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Connacht Tribune

Fianna Fáil candidate spent €285 on election Creme Eggs!

Dara Bradley



Galway East Fianna Fáil TD, Anne Rabbitte, tried to sweeten voters during the General Election campaign last Spring – by spending €285 on Cadbury’s Creme Eggs!

In her Election Expenses Statement, the Portumna-based Deputy Rabbitte, a first time general election candidate, confirmed she spent €95 and €190 on the chocolate eggs for “promotional” purposes.

She also spent some €140 on ‘good luck cards’ for Abbeyknockmoy footballers and Sarsfields hurlers, who were competing in important championship matches during the election campaign.

In total, according to the statement, Deputy Rabbitte spent some €14,446 on her campaign, in which she saw off the challenge of the sitting FF TD, Colm Keaveney, to hold the part’s seat in the three-seater.

Former Minister of State, Fine Gael’s Ciaran Cannon spent just €12,456 on his successful re-election campaign.

Independent Dáil Deputy Séan Canney, who is now Minister of State at OPW, spent some €18,718.

Included in the election expenditure of the former County Councillor, who topped the poll, was €125 for car flags and some €342 for flash lamps and batteries for canvassing in the dark.

In the Galway/Roscommon constituency, Michael Fitzmaurice abides by the principle that an army marches on its stomach, and so his election expenses included two trips to Supermac’s totalling about €60, for food for his campaign workers.

A member of the Independent Alliance, he also declared some €91.20 for 1/25th of the cost of the development and maintenance of the alliance’s website. In total, Deputy Fitzmaurice declared some €11,603.

Minister Denis Naughten, the former Fine Gael now Independent, spent more than €17,500 on his re-election.  The third TD in the constituency, Fianna Fáil’s Eugene Murphy spent some €8,900 on his campaign.

This included some €378 for a new television for his office.

TD had to rent car to secure her seat

Meanwhile, in Galway West, Catherine Connolly had to hire a car for two weeks during the General Election last spring – because her own motor broke down!

The Independent Dáil Deputy’s favoured mode of transport is usually a bicycle but she spent €387 hiring a car to canvas during the 2016 election campaign, in which she succeeded in winning one of the five seats in the constituency.

In her Election Expenses Statement, Claddagh-based Deputy Connolly confirmed “rental of car for two weeks because own car broke down”.

In total, Deputy Connolly, a former Galway City Councillor, spent some €14,856 on her election campaign.

The ‘big spender’ of the five candidates, who won a seat in the Galway West five-seat, which includes Galway city, its hinterlands, Connemara and part of South Mayo, was Noel Grealish.

Independent Deputy Grealish spent some €26,315 on his successful re-election campaign, which included posters, advertising leaflets and so on.

Éamon Ó Cuív, who topped the poll after the first count, had the least financial outlay of all of the five TDs, who won a seat in Galway West.

The former Fianna Fáil government minister spent some €10,711 on his campaign. This included some €120 for ferries to Inishbofin and some €500 on Aer Arann flights to the Aran Islands.

Seán Kyne, the Moycullen-based Galway West TD representing Fine Gael – and who was promoted to Minister of State upon his re-election – spent some €22,821 on his campaign.

His party colleague, former city mayor Hildegarde Naughton, who retained a second Fine Gael seat for the party, spent some €16,257 on her successful election campaign.

Unusually, all three Fine Gael candidates in Galway West – including former Galway football manager John O’Mahony, who lost his seat following the boundary redraw – claimed an expense from Applegreen, which amounted to €13.33 each.

General election candidates are obliged to submit records of their election expenses to SIPO, the Standards in Public Office Commission.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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