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Connacht Tribune

Inis Turbot tragedy recalled in new video that draws on old poem

Stephen Corrigan

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The ‘new islanders’ of Inis Turbot in North Connemara have joined with some of its original residents to commemorate the tragic deaths of three men that prompted the island’s evacuation over 40 years ago.

Using a poem written in the aftermath of their death at sea, a music video has been produced which pays tribute to the ‘Turbot Men’ who lost their lives to the sea in 1974 as they made the short journey home from Clifden to the island, located at the end of Sky Road.

After visiting Clifden on September 23, 1974, to watch that year’s All-Ireland football final between Galway and Dublin on television, Turbot fishermen Patrick Stuffle, Micheál Wallace and Patrick O’Toole were lost at sea. Their boat was found one day later, but it took three weeks to find the men’s bodies and lay them to rest on Turbot.

Living conditions on the island had been becoming more challenging in the years before their deaths, as the turf ran out and emigration led to a declining population.

Four years after the tragedy at sea, a mass evacuation left behind a population of just seven, who by 1981 had also left for the mainland.

By the mid-1990s, life had begun to return to Turbot as holiday homes were bought up by visitors from at home and abroad, and it was in 1994 that Dutch advertising executive Stefan Frenkel, together with his wife and three children, bought their house.

“I came 38 years ago to Inishlacken off the coast of Roundstone – friends of my wife had a little house there and invited us. She was from Holland and Hanneke, my wife, knew her. Our children were two, four and six and we stayed there for a couple of weeks and absolutely fell in love with the place,” says Stefan of his love affair with Ireland, which had begun years earlier when he visited on a fishing trip at just 20 years old.

“When I had a little bit of money, I said ‘maybe it’s possible to buy somewhere in Ireland’. We looked around, first in Mayo and this area [around Clifden] but we could not afford it. In the end, we visited an auctioneer and he said there were houses for sale on Turbot Island and there were many of them,” he recalls.

On their first visit to Turbot, fisherman John O’Toole brought Stefan, Hanneke and their son Kasper out by boat, and showed them the abandoned houses, which Stefan remembers still had ashes in the fireplaces, full cupboards on the walls, and all the hallmarks of the sudden evacuation of almost 20 years previously.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley

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Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story 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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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan

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Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature 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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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley

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Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story 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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