I’d say there has hardly been a year since I started writing about politics that I was not asked to do an end-of-year scorecard on Government ministers.
This is where you use your skill, judgment and a whole lot of hunch and instinct to deliver a verdict on how each and every Minister has performed, giving them marks out of ten.
It’s not the words that have the impact. It’s the scoring. Readers just love getting a definitive verdict, expressed as a score. We know this from the world of sport where player ratings have become standard after big matches.
On a more local level, we would never be as vulgar to start marking the hard-working and diligent politicians from Galway, south Mayo and Roscommon.
Rather we will give a quick summary of the kind of impact they have made. Being based in Dublin – and no longer being able to view the world from a desk in Market Street, Galway – this view is a Dublin-centric one, looking at how the politicians have performed nationally.
So instead in deference to the Olympics we will employ the Corinthian spirit and offer gold, silver and bronze medals. Note that a bronze medal is still a podium finish and doesn’t denote disapproval.
It should also be said that this Dáil has been like no other – it had taken months for it to find its feet. There has been scant legislation, and because of the convoluted arithmetic, most committees are not really up and running yet.
So here goes. We will award a bronze medal to Noel Grealish. Given the fact there was a second strong Independent candidate in Galway West he did well to hold on. He did get involved with the Rural Alliance but you could never see him being committed to entering a government arrangement. A constituency TD to his fingertips.
Bronze too to Hildegarde Naughton. She saw off a powerful party rival in John O’Mahony in a constituency where Fine Gael was not guaranteed two seats.
She has been quiet on a national level. She is new but that has not prevented others from leading on issues. She is a member of the committee on the future of the health services and may take a prominent role there.
The third bronze goes to Ciaran Cannon who did really well winning reelection in a reduced constituency. He seems to be out of favour with the party leadership at the moment and does not have a prominent role. Has been quiet since the election.
The final bronze goes to Eugene Murphy. Fianna Fáil messed around finding a candidate. They finally settled on Murphy, a nice guy and a hard worker, although low key. There were clearly nerves judging by the late addition of Shane ‘Cake’ Curran to the ticket. But Murphy came through. He has settled and even taken on Paul Murphy but has yet to make a major mark.
To find out who gets silver and who gets gold – if anyone – see this week’s Tribune here.
■ Harry McGee is political correspondent of The Irish Times. You can find him on Twitter: @harrymcgee
The Herbal Academy’s leading course on living a healthy life
There has already been a phenomenal upsurge in the use of holistic treatments to deal with a whole host of common ailments – but a Galway herbalist and educator has now taken this to the next level.
Because Tuam-based Patrick Murphy – owner and founder of the Herbal Academy – believes that that anyone can learn to make and use herbal remedies at home, for their own wellbeing and that of their families and clients.
Which is the ethos behind the Herbal Academy as an institute of alternative medicine for the general public, delivering a variety of courses completely online to allow for remote learning.
The courses offered at the academy, designed by Patrick, were produced during the lockdown months – and now the work is ready to be presented to the public.
The Herbal Academy itself was developed to use a unique blend of Western Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine to learn how to create a range of holistic treatments for common ailments.
And, as Patrick points out, all of this can be safely used alongside medical treatments, if necessary.
His philosophy in his work is to ‘cleanse, nourish and heal’ – and that is woven through the course material, which he has written and which is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
It’s the latest career evolution for Patrick Murphy, who as the Skin Herbalist, provided his first herbal remedies to his patients back in 1995 – with good results.
Then as different ailments emerged in his patients, he would accommodate them by using new herbal formulas, again with marked success. These formulas worked well with subsequent patients that they became standard.
His true philosophy is ‘getting to the root cause of the disorder’, helping him to create healing tonic herbals. These herbs help the body overcome disease by strengthening through cleansing and nourishing.
Patrick’s ultimate vision is to cleanse and nourish so the body can heal, using wild crafted, organic herbs.
The Herbal Academy itself has a comprehensive mission statement.
It aims ‘to empower energy, wellbeing, and confidence, physically and mentally by imparting knowledge of healing, nourishing, and cleansing the body using natural, organic, earth-sourced sustainable herbs and supplements that focus on treating the root causes of ailments rather than just the symptoms’.
The Academy offers three courses – the Foundation Course; Herbal Home Remedies, and Colour Therapy.
