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Connacht Tribune

Government ploughs on for new term with no prospect of election

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New season...Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking at the recent Fine Gael Think-In at the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

The Dáil has returned this week after the kind of summer break the rest of us had when we were wearing short trousers – secure in the knowledge that there is little prospect of a general election in the near future.

That said, Fine Gael must have toyed with the idea, after the latest opinion poll in the Sunday Business Post last weekend put them eleven points ahead of Fianna Fáil.

Leo Varadkar’s dilemma is how to call an election without being blamed for stopping the Government in its tracks – especially if voters are not happy about an early election.

Some think that his letter to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin looking for a two-year extension of the Confidence and Supply agreement was designed to be so demanding and over-the-top that it essentially provided the right conditions for calling an election within six months of the Budget and then blaming the other side for not being willing to continue the buddy system.

Fianna Fáil don’t want an election, and nor do Sinn Féin – or the smaller parties for that matter, with the exception perhaps of Solidarity-People Before Profit.

In an ideal world, all would be hoping that the local elections in June 2019 were held first, to allow them blood new candidates and get status and name recognition for their new Dáil candidates.

But there is still a heightened sense of tension among TDs given the headaches over housing and health.

Overarching those are three looming events that will dominate the autumn session – Brexit; the October budget; and the end of the confidence-and-supply agreement.

Paschal Donohoe’s second budget comes on the back of a steady economy and very low unemployment figures.

As such he has some scope for manoeuvre but has been very careful during the summer months to dampen expectations on spending. The budget will allow him up to €3.4 billion but already some €2.6 billion of that has already been committed, leaving him spending room of €800 million.

With all the demands and the ravenous appetite of the health sector for public money, he will need to pull some rabbit out of the hat to keep everybody happy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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