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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

Breaking News

26 new cases in Galway, 1372 nationally and 7 further deaths

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 7 additional deaths related to COVID-19.

All of these deaths occurred in January.

The median age of those who died is 77 years and the age range is 43-94 years.

There has been a total of 2,977 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

As of midnight, Sunday 24th January, the HPSC has been notified of 1,372 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 188,923* confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland. 

Of the cases notified today:

  • 616 are men / 751 are women
  • 56% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 41 years old
  • 502 in Dublin, 164 in Cork, 77 in Wexford, 75 in Waterford, 66 in Louth and the remaining 488 cases are spread across all other counties. 

As of 2pm today, 1,905 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 219 are in ICU. 58 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.

ENDS//

*Validation of data at the HPSC has resulted in the denotification 3 confirmed cases. The figure of 188,923 confirmed cases reflects this.

Today’s cases, 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population and new cases in last 14 days (as of midnight 24 January 2021) (incidence rate based on Census 2016 county population)

CountyToday’s cases(to midnight 24Jan2021)5-Day Moving Average of New Cases~(to 24Jan2021)14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population(to 24an2021)New Cases during last 14 days(to 24Jan2021)
Ireland1,372 1,926 766.2 36,486
Monaghan53 52 1,485.7 912
Mayo34 52 1,213.7 1,584
Louth66 82 1,151.4 1,484
Waterford75 76 990.7 1,151
Carlow9 28 978.4 557
Wexford77 81 905.7 1,356
Dublin502 673 862.7 11,624
Limerick36 73 829.1 1,616
Galway26 80 813.0 2,098
Cavan11 30 766.6 584
Donegal18 57 739.4 1,177
Meath45 84 733.7 1,431
Offaly33 38 705.5 550
Cork164 180 703.3 3,818
Kildare45 79 649.4 1,445
Laois25 24 628.1 532
Tipperary33 47 583.5 931
Clare23 28 583.2 693
Roscommon<5 11 545.4 352
Wicklow25 43 469.0 668
Kilkenny14 19 443.4 440
Westmeath17 23 417.9 371
Sligo12 21 415.0 272
Kerry15 26 403.5 596
Longford9 13 384.1 157
Leitrim<5 6 271.5 87
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Breaking News

Increase in Pandemic Unemployment Payment recipients across Galway

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There’s been an increase in the number of people across Galway set to claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment tomorrow.

Just over 25 thousand will receive the payment – that’s an increase of around 800 since this time last week.

Nationally, 475,000 will receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week – a slight increase on the figure for last week.

The sector with the highest number of people receiving the payment this week is accommodation and food services, which accounts for over 111,500 people.

It comes following todays reports that 4 in 10 workers in Kerry, Donegal, Dublin, Louth, Wexford and Carlow are in receipt of state income supports.

While the figure for Galway stands at 20 percent.

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Standard of infrastructure at UHG creating challenges with COVID-19 outbreaks in wards

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Chief Clinical Director at the Saolta Hospital Group has raised concerns over the level of outbreaks in hospital wards at UHG due to the standard of infrastructure.

At a COVID-19 briefing this afternoon, Professor Pat Nash told city councillors the infrastructure at ground and first floor levels of UHG has created challenges with outbreaks of the infection.


Professor Pat Nash said there has been multiple outbreaks on wards with a disease strain that appears to be much more infectious.

The meeting heard there are a number of long wards with multiple beds where patients have one toilet.

He pointed to the newer wards such as the Shannon, Corrib and Claddagh where there had been no outbreaks due to the level of en-suite facilities.

Group Chief Operating Officer Ann Cosgrove told the meeting there are 109 COVID-19 patients at UHG today with 15 in ICU.

360 staff are absent having either contracted the virus or being identified as close contacts.

There are 8 COVID-19 patients at Portiuncula hospital with 4 in ICU and 23 staff absent.

The meeting heard there is now reduced non COVID activity at the hospitals with the exception of very urgent time dependent surgeries.

Saolta CEO Tony Canavan gave an update on the vaccination programme advising the first phase of vaccination for residents in long term care was completed on Sunday, with the second phase due to start shortly.

He said vaccines have also begun for frontline healthcare workers with hopes supply will increase significantly by mid-February.

The Saolta Chief said it’s hoped the heath worker rollout can then be completed with the over 70s in the community the next priority.

City councillors praised frontline healthcare workers for their dedication and hard work during this time and made calls to ensure mental health supports were made available to the sector.

The meeting also heard calls for private hospital support to be ramped up to ensure cancer patients and other urgent care requirements are addressed.

Professor Pat Nash the 30% capacity agreement was triggered last week and talks are ongoing with the Bons Secours and The Galway Clinic.

The meeting heard a lot of medical oncology inpatient treatment was being transferred to the Galway Clinic in the last week, while the group is also looking to get more access for scopes in the Bns Secours facility.

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