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Galway ex-pats keep hurling alive in the Big Apple

Declan Tierney



It was a momentous occasion for the Galway hurling fraternity in New York when the club celebrated their 100th anniversary with a major dance being organised.

Players from the past and present were honoured by the club on Saturday night with former Galway hurling star Joe McDonagh being the guest of honour.

The Galway club in New York had had incredible success over the last century and it was marked with a lavish celebration in the Astoria World Manor in New York. The club have won 16 senior titles.

Efforts to start hurling in New York during the 1890s were short lived. There is some evidence of a Galway club in 1905 but the GAA were not established then.

Games involving Galway took place in subsequent years but the GAA were not established until 1914 and the Galway club were to the forefront of this.

Galway won the first hurling final in New York defeating Cork by 1-7 to 2-0. Galway man Joseph Fahey was president of the NY GAA in 1917, 1918 and 1920 with the Galway footballers the NY champions in 1919 – the first of five titles for them.

The 1920s were barren years from a Galway perspective. Their 1924 team that was defeated by Clare was made up of Michael Coogan (Captain), William Lally, Paddy Kelly, John Hayes, James Holland, Mike Skeritt, Tom Ryan, John Farrell, Jerry Deeley, Martin Shaughnessy, Thomas Ford, Joseph McEvoy and Billy Stokes.

But Galway went on to win the 1940, 1942 and 1946 titles and lost the 1945 final to Offaly 3-02 to 0-05 before defeated Cork by the minimum 4-02 to 4-01 for the 46 title.

The 1940 lineout was Frankie Houlihan; Mike Donlon, Mike Noone, Johnny Hennessy, Paddy Morgan, Jim (Staff) Garvey, Tom Powers, Tom Cooney, Steve Quinn, Mike Cody, Paddy Cahalan (captain), Jack Turner, Bill Tonry, Tom Donlon, Barney Gibbs, Mikey Gilligan.

The ‘46 side included new arrivals Tommy and Pat Joe Nieland, Jack Gill, Ed McCarthy, Mick Loughnane, Sean Ford, John Finnigan, John Powers, Eddie Clarke, Michael Tierney and Tom Curley.

It was 13 years before Galway again rose to the top in the senior hurling division in NY. In the interim a number of tremendous players lined out for the side.

These included Martin Murphy, Billy Duffy, Mike Sweeney, Mike Moran, Paddy O’Rourke, Pat Keary, Paddy Fahy, Joe Nolan, Maurice Egan, Paddy Lally, Billy Newell, Tommy O’Shea, Mike Culkin, Mattie and Paddy Conneely, Tom Murphy, Mickey Maloney, Dermot Clarke, Tom Flannery, Jimmy and Pakie Moran, Syl Cronin, Bernie Feeney, Jackie Hanley, Billy Connors, Jimmy Murphy and Joe Forde.

They won titles in 1964, 1965 and 1966 as thousands of emigrants arrived in New York. It was nearly a ‘who’s who’ of Galway hurling at home.

The Galway line out in 1964 was Ken Croke (Moycullen), Pat Donohue (Ballinakill), John Maher (Loughrea) Martin Dempsey (Turloughmore) Mattie Maloney (Athenry), PJ Curtin (Kinvara), Jimmy Burke (Abbeyknockmoy), Jimmy Kelly (Loughrea), Frank Connolly (Craughwell), Mick Curtin (Kinvara), Jim Donohue (Ballinakill), Mick Bermingham (Dublin), Paddy Egan (Castlegar), Brendan Hynes (Gurteen), JJ Egan (Castlegar). Subs: Mattie Bane (Abbeyknockmoy), Frank Connors (Ballinakill), M Conway (Ballinakill), Bernie Rohan (Derrydonnell), L Kelly (Ballinasloe), Dennis Forde (Turloughmore) with Johnny Moran the manager.

Roll on to 1974 when Josie Harte (Gort) led out the side in August when they defeated Offaly 3-9 to 2-9 for the senior title. In the knockout victory that qualified Galway for the championship final, they defeated Clare 6-13 to 2-6 with PJ Qualter scoring 5-01 while Eddie Donohue added 0-4 and Mick Curtin 0-3.

