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European elections offer little prospect of a Galway winner

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Euro candidate?...former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

The European elections may be six months away but they’re front and centre for the political parties who have been thinking – nay obsessing – about them for some months now.

That’s despite the reality that the Euros are second-tier elections – and I’d say if you went around the streets of any town or village in Galway, people would struggle with the names of four MEPs for the sprawling Midlands North West constituency.

As to what MEPs do, for most people that’s a mystery that’s beyond the powers of even Hercule Poirot.

Unlike the Dáil, it’s not a legislature in the sense we think of it – at least the Dáil decides on the laws that govern Irish society.

For years the European Parliament was a glorified talking shop. It has more powers now but remains very much subservient to the European Commission (the EU’s Ministers or Commissioners) and the EU Council (the ultimate decision-making body, made up of prime ministers).

MEPs also have a very generous salary and expenses package, something that was highlighted during Liada Ní Riada’s presidential campaing.

So why all the interest? Well there is Brexit, but it’s not really the biggie for parties as far as this election is concerned. Sure, all the parties want to copperfasten their EU credentials, even EU-critical parties like Sinn Féin and EU critics like Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

Parties see most value in the elections for domestic reasons. A good European election can boost morale in a party that has taken a battering in a general election. It can also boost the profile of the party or candidate.

The best example that comes to mind is Fine Gael winning five seats in 2004 – on the back of a huge campaign – only two years after the party experienced the worst election in its long history.

Enda Kenny had become the leader and there were doubts about him. Indeed there were doubts about the future of the party. The party ran really high profile candidates, including Simon Coveney in Munster, Gay Mitchell in Dublin and Jim Higgins in the then Connacht-North West.

In Leinster, they parachuted in broadcaster Mairead McGuinness, much to the displeasure of sitting MEP Avril Doyle. In the event the internecine battle between the two candidates won both of them a seat.

For more,  read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s newest garden centre has arrived at McD’s in Galway Crystal

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Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building

For over 10 years people have been flocking to McD’s Garden Centre in Loughrea to get the very best range for garden, home and much much more.

This weekend McD’s are proud to announce the opening of a brand new Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building.

Nicely located with good parking and serviced by the 404 Newcastle to Oranmore bus, McD’s Garden Centre at Galway Crystal is a must visit location if you need anything from plants, shrubs, pots, garden furniture and more. They have a dedicated solar garden lights section, gorgeous array of water features and garden ornaments and practically everything you need for your garden.

Visit their Facebook today where they are running competitions and keep track of other promotions too. You can visit their website online at www.McDs.ie

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UHG nurse battles for her life in ICU

Dara Bradley

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Leona Paula Leoncio...in ICU.

UHG remains braced to rapidly respond to any rise in Covid-19 patients as a result of a second surge – but the plight of one of their own colleagues this week showed just how precarious this pandemic can be.

Because while senior management at the Saolta Group vowed to stay ‘vigilant and alert’, a staff nurse at UHG was battling for her life in the hospital’s own ICU.

Leona Paula Leoncio, a 36-year-old mother of two boys, tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and was moved to ICU on Monday where she was intubated and ventilated.

The staff nurse, who had no underlying health conditions, is now battling for life in ICU at UHG, according to the Philippine Consulate in Dublin, which has urged people to pray for her.

Ms Leoncio moved to Ireland in 2017, with her husband and two children, to work in the country’s health system.

“We might have different faiths and beliefs but can I ask of you . . . to take a pause and say a prayer of healing and strength for her and her family,” said Chuck Giner, her nursing colleague at UHG, in a posting relayed on the Philippine Consulate’s social media.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – along with all of the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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Gort boy reunites Tipp star with broken hurl from famous point

Dara Bradley

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Liam Linnane from Gort holding Brendan Maher's broken hurley from the All-Ireland semi-final club game. Photo: Hardiman Photography.

Tipperary All-Star hurler Brendan Maher has revealed that a young lad in Gort has found his long-lost hurl – the one he used to score one of the points of the last sporting year.

The broken hurl, the one that broke the hearts of St Thomas’ fans back in January, was used to fire over a point in Borris-Illeigh’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over the Galway club at the Gaelic Grounds.

Maher revealed last week that he tried to retrieve the hurl after the match to keep as a memento, but couldn’t find it. He subsequently got a letter from twelve year old Liam Linnane from Gort, who had found it.

“After I scored the point I got kind of carried away and I threw it over my shoulder into the open stand in the Gaelic Grounds. After the match, I thought I would really like to have that hurley but we could not find it and the club even contacted the Gaelic Grounds afterwards to see if it was found.

“Several weeks had passed and I’d given up on it when I got a letter from a young fella in Gort and I read down through it. He said he was twelve years old and that he was at the game where I scored the point with the broken hurley and that he had the hurley.”

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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