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Connacht Tribune

Galway Hospitality Group is best in class for customer service

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The Connacht Hospitality Group has recently achieved the Failte Ireland Service Excellence Award across all its properties and is the only hospitality group in Galway to boast this accolade. In order to achieve the “Fáilte Ireland’s Accredited Service Excellence Award” a business must demonstrate that a minimum of 75% of the management and staff have completed the Fáilte Ireland Service Excellence Programme.

The Connacht Hospitality Group is a Galway based family owned business, comprising of three hotels, The Connacht Hotel, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, the Forster Court Hotel, and a 20-bedroom boutique style hotel called Residence Hotel located on Quay street.  Also included in the group are three licence premises, the Award winning An Pucan, Bar 1520 located in the Heart of the Latin quarter and the popular HYDE Bar & Gin Parlour on Forster street and a 24-Hour Gym and leisure centre called Active fitness.

In the ever-competitive world of the Irish tourism industry top class customer service is now more important than ever. Ireland is not seen as a low-cost destination, yet Ireland needs to compete with equal product at a lower cost. The opportunities for “points of difference” are slim. One key opportunity which must be taken and advocated for is “the provision of best in class service experiences” the outcomes of which will benefit the visitor, the business and Ireland Inc.

Martina Kerr Bromley, Fáilte Irelands Head of Operations, Enterprise, Food & Hospitality, added: “We are delighted that the Connacht Hospitality Group has achieved the Fáilte Ireland Service Excellence Award which is a great testament to the staff, management and teams of the Hotels, Bars, Restaurants & Fitness businesses across the group. The Service Excellence Programme is making a real difference on the ground, not only to visitors and their overall experience, but also to staff and management who can see real value in going the extra mile, in not only meeting but exceeding the expectations of our visitors. The Service Excellence Programme is a very valuable tool for any business, it sets the business apart and establishes a position as best in class in terms of excellence in customer care, and ensuring that the customer journey from start to finish is as good as it can be. Our thanks to Mairead and the Wild Atlantic Way team in Galway for their commitment to driving the national Service Excellence initiative forward, and our congratulations to the Connacht Hospitality Group on this great achievement in being awarded the Fáilte Ireland Service Excellence Award”.

Group General Manager Wayne Neilon said “We are delighted to have received the Failte Ireland Service Excellence Award for our properties. This is an excellent initiative from Failte Ireland supporting front line customer service teams. The feedback from our teams on the training provided was very positive and the training was delivered in a very professional and pragmatic way that allowed the team to practically apply their learnings in their day to day roles. As a company we are very appreciative of the training support received from Failte Ireland. We are proud to employ over 350 staff in the city and we pride ourselves on our passion for taking care of our team and who then in turn, take care of our customers.

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Connacht Tribune

Covid lockdown returns for Kildare, Laois and Offaly

Enda Cunningham

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The Government has announced localised lockdowns for people living in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, following a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past week.

People from outside of those counties have been asked not to travel their unless for work or essential travel.

The restrictions affect travel, pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and cinemas.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the clusters of new cases were of serious concern and described the restrictions as “limited”.

“Over the past 14 days 292 cases of Covid-19 have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time.

“These measures are being put in place to protect the vulnerable in these counties as well as to stop the spread of the virus.

They are in place for two weeks from midnight tonight (Friday) until midnight on Friday, August 20. The situation will then be reviewed,” the Taoiseach said.

Travel and transport

You can only travel within your county, other than for the following reasons:

  • to travel to and from work where that work cannot be done from home
  • to attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products
  • for vital family reasons, like providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits
  • for farming purposes, food production or care of animals

You should not travel into any of these counties, other than for the reasons above, and you need to travel through these counties to get somewhere else. You should not stop in Kildare, Laois or Offaly unless for essential purposes.

Public and private transport

You should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, and where possible you should not share private vehicles with others from outside your household.

Education and childcare

The following services remain open with appropriate protective measures in place:

  • education and childcare
  • outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
  • Economic activity and work
  • Anyone in these counties who can work from home should work from home.

Social

Cafes and restaurants

  • All cafes and restaurants, including bars operating as restaurants, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing).
  • Hotels can remain open but must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons. Existing guests can remain for the duration of their booking.

Indoor gatherings

  • All indoor gatherings should be restricted to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 3 households in total, while maintaining physical distancing.

Outdoor gatherings

  • Outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.

Cultural and religious

  • All cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios are required to close.
  • Attendance at a funeral service and burial or cremation ceremony should be limited to 25 outdoors. Indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
  • Places of worship remain open for private prayer, while services are to be held online.

Sport

No sporting events or matches should take place, with the following exemptions:

  • non-contact training outdoors in a maximum group of 15 people may continue
  • professional and elite sports and horse-racing may continue behind closed doors
  • inter-county training (max 15 people) and fixtures may continue behind closed doors

Residential and healthcare facilities

*Visiting in long-term residential care facilities, acute settings and prisons will generally be suspended in the first instance with the exception of the most critical and compassionate circumstances (for example end of life).

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Connacht Tribune

Relocation homebuyers head to the west

Dara Bradley

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Clifden....popular destination.

The Coronavirus pandemic has encouraged a new exodus of homebuyers to relocate to the west, with remote working now a viable option for many employees.

Galway’s busiest auctioneer has noticed increased interest in properties in the city and county from workers relocating from Dublin, its commuter belt and the Midlands.

The availability of high-speed broadband, which can facilitate working from home, is a determining factor in many homebuyers’ decisions to move to the West.

But the high cost of renting remains the single biggest incentive for people to get on the property ladder, according to Niall Browne, senior sales negotiator at O’Donnellan and Joyce Auctioneers.

“People are paying such high rent that it’s the equivalent to a mortgage repayment and that’s when you buy. That’s the biggest incentive to buy – you’re not giving away dead money,” Mr Browne said.

The property market locally had quietened in the initial months of the Covid-19 lockdown – but it has been buoyant in the past two months in particular, he said.

Mr Browne suggested there was an element of pent-up demand for housing that was now being realised as the Covid lockdown restrictions focused people’s minds on their desire to purchase a home.

“We typically try to get eight to ten sales per month by private treaty, and we had 28 or 29 last month. The previous month was six and the previous month was eight. This month (July) we’re up to 26, and that’s outside of our auction,” he said.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

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Connacht Tribune

Nursing Homes shun student nurses over Covid fears

Stephen Corrigan

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Student nurses in Galway are facing financial doom as part-time employers shun those currently on work placement in hospitals over fears they are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19.

First year nursing student at NUI Galway Ciarán Mac an tSaoir told the Connacht Tribune that this had become a particular issue for first and second year students who would traditionally take on healthcare assistant roles in nursing homes, where the fear of spreading the virus is at fever pitch.

“After semester one in first year, you are essentially qualified as a healthcare assistant and a lot of students would take that up as an option. Since Covid-19 came in, a lot of work places are fearful of cross-contamination and that’s not unjustified.

“It’s very understandable that a nursing home wouldn’t want a student who might be going between five or six clinical areas in an acute hospital to be then coming into work in the nursing home,” said Mr Mac an tSaoir.

Nursing students, for whom a large proportion of their university experience is spent on unpaid work placement, spend up to 35-hours a week in a clinical setting and so that could mean them travelling between a Covid-19-free setting of a nursing home to a respiratory word in a hospital such as UHG, he explained.

However, this wasn’t a HSE policy but rather the decision of individual care facilities who were doing their best to ensure coronavirus was kept out.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also purchase a digital edition here.

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