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Connacht Tribune

DJ hangs up headphones to become full-time dad – in Canada

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Neil Molloy – better known as Molly on Galway Bay FM’s breakfast show – has hung up his headphones for now to become a full-time dad.

The broadcaster was still in something of a state of shock when he caught up with the Connacht Tribune this week.

“I’m used to getting up at 3.30am and being on the road by 4am. Today I am after going for a walk, having breakfast with my daughter and talking to friends on the phone. I’ve a little bit of an empty feeling. I’ve worked my entire life since I was 15 – it’s strange not being answerable to anyone.”

The native of Attymon came to the difficult decision to quit his very popular ‘Molly in the Morning’ breakfast show due to a confluence of personal circumstances.

His partner Leonora O’Brien founded and runs a software company called PharmaPod which reduces medication errors by pharmacists and doctors. Her job entails a great deal of travelling. And following a major take-up of the platform across pharmacies in Canada, the family decided the time was right to base themselves in Toronto for up to a year.

Neil said they had become ships in the night. He was doing a round trip of 340km each day commuting from Killucan, Co Westmeath.

By the time he returned home he was too exhausted to spend quality time with their daughter Fódhla, who is just 20 months.

“All she wanted was full-on daddy. It was getting to the stage that all I wanted was go to bed. I was going to bed the same time as babba,” he laughs.

Neil has been fronting Molly in the Morning since early 2015 with Ollie Turner. Their ratings have shot up from 12,000 to 24,000 in that short time, garnering them two national PPI radio awards, one for best entertainment inserts, the other for best comedy show.

Their sketch about Storm Emma featuring retired weatherman Gerald Fleming set to the 1990s Vanilla Ice hit ‘Ice Ice Baby’ attracted more than 200,000 views.

“I can safely say that I’ve never worked with anyone as good as Ollie before. He was very easy to bounce off. What I wanted on the show was to be a part of people’s lives in some way. The amount of text message we’ve got has been incredible, saying they loved us sharing our stories, so it’s clear we achieved that,” he muses.

“There’s not many jobs where you can be jumping around a studio every day. I loved getting the people of Galway on air – whether it was 80-year-old Bridie or a teenager.”

Neil started on Galway Bay FM 20 years ago as a broadcaster. He left to run the Hop Inn Pub in Athenry for ten years but the lure of the media never left him. He worked for a spell on Clare FM and starred as the character Martin Muff on the popular magazine show Republic of Telly.

He’s currently finishing filming on that show’s spin-off, Bridget & Eamon, playing Garda Paul.

He is not ruling out a return to radio at some stage. But for now his focus will be on raising baby Fódhla and settling into their new life in Canada – and where ever else life brings them.

“I’m glad I’m able to do it. This is the next step. Why wouldn’t I do it? It’s my own flesh and blood. It gives me a great chance to give the time that up to now I haven’t been able to give. I’m looking forward to a new chapter.”

‘Molly’ is being replaced by Alan Clarke who joins Ollie Turner on the breakfast slot.

To follow Molly on his journey you can add him as a friend on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or follow him on Instagram.

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Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base

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The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.

BY STEPHEN CORRIGAN
AND DARA BRADLEY

Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number

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Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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