephen Corrigan

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The Old Nurses’ Home at UHG. The kitchens are to the rear of this building.

The main production kitchen in University Hospital Galway has been closed since last Thursday as a result of suspected rodent activity – with patients and staff being kept in the dark as to the reason food options have been limited for the past week.

The Galway City Tribune understands that kitchen staff were called to a meeting on February 13 to inform them that there was an issue with gas, and as a result, the production kitchen would be closed until further notice.

Following this, staff at the hospital discovered a dead mouse on the premises on Sunday – resulting in the continued closure of kitchen facilities used to feed over 700 patients.

However, the majority of staff have not been officially informed of the real reason the closure had to be enforced – rumours are rife in the hospital with many now aware that it’s as a result of a possible mice infestation.

Eyebrows were raised by staff when it was suggested that an issue with gas supply was at the root of the problem, as the staff canteen in the Old Nurses’ Home has remained operational.

Throughout the week, food options available to patients have become further curtailed – with breakfast limited to cereals, while porridge is unavailable.

Lunches consist of pre-packed sandwiches and salads with tea or coffee, while patients on special diets are being catered for.

The only hot food being made available to patients is being cooked at Merlin Park University Hospital and being transferred across the city by van in evening rush hour.

As a result of this logistical nightmare, patients are receiving their first and only hot meal of the day just before 6pm each evening – anything between 45 minutes and an hour later than normal.

Sources in the hospital told the Tribune that staff from UHG are unable to enter the kitchen at Merlin Park until after 3pm as the kitchen there is run by HSE staff – UHG’s kitchen is run by Aramark, a private contractor.

One staff member who spoke to the Tribune said this incident had highlighted the serious lack of contingency planning in the hospital in relation to the preparation of food – pointing out that if there happened to be a particularly bad traffic snarl up, for example, patients would be left hungry.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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