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Connacht Tribune

Garda chief hopes for Dog Support Unit in Galway

Enda Cunningham

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A business case has to be made to Garda headquarters for a new Dog Support Unit for use in drug detection in Galway.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley confirmed this week that he is ‘actively pursuing’ the matter and he hopes to have a dog unit based in the new regional headquarters in Galway City when it opens next year.

He made the comments during a discussion on combatting drugs at a meeting of the County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) held this week.

The Chief Supt told the meeting that during the first eight months of this year, there have been 27 seizures of drugs for sale or supply in the county (up from 24 in the same period last year), with a further 111 cases of simple possession of drugs (down from 115).

Among the drugs seized were cannabis with a street value of almost €782,000; cocaine valued at almost €27,000; ecstasy valued at €320 and heroin worth €5.

Cllr Aidan Donohue asked if it was a sign of the times that there is more money in the economy, leading to more cannabis use or if it’s down to more detection of grow houses.

Chief Supt Curley said the comparative figure for cannabis seizures in 2016 would not be too different from the current year.

“We have an excellent Divisional Drugs Unit under Peter McGuinness, he has an excellent team in the districts. We have two Gardaí in each of the districts, which has been of huge benefit to us in the fight against drugs.

“Clifden is an example, where in the space of three or four months, we had three big seizures. There’s more buy-in by the public; people are out there watching, they see strange cars coming at different times of the day and night, and we’re working very well together. That’s the reason why the figures are so good,” he said.

Cllr Noel Thomas said the cannabis figures was “huge”, and wondered if a lot of Garda resources were being used on targeting cannabis, and perhaps it was more than necessary considering that elsewhere in the world, the drug is being legalised.

He said the effects of alcohol and cannabis, while some of the other drugs seized were “completely mind-altering and dangerous”, and it would be great if more resources could be channelled towards targeting them.

Cllr Thomas said he is not an ambassador for the use of cannabis, does not use it himself and it is not good for you, and believes it is addictive, but wondered if the Gardaí are fighting a losing battle.

Cllr Tom Healy said he had grave concerns about new substances coming onto the market. There was a very good understanding of the “classical drugs” over the past 50 years, but new substances are effectively untested and are proliferating through cheap manufacturing in places like China, and being sent through the mail. He asked what Gardaí were doing to familiarise themselves with the new substances.

Chief Supt Curley said he was not getting into a debate on the legalisation of cannabis, but it could be clearly seen that there is huge demand for it and people are making millions from its sale and supply.

“If we see illegal drugs, we will investigate, detect and arrest,” he said.

“We work very closely with the National Drugs Unit. In the last number of weeks, we had the Medicines Board down. Any agencies out there, we’re working with them.

“With our new building in Murrough [opposite GMIT in Galway], I’m actively pursuing a business case for a dog unit. It would be of huge benefit in relation to the detection of illegal drugs. We’re continuing to upskill,” said the Chief Supt.

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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