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Family’s heartbreaking wait to bring home remains

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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.

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots

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The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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