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Connacht Tribune

Crunching the Galway numbers ahead of General Election 2020

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Last time out... Galway East TDs Sean Canney, Anne Rabbitte and Ciaran Cannon pictured at Kiltiernan NS shortly after their election.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee|@gmail.com

Wasn’t it Tipp O’Neill, the US speaker of the House, who once said “All politics is loco”? Well, not quite. It was all politics is local. But there ain’t too much difference between them.

And now, with 2020 spreading out in front of us, I’m going both loco and local with predictions of how the Galway constituencies might pan out.

First to Galway West, the biggest constituency in the province. It was once Fianna Fáil heartland and a bit of a lonely outpost for Fine Gael. All that was reversed in 2011 and Fine Gael still holds an advantage here. I think that status quo will remain.

At the moment, there are two Fine Gael TDs, Sean Kyne and Hildegarde Naughton; one Fianna Fáil Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív; and two Independents, Catherine Connolly and Noel Grealish.

We can say a few things with near certainty. The first is that Éamon Ó Cuív will top the poll – and, of the five seats, one will go to Fianna Fáil, one will go to Fine Gael and there will be an Independent.

The irony in 2016 is that Fianna Fáil actually got a marginally higher share of the first preference vote than Fine Gael but ended up with only one seat. Both parties ran three candidates.

Fine Gael was helped by the fact that all three candidates were relatively even, where Fianna Fáil’s votes were very biased towards Ó Cuív rather than his colleagues, John Connolly and Mary Hoade.

Besides, Fianna Fáil picked up fewer transfers than any other party. If it has any hope of getting two elected, there will need to be a bit of levelling up, and Ollie Crowe will need to be much closer to Ó Cuív in first preferences.

I just don’t see that happening. The two Fine Gael TDs are strong and Naughton is one of those candidates who is a magnet for transfers.

As is Catherine Connolly, who more than doubled her votes during the fourteen counts to edge out Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. Given that she has performed solidly as a TD, she will be there or thereabouts again.

Sinn Féin came within a whisker of a seat in 2016, but it’s hard to see them in contention this time – but the Greens are coming into this in optimistic mood.

Pauline O’Reilly was elected to the west ward of Galway City Council on the first count, one of two Green councillors in the city.

And given the Green surge, she has a fair chance of a seat, but would need to gouge into the vote share of Connolly and Naughton if she were to be successful.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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