History was made in Galway this week when the county’s first same sex marriage took place in the romantic surrounds of a fifteenth century Norman Castle.
Freda and Carol Flanagan tied the knot at Cloonacauneen Castle on the outskirts of Galway on Monday – the first couple to marry since the introduction of legislation on November 16 that followed the ‘yes’ vote in the Equality Referendum on May 22.
And it was fitting that Cloonacauneen Castle should play host to this landmark event as they were also first to host Civil Partnership and Same Sex Civil Partnership ceremonies in Galway.
Their wedding was the icing on the cake for Freda and Carol Flanagan – a year they simply described as “amazing!”
Carol remembers the events unfolding on that very meaningful day in May. She and Freda sat in their home, watching, emotionally enthralled, as it was announced; the people of Ireland had voted Yes to equality.
“I cried from morning to night – I was so happy,” she said.
Freda and Carol met in 2005 and have experienced first-hand the huge shift in public attitudes and opinion over the past ten years.
Freda is originally from Woodquay; her wife Carol was born and raised in London but has family ties to the Woodquay area also.
Freda cites the “anti-social behaviour” in the area lately as one of their main reasons for leaving. The couple now live in Carraroe with their five dogs and kennels.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Two arrested following taxi hijacking in Galway
Gardaí have arrested two men following the hijacking of a taxi in Co Galway last night.
Shortly before midnight, Gardaí received a report that two men who were passengers in a taxi had attacked the driver and stole his vehicle.
The driver was ejected from the car on the M18 motorway.
Gardaí were alerted and observed the car in Claregalway.
A managed containment operation to ‘block in’ the taxi was put in place with assistance from the armed Regional Support Unit.
The car was brought to a stop on Bothar na dTreabh and two men fled on foot. The two men, one in his mid-20s and the other in his early-30s, were subsequently arrested.
They are currently detained at Garda HQ in Renmore under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Man arrested after €90,000 drug seizure
Gardai have arrested a man after €90,000 worth of drugs were discovered in a bog near Ballinasloe.
As part of an ongoing surveillance operation, Gardai conducted a search in Poolboy Bog late yesterday afternoon.
They discovered €70,000 worth of cocaine, and a further €20,000 worth of cannabis along with other drug equipment.
A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene and taken to Ballinasloe Garda Station.
He’s since been charged and will appear before Ballinasloe District Court next Thursday.
Waiting lists surge since pandemic
Waiting lists at Galway hospitals have rocketed since the onset of Covid-19, with fears that the situation will only worsen as doubts have been cast over the long-awaited new elective hospital at Merlin Park.
Figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which covers the cost of outsourcing public patients to private hospitals, show that since 2020, waiting lists locally have surged by almost 25%.
Galway City Councillor Níall McNelis said statistics obtained by the Labour Party showed the numbers waiting for inpatient and outpatient treatment were ever increasing, and little was being done to address the problem.
“Waiting lists have skyrocketed since the beginning of 2020 and have increased from 52,935 in January to 65,548 in March 2021, an increase of a whopping 23.8% in a little over a year.
“In every specialism, the numbers waiting at Galway University Hospitals are growing and growing month after month, with the number of people waiting for general surgery growing from 3,468 to 4,990 – a 43.9% increase; [the list for] cardiology treatment has grown from 2,406 to 3,231, a 34.3% increase in little over 14 months,” said the Labour Party councillor.
This sharp increase in waiting times came as Moycullen-based Senator Seán Kyne (FG) cast doubt over the mooted 200 in-patient beds and new elective hospital at Merlin Park – something that has long been presented as the solution to Galway’s health woes.
See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie