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Connacht Tribune

Homecomings are ‘a tragedy waiting to happen’



Dangerous practices during sports homecoming events were under the microscope at this week’s meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee, with members warning that reckless behaviour was ‘a fatality waiting to happen’.

In particular, the issues of people ‘hanging out car windows’ and sitting on top of moving vehicles were the subject of scrutiny by members of the JPC.

Chairman of the JPC, Cllr Peter Roche (FG), said the issue was first brought to his attention when concerned members of the public contacted him to relay details of three young people sitting on top of a vehicle travelling at 30km per hour, as part of a homecoming celebration.

“I don’t want to be a killjoy but this is on the agenda as a consequence of a phone call I got from people referring to what they witnessed in after-match convoys where cups are being brought home.

“I want people to enjoy themselves and generally, I have no real issue with people hanging body parts out the window,” said Cllr Roche.

“But they were outside the vehicle and the car was travelling at 30km per hour and the person who contacted me was genuinely concerned that if the vehicle had to brake, these people would have been catapulted in front of the car behind them,” he continued.

New member of the JPC, Gerry Larkin, who was Galway GAA County Chairman from 2007 to 2011, said he was ‘delighted’ this issue had been raised.

“This is a fatality waiting to happen. We need to have zero tolerance in relation to young children hanging out of cars – and it is not the child who’s to blame, it’s the parents or the team manager.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a widespread problem, but it does happen and Cumann Luthchleas Gael would completely dicourage this type of action,” said Mr Larkin.

Cllr Frank Kearney (FG) said it happened after more than just GAA matches and said it was incumbent on all organisations to ensure the safety of their members.

“This solely doesn’t apply to GAA teams and I wouldn’t like them to be singled out. There is no question whatsoever that it is highly dangerous,” said Cllr Kearney.

Chief Superintendent of the Galway Garda Division, Tom Curley, said while he too didn’t want to be a “killjoy”, it would only take one accident “for this to come to a head”.

“It will be the driver or the club that will come into the fold,” he said.

“The insurance company won’t stand over it if anything happens. It is escalating and it is dangerous.”

During the discussion, Cllr Kearney raised concerns over the practice of lighting bonfires in dangerous locations as part of the same celebrations.

“Added to that issue is when there is a town and people might light bonfires out on the road in dangerous places.

“There is no need to be outside your own house. If there is space opposite your own house, then I’ve no problem with it being there but it shouldn’t be out on the road. That applies to all sporting organisations,” said Cllr Kearney.

Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised



Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’



Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years



Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from

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