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Connacht Tribune

Dishing out the medals to west’s political Olympians

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Sean Canney, Anne Rabbitte and Ciaran Cannon. Which of these Political Olympians will get Gold, Silver or Bronze from Harry McGee?

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

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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