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Donal Lyons likely to be new Mayor of Galway

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The winds of change which swept through local politics last weekend are unlikely to see a change in the power structure at Galway City Council where Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and former Progressive Democrats have held a Mayoral pact for the past five years. But, if pact holds firm, poll-topping Knocknacarra Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) looks poised to be elected the new Mayor of Galway.
Although Sinn Fein and Independent candidates made significant gains in last Friday’s local elections, the ruling pact would have ten of the 18 seats on the expanded local authority if negotiations prove successful this weekend. If the pact holds firm, poll-topping Knocknacarra Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) – the only “ex-PD” not to serve as Mayor in the outgoing council – can expect to be elected first citizen when the new City Council meets for the first time next Friday.
However, an edict from Fine Gael HQ in Dublin, that party members should form alliances with Labour colleagues where possible – following a disastrous election for the Government parties – could yet scupper Lyons’ chances of becoming first citizen. Fine Gael, whose number of seats rose from three to four despite a fall in support, could forge an alliance with Labour (and others) in the coming days – although Labour’s bargaining power has diminished alarmingly after the party lost three of its five seats last weekend.
Negotiations have been delayed because of a tragic death during an election celebration at Crowe’s Bar, Bohermore, last Sunday night, which occurred after brothers Ollie and Michael Crowe retained their seats on the council for Fianna Fail. The Galway City Tribune understands that Cllr Declan McDonnell will enter negotiations on behalf of fellow Independents Terry O’Flaherty and Donal Lyons. Newly-elected Mike Cubbard and Noel Larkin could also form an alliance with the former PDs. “If the previous pact came together again it would be enough to make a majority on the council,” said Cllr Lyons. “The pact worked well in the past five years and saw out the full five year term.”

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Help at hand for hand-pressed families this Christmas

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SVP Galway area President Séamus McManus.

Galway people struggling to cover the cost of Christmas have been urged to seek help from the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

The SVP Galway area’s network of 27 conferences is experiencing a surge in requests for help with food, energy and heating bills as the cost-of-living soars – but Galway area President Séamus McManus insisted help was at hand.

“There is hope out there, and there is help available for people in trouble. We might not be able to do everything but we can help, especially coming up to Christmas.

“Imagine a Christmas that is cold and hungry? That would be no Christmas at all, so we have help. We want people to at least enjoy those few days of Christmas,” Mr McManus said.

SVP said it was “deeply concerned” by new Central Statistics Office data which showed a sharp rise in households going without essentials such as nutritious food, adequate heating and clothing; up by 184,000 to 875,000 people nationally compared with 2021.

SVP nationally is getting an average of 800 calls per day, which is up about 20% on last year. This is mirrored in Galway city and county, too, Mr McManus said.

“We’ve had some heart-breaking requests where the main breadwinner had a serious diagnosis and it meant their whole life has been thrown into turmoil; they can’t pay rent, they can’t pay ordinary family living expenses.

“We’ve also had students with mental health issues who have had to pull out of college and lose their SUSI grants and they’re left high and dry. We’ve had people with relationship breakdown, where maintenance wouldn’t be forthcoming and they’re left in a precarious position,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Professor on taking the reins as country’s top doc

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Chief Medical Officer, Breda Smyth.

Three weeks after Professor Breda Smyth was appointed Ireland’s interim Chief Medical Officer (CMO), the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

It proved a baptism of fire for Tony Holohan’s successor, who already had the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in her in-tray.

But the Mayo native, who lives in Galway, took it all in her stride.

“It’s a significant responsibility. I am taking it one step at a time,” said the country’s first female CMO.

And in fairness, it’s not like she’s wet round the ears when it comes to strategising for infectious diseases.

Professor Smyth may be best known outside of medical circles in Galway for her traditional Irish musical talents, but she was also the public face of the Covid-19 pandemic as HSE West Director of Public Health.

Through that HSE role, which she held for 13 years, she became a member of NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team) that advised Government on how to steer the country through the pandemic; as well as being a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Rapid Testing, and a founding member of the Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.

That experience stood to her since becoming interim CMO in July, which progressed to a permanent position in October.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Former Minister slams ‘rotten and corrupt’ IFI

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Senator Sean Kyne.

By Dara Bradley

A Galway Senator has slammed Inland Fisheries Ireland as ‘rotten and corrupt’ – and Fine Gael’s Seán Kyne has threatened to use parliamentary privilege to highlight what he labelled as ‘issues of corruption’ within IFI.

Senator Kyne is a former Minister of State with responsibility for natural resources, which encompassed IFI which itself is responsible for the protection of waters, including Lough Corrib. Speaking in the Seanad last Thursday, he referenced a review that was commissioned by the Minister for the Environment, Climate Action and Communications, Eamon Ryan, into the functioning of the board of IFI.

A report by senior counsel Conleth Bradley concluded last July and was sent to the Department and to IFI before being published on November 7.

Senator Kyne said he has read the report, which used legalese to conclude: “There is not a basis, from the alleged disclosures and the information and documentation which have been reviewed, for the Minister to be satisfied that the functions of IFI are not being performed in an effective manner such as to give effect to the removal of all members of IFI from office.”

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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