Well-known hurling stars like PJ Molloy, Sylvie Linnane, Pierce Piggott, Brendan Lynskey and Steve Mahon all played with Galway during the ‘eighties. It was a time when club and county stars used to travel to the States for their championship. Galway won three senior titles in the ‘eighties.

This year they returned to their winning ways with victory in a game that featured Galway county players Aidan Harte, Conor Cooney and Johnny Coen.


Outpatients’ concerns over reduced services at Merlin Park

Dara Bradley



Patients who use ‘Hospital 1’ at Merlin Park face uncertainty over services after nurses were re-deployed to University Hospital Galway.

The hospital unit carries out infusion and transfusion services, as well as oncology and haematology.

Saolta University Hospital Group – which operates the public hospitals –has transferred nurses from Hospital 1 in recent weeks, so that it had sufficient staff available to reopen St Anthony’s Ward at UHG.

St Anthony’s is a 28-bed ward that had been closed all during Covid-19. It has now been re-opened, using redeployed nurses from Hospital 1, to cater for the return of essential procedures at UHG.

Saolta has argued that it is trying to maintain core services at UHG and it is re-deploying staff from elective areas in Merlin Park.

Merlin Park and UHG combined is Galway University Hospital – essentially the same workplace for industrial relations purposes – and is part of the same umbrella of hospitals in the West and North West run by Saolta.

A number of outpatients who have used Hospital 1 have told the Galway City Tribune they are concerned with the change, and the implications it might have on the services they receive.

Hospital 1 is a medical ward that offers a Monday to Friday service on the first floor of the main building on Merlin Park grounds.

They do infusions and transfusions and treat patients with MS, those who are anaemic, as well as oncology and haematology.

Those impacted by the reduced service at Hospital 1 also include people with blood disorders; people with blood cancers or leukaemia; and people with conditions such as myelodysplasia.

“Neurologists use it to observe patients who’ve had seizures. There’s a multitude of consultants who would’ve used Hospital 1 for various investigative procedures. Rather than going into hospital in UHG, occupying a bed, Hospital 1 is used for infusions, and you could be in and out in a day, or stay a couple of nights,” a source said.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on Saolta to put in place a contingency plan.

Anne Burke, INMO, Industrial Relations Officer, Western Region, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that some of her members have been re-deployed from Merlin Park to UHG, because of a massive shortage of nurses at the Newcastle site.

“If they pulled the Hospital 1 nursing staff out of UHG today, St Anthony’s would have to close and that’s the nub of it. They simply do not have the staff to do it,” explained Ms Burke.

“The staff have redeployed. They were initially told it would be for two weeks. But clearly, that won’t be sustainable in the context of massive vacancies at the UHG site.

“There’s bound to be a very definitive impact on the service. We have members already working overtime, and part-time workers who have upped their hours. But you are only flogging a dead horse if you’re asking people to work over and above. There’s only so much overtime you can do – no matter what money is offered – in the context of the conditions on the wards,” she said.

Asked when Hospital 1 might return to ‘normal’ staffing levels, Ms Burke said: “When is it likely to revert? There’s a big question mark over it, and our position is that it’s an unanswered question in the context of the deficit of nurses at UHG site and the attempt by management to maintain core services.

“That might be of cold comfort to those who depend on transfusions in Hospital 1. But they are going to have to put in a contingency plan about all of this and how it’s going to be managed and how Joe and Mary Bloggs who is looking for an infusion or transfusion, how are they going to get that. They cannot just be left in abeyance. They have to receive some element of treatment. Whether that is done through engagement with the private hospitals again, we don’t know.”

The recent cyber attack on the HSE has hampered INMO’s ability to communicate with hospital management.

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Hundreds of new apartments in Galway will not be available to buy

Enda Cunningham



The backer of the Crown Square scheme in Mervue is planning a massive ‘build to rent’ housing scheme as part of the development, with 345 apartments.

Padraic Rhatigan was previously granted permission for 288 apartments on the site but has now applied for a modified and higher-density development, with blocks ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

The plans include three blocks ranging from five to nine storeys in height, with garden courtyards.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, and there will be 1,200 secure bicycle parking spaces across the development.

