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Connacht Tribune

Kenny more preoccupied with what can’t be done than what can



Independents' Day? Taoiseach Enda Kenny appeared to enjoy Bruce Springsteen's concert more than his first hundred days in office dealing with his Independent colleagues

The tradition of the first 100 days of Government was dreamed up by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early 1930s when he set out an agenda for the first three months and ten days of his administration.

These were all the things he was going to do in that crucial window or time, to help the bloodstream of the United States economy – spectacularly coagulated by the 1929 Wall Street Crash – flow again.

Roosevelt came into government during a deep damaging recession, and the first 100 days ruse was a master-stroke to show his determination to lift the US out of that depression.

There has been hardly a new government since then that has rejected the yardstick of the first 100 days. This will be where we set out our stall, they say. This is how we will start and how we will intend to go on, they shout.

As time has gone on it has been hijacked by the marketeers to render it meaningless. It’s now become cat nip for the parties in Government and for the media, who use it as some kind of great first test for the new administration.

The Programme for Government contains about fifteen ‘first 100-day’ commitments, and another five or so in the short side-deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

The imperatives arising from the big election issues such as suspending water charges; a housing and homelessness initiative. It also includes promises that reflected the new political realities such as the new budgetary process, where a new Budget committee has been set up to decide the Budget.

There are also concessions to the Independent Alliance such as the scrapping of special areas of conservation on 46 raised bogs and commitments for an early report on the feasibility of the western rail corridor.

But ironically, the first 100 days has been all about what Fine Gael could not do in government, rather than what it could.

Indeed for most of that time, there were lingering doubts as to whether or not the first 100 days of this Government might also be the last 100 days of this Government.

Running a Government 20 shy seats of a majority might be the norm in Scandinavia, but it has been a novel experience here.

The reality is that Fine Gael has been like a clipped eagle since May, unable to assert its own identity or to impose its vision or ideals on the Government.

It’s not all Fine Gael’s fault. It simply doesn’t have the numbers. These days it’s all about deals and compromises.

Ironically if you look at the team on paper, it’s the most right-of-centre government in the history of the State. There’s no Labour Party to temper the low taxes and law-and-order of Fine Gael. And two of the three senior Ministers – Denis Naughten and Shane Ross – are both of Fine Gael stock.

Barring a catastrophe (and that could come in the form of a series of poor polls), Kenny will remain in situ for another year at least, before handing over the reins.

What it has singularly failed to do since coming into power is to call anybody’s bluff. Every time it has been threatened by the Opposition or its own Independents, it has capitulated.

If the party continues to do that, it will have no credibility. It needs to hang tough on its fundamental issues or else it will be seen as a weak proxy for Fianna Fáil.

For more political analysis from Harry see this week’s Tribune here

Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k



Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes



Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base



Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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