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Good Samaritan to the rescue after defibrillator theft



Heartless thieves have stolen a defibrillator which a GAA club had spent months fundraising for to ensure their players would have the best chance of survival in the event of a cardiac incident.

Castlegar GAA Club had raised €1,500 just a year ago to buy the machine which was stored in a locked cupboard of the referee’s changing rooms in their club complex in Roscam.

They do not know when exactly it was taken, but they discovered it was missing two months ago, said club chairman Damien Tummon.

“Sometimes the gates are left open to facilitate the refs so it must have happened on one of those occasions. We thought maybe somebody had borrowed it for some reason and forgot to return it so put up a notice on Facebook but it seems it was definitely stolen.

“We did check CCTV but could not find anything unusual,” explained Mr Tummon.

The defibrillator was taken out once for use since its purchase to help somebody in trouble at the railway track. By the time a club official brought it to the incident site an ambulance had already arrived.

Luckily enough it has not been needed since it was swiped. However the death of a 15-year-old ‘Bish’ student at the Doughiska pitches last month during a soccer match has spurred the club on to replace the lifesaving equipment.

Hassan Taiwo collapsed during a game between his team, Merlin Woods FC, and Salthill Devon and was later declared dead at University Hospital Galway.

“That death really hit us. We were thinking if that was to happen in our pitches we’d be really kicking ourselves we didn’t have the defibrillator. So we put the word out there we would have to get another one.”

A good Samaritan answered in the form of Tom Meehan, owner of the Spar Shop in Roscam, who has agreed to purchase the equipment for use by the GAA Club.

Officials in the club have decided it would make more sense from a security point of view to store the defibrillator in the shop, which is just across the road from the pitches.

“It’s awful that we can’t store something as vital as a defibrillator where we would like but having it in the Spar also means the community will have easier access to it in the event of an emergency,” Mr Tummon explained.

Castlegar GAA Club is one of the city’s biggest sports, with 80 adults and up to 400 youths regularly using its facilities

“We’re grateful to Tom Meehan that we don’t have to go out again and fundraise. But really it’s very sickening that somebody would feel the need to go and steal this.”

News of the Castlegar device follows confirmation a fortnight ago that three life buoys are being stolen or thrown into the city’s waterways every week by vandals.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. Defibrillators are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating and can cause death if it’s not treated within minutes. Some 6,000 of the 10,000 who die from cardiovascular disease die from sudden cardiac arrest and 70 per cent of these occur outside of hospital.

“There is significant evidence to suggest that early defibrillation can have a major impact on survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest,” according the GAA’s guidelines on the use of defibrillators.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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