The planning application was made directly to An Bord Pleanála under ‘Strategic Housing Development’ legislation, which allows for the Board to decide on applications residential developments of more than 100 units following initial consultations with the local authority.

According to Rhatigans, the property market has changed since it was granted permission in November 2019 for 288 apartments in three blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height.

“The rationale behind this proposal stems from the changes to market modelling and the demand for residential accommodation which have arisen since the previously approved application.

“These amendments … are being proposed following a review of the economic viability of the overall scheme,” the applicant previously said.

According to the new application, the scheme is intended to create a “distinctive new city quarter”.

“Important pedestrian and cyclist connections are also incorporated into the design by creating links between Monivea Road and Joyces Road providing an accessible street network for walkers and cyclists. It is considered that the proposed development would bring significant socio-economic benefits to the community,” the application reads.

The apartments constitute Phase 2 of the Crown Square development. The first phase is already under construction and includes a 180-bed hotel with bar, restaurant and conference facilities and five office blocks with space for up to 3,500 workers.

Mr Rhatigan recently told An Bord Pleanála that despite uncertainty in the market with hotels at the moment due to Covid-19, there is still a plan to proceed with the hotel in Phase 1 “and broadly with the masterplan for the overall scheme”.

He explained that the substructure of the hotel was currently being put in and that Rhatigans are in discussions with a few potential operators, but are not as far along in the discussions due to the delays brought about by Covid-19, however, it is believed to be still viable.

It remains the intention to be a high-quality hotel with a good-branded operator on board, he told the Board.

Two of the buildings in Phase 1 are expected to be completed with landscaping and occupiers moving in at the end of this year.

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City Council ‘does not outbid’ private buyers in housing market

Dara Bradley



Charities that buy houses in Galway for homeless people are not distorting the property market, a senior official at City Hall has said.

Dermot Mahon, Acting Director of Services for Housing at Galway City Council, insisted that Approved Housing Bodies (AHB), which provide and manage rented social houses, do not outbid private buyers in the housing market.

He was responding to queries from elected members before they approved a loan of almost €1 million to facilitate three AHBs to buy four city homes.

“We don’t engage in a bidding process,” Mr Mahon said. “We take a value, and we will not exceed that value. If there are other purchasers we will not engage, and we will not exceed it [valuation].”

He said that there is a cap in all local authority areas set by Government regarding the maximum amount that can be paid to purchase houses for use as social housing rental properties.

Councillors agreed to approve loans of €930,000 for the purchase of four homes.

The agreement included €202,355 to Galway Simon for a two-bed house off the Western Distributor Road in Knocknacarra; some €189,264 to Cope Galway for a one-bed apartment on Dominick Street; and €246,528 and €292,279 respectively to Peter McVerry Trust for two-bed and four-bed houses in Doughiska.

Funding is provided by way of a grant from the Department of the Housing to the local authority who provides the funding to the relevant AHB in the form of a 30-year mortgage. Loan charges are waived provided the terms of the scheme are complied with.

“All properties have been supported by an independent valuation and represent good value for money,” said Mr Mahon.

He said that Simon and Cope were two organisations that had “excellent records” in Galway.

Mr Mahon said that Peter McVerry Trust is “in the market for more property” in Galway.

The Trust already operates the Modular Family Hub in Westside on behalf of the Council, which is a temporary facility to house people who are homeless in accommodation other than hotels and B&Bs.

Two families from the Westside Hub will be relocated to the two new properties bought in Doughiska.

In response to several questions from councillors, Mr Mahon insisted that the method of allocating housing was “transparent”.

“There is no queue skipping – it is done in consultation with us,” he said. It is based on need and length of time on the housing waiting list.

Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) called on the Council to carry-out full surveys of houses before they are allocated to tenants.

He pointed to a recent situation in Doughiska where homes were allocated to tenants but the properties were ‘faulty from the get-go’, which was not acceptable. The issue was decided on in the courts, he said.

Mr Mahon said the four new properties being discussed were compliant with planning permission and had been assessed by engineers.

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