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Family’s heartbreaking wait to bring home remains

Enda Cunningham

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City school relocates to the Races after flooding

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Winner alright! Winner alright! When a city Gaeltacht school effectively became homeless overnight due to flooding hell at Halloween, it turned adversity into opportunity by temporarily relocating to Galway Racecourse, which has been a massive success.

Disaster struck for Scoil Bhríde in Menlo during the October mid-term break when water from a suspected burst pipe flooded through the ceiling, damaging woodwork, electrics and equipment in classrooms.

Principal Máire De Brún, assistant principals Siobhán Ó Neill and Deirdre Ní Cheallaigh, and the board of management, chaired by Patricia Coleman, were faced with two options. The first was an emergency closure of the school for a week to fix the problem, which they ruled out.

“We took the bull by the horns and decided to go hell for leather and find another venue to house us so that the repairs could be done without pressure and so that the kids could continue school on the Monday after mid-term,” explained Ms De Brún.

The leak probably occurred on the Wednesday, and was discovered on Thursday, which gave only a few days to find a new school.

“When I look back on it, I don’t know how we did it,” laughed Ms De Brún.

First, she tried the Menlo Park Hotel, whose management was “extraordinarily helpful”. But because of Covid-19 restrictions, it couldn’t accommodate all 190 pupils in the school, pre-school and 10 staff.

Ballinfoile Community Hall was “absolutely fantastic” too, and agreed to house temporary classrooms. Those two venues still couldn’t cater for all students, and so Ms De Brún had to find another venue for two more classes.

“Someone suggested the Racecourse and we went out and met Michael [Moloney, Racecourse Manager] and said we just need it for two classes but when we were standing in the Killanin Stand, we said, ‘What are we thinking, let’s just move the whole lot out here and they’ll be under the one roof, they’ll have four floors, they’ll have plenty of space, they can run around outside?’,” she recalled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Some Galway City pubs ‘will never reopen’

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – There are several pubs in Galway that will never reopen their doors as a result of the “bitterly disappointing” decision to keep pubs closed under Covid-19 restrictions.

That’s according to the new Chair of Galway City branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Johnny Duggan, who said there were a number of pub owners who had already given up their leases and many more who found themselves in “serious difficulty” after being forced to stay closed for the best part of eight months.

From today (Friday), restrictions have been eased to allow for the reopening of restaurants and pubs that serve food. However, so-called ‘wet pubs’, which do not operate a kitchen, have been forced to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Mr Duggan said there were a number of publicans under severe pressure to meet rent and loan commitments, and without adequate support, the future remained very uncertain.

“What the Government has given is three double payments of the CRSS (Covid Restrictions Support Scheme), but that comes nowhere near what you would normally turn over at this time of year. It’s welcome, but it’s just not enough.

“There are an awful lot of people who won’t survive this,” he said.

Mr Duggan said publicans found it “very strange” that they had been allowed bring food in from off-site premises to satisfy the need for a substantial meal when restrictions were eased in the summer, but that option was not available this time around.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. 

Galway City 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Garda chief appeals for ‘special’ Christmas effort

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has appealed to students and young people to make ‘one special effort’ over the Christmas holiday season to keep contact and travel to a minimum.

Yesterday (Thursday), some groups of students had organised mock ‘Christmas Day’ celebrations in keeping with the custom of recent years in the week before the end of the first semester at the city’s third-level colleges.

Gardaí had extra patrols on duty through the course of the day and last night to keep tabs on any improvised gatherings as part of their Covid-19 campaign in the run-up to Christmas.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told the Galway City Tribune that the last thing the Gardaí wanted to do was to adopt what some people might describe as a ‘heavy-handed’ approach to gatherings of young people.

“The last eight months or so have been tough for all of us, but it has to be acknowledged that there has been a very high level of buy-in from everyone, including students and young people.

“We are at the point where a lot of progress in terms of containing the spread of Covid-19 has been made, but I suppose the key message we want to get out there now is to ‘stick with it’ over the coming weeks and months,” said Chief Supt Curley.

However, he did caution that if students or young people did break the law in terms of not abiding by the coronavirus regulations, they would be facing prosecution and a potential criminal conviction. “This is not what we want, or indeed what any student needs, as they look ahead to their career prospects,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. 

Galway City 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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