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Early speculation on who will fill empty city council seat

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – New Galway Senator Hildegarde Naughton has taken her seat in the Seanad just three days since she was appointed

The former Mayor of Galway and former Fine Gael city councillor was nominated by the Taoiseach on Friday to replace Dr Martin McAleese who resigned his seat earlier this year 

Her appointment has been widely seen as a revenge strike by Enda Kenny

The 36-year-old primary school teacher is expected to be on the Galway West Fine Gael ticket since stalwarts Deputy Brian Walsh and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames were expelled from the party for opposing the abortion laws

Speaking in the Seanad this afternoon, Senator Healy Eames said both she and Hildegarde share important local ties in their native Galway

Senator Naughton’s appointment didn’t find favour with Senator David Norris because during the Presidential Campaign, as Mayor of Galway, she denied him the right to address councillors

Among Senator Naughton’s first actions will be votes on the abolition of the Seanad tomorrow and the debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill

Away from Leinster House the Fine Gael focus in Galway will be the filling of her seat on the city council

Given the quick and shock nature of her elevation to the Seanad the party locally has no firm decisions made as yet

The new member will have to be co-opted to the Council, but it’s unlikely a person will have been selected by the time the Council reconvenes at the beginning of September.

Hildegarde Naughton, who was elected to the Council in 2009 and served as Mayor of Galway in 2011, represented Galway City West.

Mayor of Galway Padraig Conneely says local branches in that ward will probably now invite expressions of interest in the seat.

Former Councillor and Mayor of Galway, John Mulholland has not ruled out a return to politics if approached.

Hildegarde Naughton says that it’s very early days to suggest anyone who could replace her on the City Council

The nomination of Hildegarde Naughton to the Seanad will be an upset for Galway West T.D and former party colleague, Brian Walsh.

Brian was expelled from the party last week for voting against the Government’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

Hildegarde says she intends to run on the Fine Gael ticket in the next General Election, while Brian Walsh would have to run as an independent.

Hildegarde’s profile will be significantly boosted following her appointment to the Seanad and that’s likely to impact on Brian Walsh’s voter base in the city.

She says securing a seat in Dáil Éireann has always been her goal

It’s likely a selection convention will be held in September to choose a person to go forward at the October meeting of the City Council to be co-opted into Hildegarde’s seat

However, the 15 City Council seats will be up for contest when the local elections take place next year

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LISTEN: Germans return home to vote in Parliament elections

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https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/rcc9k8/KLAPP.mp3

Voting continues in Germany where people are choosing a new Parliament, which will not be lead by Angela Merkel.

She will be stepping down after 16 years, with state Governor Armin Laschet, Green Party rep Annalena Baerbock and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz vying for the role.

About 60 million people will cast their votes today, but no party is expected to come anywhere close to an outright majority.

Angela Merkel will remain as Chancellor until a coalition can be formed.

Many German citizens returned home so they could vote in the election.

Stephanie Klapp, who is from Kassel in the federal state of Hesse is a school teacher at ArdScoil Mhuire in Ballinasloe.

She flew back to Germany to vote this weekend. She told John Mulligan that the general feeling is that Olaf Scholz will be the next Chancellor:

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LISTEN: Tuam Stadium Development receives a boost with visit of Minister for Sport

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https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/v27rjj/moylan_tuambj4b0.mp3

Galway Bay FM Newsroom – The ongoing development of Tuam Stadium received a boost with the visit of Minister of Sport Jack Chambers yesterday.

Minister Chamber’s visit to Tuam stadium was one of a number of visits the Minister was making to venues in the West of Ireland over the past number of days and is seen as important as Tuam Stadium continues its development of the ground and surrounding areas.

The minister was accompanied by Chairman of infrastructure with Galway GAA John Moylan, Independent Galway East Deputies Sean Canney and Anne Rabbitte, Galway West Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv, Micheal Geraghty, Chairperson of the Tuam Stadium Committee and Sean Carter of the Development Advocates For Tuam Stadium as he was showed the work that has been done at the ground to date.

John Moylan explained what happened at the visit

Deputy Sean Canny said it was important to show the Minister what was happening at Tuam stadium

Deputy Anne Rabbitte said the visit was significant in showing the minister the positivity that surrounds the development

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Statement from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

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“Over the last few weeks, it has been heartening to see our young people across the island return to in-person learning in educational settings.

“The role education plays in our society is immense, and, throughout this pandemic, the necessary public health measures have been designed to protect this vital sector and the wider school community from the worst impacts of COVID-19.

“The resumption of in-person education was associated with a significant increase in the numbers of children referred for testing in recent weeks. This was entirely to be expected. We know that parents and teachers are doing an excellent job being mindful of symptoms and arranging tests as per the current public health advice. 

“Despite this increased testing, there has only been a relatively modest increase in the detection of cases in the school going age group. We have also seen the associated positivity rate recently decrease from 16% to 5% which is very reassuring.

“This is a credit to the infection prevention and control measures being implemented and adhered to by all members of our school communities and I would like to thank everyone who continues to play their part in adhering to the public health measures.

“Both nationally and internationally, the evidence tells us that schools are a low risk setting for the transmission of COVID-19 among school-going children and, as such, now is the right time to evolve our contact tracing approach, while maintaining the infection prevention and control measures in place in educational settings.

“As such, from tomorrow (Monday 27th September):

  • Contact tracing of close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education and testing of asymptomatic close contacts in childcare facilities and primary education will no longer be necessary.
  • Children aged 12 years or under, who are identified as close contacts in childcare and educational settings or other non-household settings and who are asymptomatic will no longer be required to routinely restrict movements.
  • Cases in Special Educational Needs settings, and respite care should have a Public Health Risk Assessment which may still require children to be identified as close contacts, be referred for testing and have their movements restricted.
  • Given the substantially higher risk of transmission in households as compared to any other setting, children aged 12 years or under, who are identified as household close contacts, will still be required to restrict movements and be tested, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • Public health advice remains that any child aged 12 years or under who displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should rapidly self-isolate, not attend childcare or school or socialise and follow all medical and public health guidance.

“Of course, it may take some time to adjust to this new advice for close contacts and if you have any concerns at all relating to symptoms of COVID-19 you should contact your GP and be guided by their advice. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will continue to monitor the trajectory of the disease.

“At this point in the pandemic, we are all very familiar with the public health advice that will continue to keep us safe, both in school and as we take part in all of the other hobbies and activities that are available to us.

“Vaccination remains our best means of protection against COVID-19. The vaccines available in Ireland are very safe and effective against COVID-19. If vaccination is available to you, then I strongly encourage you to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Continue to regularly wash hands, wear a mask when appropriate – particularly in retail settings, on public transport and in healthcare settings; keep your distance, open windows and ventilate indoor spaces.

“The most important action to take is – if you display symptoms of COVID-19 like cough, fever, fatigue, headache, or sore throat – isolate and contact your GP who will advise if you need to arrange a test.”

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