Material on the Foundation Course is aimed to provide the basics in herbalism, that students can recognize and devise effective herbal treatments for themselves and others and to educate themselves in how to use herbal remedies for first aid use and how to use alongside mainstream medical treatments.
Participants will also gain the knowledge of distinguishing between supplements and their properties as well as learning to make their own effective herbal treatments for a range of common ailments including common colds, IBS and various skin conditions.
Those studying Herbal Home Remedies will learn of the herbal remedies available to treat an array of situations such as insomnia, infections, rashes, coughs, digestive issues, stings/bites, bruises, and joint problems amongst many others.
Students will learn to prepare these remedies using a range of fruits, spices, oils, and herbs-all ingredients that are completely natural and have been used and relied on for centuries to promote wellbeing and vitality.
Colour Therapy is used as part of medical practice for hundreds of years, colour therapy is an important element in the holistic approach to complimentary health practice.
In this course, people will identify and understand the need for certain colour themes in their lives and how to use it for healing, good health, relaxation and protection as well as learning how to use this therapy to compliment other therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology and aromatherapy.
“The Herbal Academy is delivered completely through online learning. No prior experience is necessary,” says Patrick Murphy.
“The courses can be accessed on the website instantly and offers a payment plan to spread the cost if needed. Upon completion, students will receive accredited certificates for each course.
“We have a special limited time offer in place from now until September 30 – if you order the Foundation Herbal Medicine Course, you get the Colour Therapy and Healing for free.”
Patrick also has his own herbal dispensary, stocking herbal remedies from highly reputable organic herbal suppliers. Mainly organic, bio dynamic and fresh herb tinctures are stocked.
Dried herbs which are always organic where possible, as well as pessaries, capsules and specifically made up creams, are also dispensed, when required.
Patrick helps people with common ailments such as arthritis, asthma, acne, eczema, Fibromyalgia, ME, constipation, digestive problems, heartburn, acid reflux, back pain, menopause and more.
We’re on the move – but we’re going nowhere!
This week marks the end of one major chapter in the history of the Connacht Tribune – and the start of a new one.
Because this is the last edition of this proud old newspaper to be produced from the Market Street offices where we’ve been from the Tribune’s inception in 1909.
From next week, we will be working from our new state-of-the-art offices in Liosban Business Park – or at least those not working remotely because of Covid restrictions will.
But while we’re on the move, in truth we’re going nowhere – because we are committed to covering everything that goes on in Galway now as our predecessors were back in 1909.
And by deploying the latest in technological advances, we aim to make that an even smoother journey from the source of the story to your homes and workplaces every week.
These are troubled times, not just for newspapers, but for all businesses; so this investment in a new base – complete with cutting-edge technology – is a real investment in our future and a vote of confidence in our staff and readers.
Covid has tested every one of us, not just in Galway or indeed in Ireland, but across the globe; we’ve seen such loss of life and such threat to livelihoods – and perhaps there’s much more to come.
But while we leave Market Street with memories and sadness, we also look forward to the brighter days ahead – as we do what we always did, which is to provide all the news, sport, features, entertainment and more as our colleagues have done over more than 110 years.
It’s the end of one chapter for sure, and the beginning of another – but this is a story that we know will just run and run.
Students asked to steer clear of house parties
Students returning to Galway for the start of the new term later this September have been urged to avoid house parties to help lower the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.
The HSE has said that the majority of confirmed cases in the West in the past two weeks were linked to socialising.
The latest mini ‘surge’ of infection in Galway, though better than the national average, was worrying, according to Director of Public Health Dr Breda Smyth.
“We have been growing incrementally at a very low rate but at a steady pace. In the West we’ve been doing well in our overall 14-day incidence rate compared to national levels but even withstanding that we are seeing an increase and it has started since late August.
“It has been rising slowly and in the last two weeks in particular we’ve seen a surge,” she said.
Dr Smyth said third level institutes have initiatives in place to reduce the spread of infection.
“But once again what we have seen and will continue to see is that if students congregate in crowded areas – so, high volumes of house parties and socialisation, which is reducing social distancing – then there’s a high risk that we will start to see outbreaks in that community. It is important that students do also take personal responsibility while at college to reduce the risk of outbreaks,” she said.
For full story – and Covid-19 coverage – see this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in all shops now. Or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie