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Family’s heartbreaking wait to bring home remains



The remains of 23-year-old Thomas Keaney from Roundstone – who lost his fight for life following an assault in Australia – are not expected to be flown back to Ireland for two or three weeks.

And his family made the difficult decision to donate his organs – to help five people, and to allow part of him live on in the country he came to love so much.

A major fundraiser is planned for the Station House Hotel in Clifden this Saturday night to raise money to repatriate his remains – the cost of which could run as high as €60,000. The Irish community in Perth have also rallied around the family and have set up a fundraising group there.

Perth City Detectives are continuing their investigation into the events leading up to the barman’s death – it is understood the random attack was captured by CCTV in the area.

They are waiting for a post mortem to be carried out on the body and are expected to upgrade the grievous bodily harm charge against his assailant to a more serious charge.

The remains will then be released to the Keaney family to be repatriated to their home at Murvey, Roundstone.

A 22-year-old man, Abbas Al Jrood, is currently in custody and will appear before Perth Magistrates Court on January 13 by videolink. He did not apply for bail when he first appeared in court last Friday night (Irish time).

Sergeant Gerry Cassidy of Western Australia Police said: “About 2am [on December 17], the victim was with friends outside the kebab shop when a confrontation took place with a group of males. The victim was punched once in the head and fell to the ground, hitting his head on the pavement.”

It is understood that Thomas had been making a recovery in Royal Perth Hospital and had spoken by telephone with his parents, but took a turn for the worse on Christmas Eve – believed to be caused by a brain haemorrhage.

His parents, Thomas and Anne, took the next available flight and arrived in Perth on St Stephen’s Day to be by his bedside when doctors switched off life support.

His uncle, Bernard Keaney, said the family and community are devastated by the tragic death and that authorities in Australia said he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

“He was a very loveable kind of guy, always upbeat. By all accounts, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and took a blow to the head.

“He had spoken to his Mum and Dad. On Christmas Eve he took a relapse and was on a life support machine. Terribly young at 23, but that’s just a cruel twist of life,” said Mr Keaney.

Thomas had been working at The Cure Tavern, a popular Irish bar in Northbridge near Perth’s business district, and had recently extended his visa to stay on in Australia after securing more work.

He is survived by his parents, sisters Lauren and Leeann and brother Brian.

A fundraiser will be held for the Keaney family in the Clifden Station House Hotel this Saturday night (January 4), with music from local bands.

There will be a raffle and auction on the night, and the organising committee have appealed for donations and prizes. Tickets for the event cost €10 and are available in local shops and bars, and from the hotel.

Donations can be made to ‘The Thomas Fund’, AIB Clifden. Account number: 10129024 sort code 93-73-98 or through PayPal on ‘The Thomas Fund‘ Facebook page.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!



Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?



Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara



Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” 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 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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