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Connacht Tribune

End of Good Friday ban leaves Christmas the last man standing

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A couple of the recent storm warnings saw polarised reactions from two distinct age groups – while those of us of a certain vintage stocked up on candles and coal, a younger generation emerged from the supermarkets laden down with slabs of beer and bottles of spirits.

And, to avoid allegations of revisionism, we were those soldiers a couple of decades ago. After all, you had no need for artificial light if you already knew where your mouth was.

Even now, older adults often find themselves stuck with this desperate thirst on occasion – although, as of recent weeks, at least one of the famines is over.

The Dáil’s decision to allow the sale of alcohol on Good Friday brings down one of the last symbols of a bygone age – or what we might have once called Catholic Ireland.

Never mind no drink on Good Friday, there wasn’t a drop to be easily had for all of Lent. And just in case you might be tempted, there was no dancing either.

Then again, good Catholics didn’t eat meat on any Friday, which in hindsight probably aided the popularity growth of fish fingers; because honestly you could think of no other reason.

Our forebears weren’t gripped by the need for 24-hour shopping either; not alone did stores close in the early evening, but most provincial towns threw in a half day a week where they didn’t re-open after lunchtime.

And funnily enough, nobody starved. Normal opening hours seemed entirely sufficient to get all of the groceries any family could ever need.

The Good Friday drink ban had its roots firmly in Church teaching and the reality now is that those who see this abstinence as integral to their religion can steer clear – but those who want to fill their gills with the demon drink can do so all day long.

My guess is that the sale of drink for and on Good Friday will actually go down.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Key moves on animal transport get the nod

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MEP Billy Kelleher: Key amendments passed.

LOCAL and national farm representatives have welcomed the adoption of amendments proposed by an Irish MEP in relation to the transportation of live animals across the EU.

The amendments proposed by Munster Fianna Fáil Munster MEP, Billy Kelleher, means less severe restrictions will apply in relation to calf and pregnant animal travel.

In 2020, the European Parliament set up an ANIT (Committee of Inquiry into Animal Transport) to investigate alleged violations of EU animal transport rules.

The Committee concluded that EU provisions in the area of animal transport were not always complied with in member states and did not fully take into account ‘the different needs of animals’.

Last week, MEPs voted by 557 to 55 (78 absentions) supporting new measures to address animal travel issues, including lack of headroom, water and food supplies, animals for travel being transported, and overcrowding.

However, a number of Irish MEPs led by Billy Kelleher proposed two amendments to the proposals, which were accepted in the overall vote in the European Parliament.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam students have warm welcome for Eddie, the Labrador who is already top of the class

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Eddie the dog, Tuam's Mercy Convent newest addition.

A North Galway school has unveiled their newest member – Eddie, the three-year-old Labrador dog.

The new canine recruit works as a therapy, or education, aid for students in Mercy Secondary School, Tuam – and he has already been a huge hit with students.

Scoil Bhride Principal Gearoid Leen has described the dog as an essential part of the learning process within the school.

The pure-bred Labrador is one of just eight community dogs that have been assigned to schools across the country.

This week, the new arrival was introduced to students and parents as part of the learning process. The presence of the dog relaxes students and, apparently, helps with their concentration.

Eddie’s fourth birthday is on March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day – and, such is his instant popularity, the students have a special celebration in mind.

The newest addition to the secondary school has been trained by the Irish Guide Dogs Association and Eddie, along with his trained handlers Sarah Molloy and Catherine Murphy, now becomes part of the essential learning process within the school.

The Labrador and his handlers work alongside the teachers and educational staff in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions.

Together, Eddie and his handlers participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Parents have responded positively to the new arriva, saying that more schools should try and apply for the scheme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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

Food for the soul

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Chef Martin Ruffley

Lifestyle – Friends Anna King and Martin Ruffley have joined forces to write a unique book based on Martin’s life story. Built around recipes which Martin, a chef and lecturer at GMIT, has created it covers his journey from alcoholism to sobriety and explains how cooking helps him to live in the moment. They tell JUDY MURPHY how it evolved. 

Watching chef Martin Ruffley preparing food was something that intrigued Anna King.

“When he’s cooking, he moves from this hyperactive personality to being peaceful and in the flow. He gives so much of his heart and soul when he’s cooking. It’s a mindful experience,” she says.

As someone whose background is in mindfulness and meditation, with a life-long interest in sustainable food production, Anna was intrigued by how the art of cooking transformed her friend. He agrees.

“When I’m cooking I focus completely on what I’m doing.”

The discussions they’ve had about this and about Martin’s journey from alcoholism to sobriety form the basis of a new book which they’ve co-authored.

Rekindling the Fire: Food and the Journey of Life is Martin’s story, but Anna has brought her writing skills to bear in how the narrative unfolds in this glorious publication, with photos by Julian Dunin and Professor Chaosheng Zhang,

At the heart of the book are Martin’s recipes, grouped together to create seven menus – each forming a chapter.

The first three chapters document his descent into alcoholism and the final four, his life since becoming sober at the age of 44.

But, while it’s listed under the ‘cookery’ genre by booksellers,  this book defies genres. That’s intentional, explains Anna.

“It’s a creative experience and with a view to supporting and helping communities in the way we view alcoholism. Alcoholism isn’t about an individual it’s about people and support and the lack of it.”

“We won’t make a fortune out of it and retire to Italy,” says Martin with a laugh. “That’s not why we’re doing it. If I can help one person who is suffering from addiction, I’ll be happy.”

Anna praises Martin for expressing his vulnerability in the book, while he stresses that, without his trust in her, it wouldn’t have happened.

“I felt such a connection with Martin’s story on many levels,” Anna explains.

And it’s pretty extraordinary.

Born in Bohermore 64 years ago, Martin left school at 13 and trained as a glass-blower at Galway Crystal. When he as was made redundant a few years later, due to the import of cheaper glass, he joined the Army School of Catering and trained as a chef. The Army gave him a good life and he honed his craft during the 21 years in its ranks. He also saw service overseas, with three tours of Lebanon in the 1980s and one in Bosnia in the late 1990s.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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