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Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council called on to tackle ragwort

Francis Farragher



A ragwort ‘epidemic’ on the roadsides of County Galway – and in some farmers’ fields too – requires urgent attention, with the County Council needing to play the lead role, a farm leader has urged.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that ragwort was a noxious and poisonous weed for animals that needed to be controlled and removed from roadsides and fields.

“It is a weed that spreads prolifically but it is one that can be contained by a number of factors, such as simply pulling it up out of the ground; by spraying; or by cultivation.

“I would have to say that the vast majority of farmers do everything to ensure that this weed is dealt with on their farms but there are cases where land has fallen into neglect, for one reason or another, and ragwort is not controlled,” she said.

However, she added, that the County Council had to take a far more pro-active role in dealing with the spread of weeds such as ragwort, dock and thistle on untended roadside verges across the length and breadth of Galway.

“If weeds such as ragwort are left unchecked on roadside verges it will follow on that the seeds will spread into adjoining farmers’ fields. It just isn’t good enough that these verges are just let grow wild with weeds every Summer,” she said.

According to the Department of Agriculture, each ragwort plant has the capacity to produce 50,000 to 200,000 seeds over a six weeks period from July to September each year – seeds that can be dispersed by wind, water, animals, hay and farm machinery.

Under the Noxious Weeds Act of 1936, it is an offence for the owner/occupier of lands not to prevent the growth and spread of noxious weeds including ragwort, thistle, dock and wild oat.

Technically, landowners or local authorities who allow noxious weeds to go uncontrolled, are liable to prosecution – and a small fine if the case is proven – but over recent years there has been no record of any such cases proceeding.

The farm advisory body Teagasc, point out that ragwort is poisonous to animals in both the green and preserved state (and after spraying too) and has been responsible for ‘many farm fatalities’ in cattle.

Teagasc also point out that any control strategy for the weed must be based on the biennial (over a two-year cycle) growth pattern of the plant – a rosette in the first year and then going into full flower during the second year of growth.

They also point out, that where small numbers of ragwort are present, they can be effectively dealt with by simply pulling or digging up the plant. [They are not a deep-rooted plant like the dock and pull up quite easily from the ground especially in dampish conditions].

For larger numbers, Teagasc advise that sprays such as MCPA, 2, 4-D, Dicamba, Thrust and Forefront provide good control but caution that measures must be taken to avoid stock eating any dying or dead ragwort present which is still highly poisonous after spraying has taken place.

Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Galway East TD Seán Canney said that the humid weather had led to the proliferation of ragwort on roadside.

“Farmers have to be particularly vigilant because ragwort can kill cattle and horses if it is ingested.

“It is also toxic for people and can cause allergic reactions if it is absorbed through the skin.

“People should wear protective waterproof gardening gloves when handling ragwort plants and arms and legs should be covered. Face masks should also be worn to avoid inhaling the weed’s pollen which can cause hay fever.

“Local authorities and Transport Infrastructure Ireland are responsible for the removal of weeds from main roads and motorways. Farmers also have the responsibility to ensure their lands are ragwort free,” said Minister Canney.

Connacht Tribune

The Herbal Academy’s leading course on living a healthy life




There has already been a phenomenal upsurge in the use of holistic treatments to deal with a whole host of common ailments – but a Galway herbalist and educator has now taken this to the next level.

Because Tuam-based Patrick Murphy – owner and founder of the Herbal Academy – believes that that anyone can learn to make and use herbal remedies at home, for their own wellbeing and that of their families and clients.

Which is the ethos behind the Herbal Academy as an institute of alternative medicine for the general public, delivering a variety of courses completely online to allow for remote learning.

The courses offered at the academy, designed by Patrick, were produced during the lockdown months – and now the work is ready to be presented to the public.

The Herbal Academy itself was developed to use a unique blend of Western Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine to learn how to create a range of holistic treatments for common ailments.

And, as Patrick points out, all of this can be safely used alongside medical treatments, if necessary.

His philosophy in his work is to ‘cleanse, nourish and heal’ – and that is woven through the course material, which he has written and which is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

It’s the latest career evolution for Patrick Murphy, who as the Skin Herbalist, provided his first herbal remedies to his patients back in 1995 – with good results.

Then as different ailments emerged in his patients, he would accommodate them by using new herbal formulas, again with marked success. These formulas worked well with subsequent patients that they became standard.

His true philosophy is ‘getting to the root cause of the disorder’, helping him to create healing tonic herbals. These herbs help the body overcome disease by strengthening through cleansing and nourishing.

Patrick’s ultimate vision is to cleanse and nourish so the body can heal, using wild crafted, organic herbs.

The Herbal Academy itself has a comprehensive mission statement.

