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Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council’s €7.7m debt for work on island harbours

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Galway County Council was carrying a debt of €7.7 million for work on Kilronan and Caladh Mór Harbours which the Department of the Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht had failed to cough up for.

A local government audit of the coffers from 2013 has queried the size and length of the debt incurred for work on Kilronan and Caladh Mór harbour developments which still amounted to €7.7m.

The Cé an Chalaidh Mhóir on Inishmaan was opened in 2008 at a cost of €14m, while Kilronan Harbour costing some €40 million was finished in 2012.

“It is not certain when this will be paid. Only €300,000 of this has been paid to date and over €4m of it is outstanding since 2011. Galway County Council does not have a bad debts provision for Government grants. It is important for the financial planning of the council going forward that this matter would be resolved promptly,” wrote the auditor.

The money was spent on the projects after a commitment was given to be reimbursed from central coffers. The department had committed to paying €900,000 over three years with a review next year, without admitting liability for the remainder, acting chief executive Kevin Kelly explained.

“We undertook works on behalf of the department, we paid contractors for all services, none of which were in dispute. Financial circumstances changed and they didn’t have the money to pay us.”

The debt was described as incredible by Cllr Sean Canney at this month’s Galway County Council meeting.

“€7.7m is a hell of a lot of money to be financing ourselves,” he complained.

Cllr Tom Healy (SF) tabled a motion – which was unanimously agreed – calling on the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys to deal with the debt as a matter of urgency as carrying it was having a severe effect on Galway County Council services.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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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

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man

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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.

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