New statistics reveal that the level of hoax calls to the Fire Brigade in Galway, which could have fatal consequences, are on the increase.
It has led to calls for a crackdown on pranksters making the hoax calls and putting lives at risk.
The Department of Environment has issued a breakdown of the level of prank calls or malicious phone calls made to the Fire Brigade in Galway.
The statistics, which are available for a five year period, reveal that the numbers of hoax calls to the emergency service numbers between 32 and 48 every year. The average level of hoax calls to the brigade in Galway stood at 38 but the trend is towards year-on-year increases in malicious calls.
The department said that in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, some 282 calls were received by the Fire Service in Galway.
Of these, a total of 241 were legitimate, but some 14.5% or 41 calls, were described as “malicious” and hoaxes.
That’s a jump on the previous year when some 395 calls were received, and 48 of them were hoaxes (12%).
In 2009, there were 347 calls, of which 32 were hoaxes representing 9%.
The previous year there were 415 calls received and some 7.7% or 32 calls were malicious. And in the year 2007, some 409 calls were received and of these 7.8% were hoaxes or 32.
City Councillor Ollie Crowe said the statistics were alarming. Although the numbers of hoax calls mightn’t sound high, it still was almost one every week which was putting lives at risk and putting addition cost burdens on the local authority.
“Dummy calls to the Fire Brigade should not be tolerated and I hope that the Gardaí trace the perpetrators of the calls and pursue them vigorously through the courts. People should be aware of the dangers of hoax calls.
“Young people might think that they’re just having a bit of a laugh but there are very real consequences. If a Fire Brigade is out on a call that is malicious say in Mervue and a real fire happens in Salthill, the additional time it takes them to get to the real situation could be the difference between in life and death,” said Cllr Crowe.
The malicious calls situation in Galway is nowhere near as bad as in Dublin, where of the 1,300 calls made in 2011, more than 800 were hoaxes, which is 61%.
In Cork, 214 of the 712 calls made to the Fire Brigade was hoaxes, which represents 30%.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later
Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man
Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.
Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.
He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250, the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.