It aims ‘to empower energy, wellbeing, and confidence, physically and mentally by imparting knowledge of healing, nourishing, and cleansing the body using natural, organic, earth-sourced sustainable herbs and supplements that focus on treating the root causes of ailments rather than just the symptoms’.

The Academy offers three courses – the Foundation Course; Herbal Home Remedies, and Colour Therapy.

Material on the Foundation Course is aimed to provide the basics in herbalism, that students can recognize and devise effective herbal treatments for themselves and others and to educate themselves in how to use herbal remedies for first aid use and how to use alongside mainstream medical treatments.

Participants will also gain the knowledge of distinguishing between supplements and their properties as well as learning to make their own effective herbal treatments for a range of common ailments including common colds, IBS and various skin conditions.

Those studying Herbal Home Remedies will learn of the herbal remedies available to treat an array of situations such as insomnia, infections, rashes, coughs, digestive issues, stings/bites, bruises, and joint problems amongst many others.

Students will learn to prepare these remedies using a range of fruits, spices, oils, and herbs-all ingredients that are completely natural and have been used and relied on for centuries to promote wellbeing and vitality.

Colour Therapy is used as part of medical practice for hundreds of years, colour therapy is an important element in the holistic approach to complimentary health practice.

In this course, people will identify and understand the need for certain colour themes in their lives and how to use it for healing, good health, relaxation and protection as well as learning how to use this therapy to compliment other therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology and aromatherapy.

“The Herbal Academy is delivered completely through online learning. No prior experience is necessary,” says Patrick Murphy.

“The courses can be accessed on the website instantly and offers a payment plan to spread the cost if needed. Upon completion, students will receive accredited certificates for each course.

“We have a special limited time offer in place from now until September 30 – if you order the Foundation Herbal Medicine Course, you get the Colour Therapy and Healing for free.”

Patrick also has his own herbal dispensary, stocking herbal remedies from highly reputable organic herbal suppliers. Mainly organic, bio dynamic and fresh herb tinctures are stocked.

Dried herbs which are always organic where possible, as well as pessaries, capsules and specifically made up creams, are also dispensed, when required.

Patrick helps people with common ailments such as arthritis, asthma, acne, eczema, Fibromyalgia, ME, constipation, digestive problems, heartburn, acid reflux, back pain, menopause and more.

For more information on his online courses, visit the website or contact Patrick via – or phone 093-27033.





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Connacht Tribune

We’re on the move – but we’re going nowhere!




This week marks the end of one major chapter in the history of the Connacht Tribune – and the start of a new one.

Because this is the last edition of this proud old newspaper to be produced from the Market Street offices where we’ve been from the Tribune’s inception in 1909.

From next week, we will be working from our new state-of-the-art offices in Liosban Business Park – or at least those not working remotely because of Covid restrictions will.

But while we’re on the move, in truth we’re going nowhere – because we are committed to covering everything that goes on in Galway now as our predecessors were back in 1909.

And by deploying the latest in technological advances, we aim to make that an even smoother journey from the source of the story to your homes and workplaces every week.

These are troubled times, not just for newspapers, but for all businesses; so this investment in a new base – complete with cutting-edge technology – is a real investment in our future and a vote of confidence in our staff and readers.

Covid has tested every one of us, not just in Galway or indeed in Ireland, but across the globe; we’ve seen such loss of life and such threat to livelihoods – and perhaps there’s much more to come.

But while we leave Market Street with memories and sadness, we also look forward to the brighter days ahead – as we do what we always did, which is to provide all the news, sport, features, entertainment and more as our colleagues have done over more than 110 years.

It’s the end of one chapter for sure, and the beginning of another – but this is a story that we know will just run and run.


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Connacht Tribune

Students asked to steer clear of house parties

Dara Bradley



Students returning to Galway for the start of the new term later this September have been urged to avoid house parties to help lower the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.

The HSE has said that the majority of confirmed cases in the West in the past two weeks were linked to socialising.

The latest mini ‘surge’ of infection in Galway, though better than the national average, was worrying, according to Director of Public Health Dr Breda Smyth.

“We have been growing incrementally at a very low rate but at a steady pace. In the West we’ve been doing well in our overall 14-day incidence rate compared to national levels but even withstanding that we are seeing an increase and it has started since late August.

“It has been rising slowly and in the last two weeks in particular we’ve seen a surge,” she said.

Dr Smyth said third level institutes have initiatives in place to reduce the spread of infection.

“But once again what we have seen and will continue to see is that if students congregate in crowded areas – so, high volumes of house parties and socialisation, which is reducing social distancing – then there’s a high risk that we will start to see outbreaks in that community. It is important that students do also take personal responsibility while at college to reduce the risk of outbreaks,” she said.

For full story – and Covid-19 coverage – see this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in all shops now. Or download the digital edition from

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