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Kitt confirms he will stand in Galway East again



Kitt confirms he will stand in next election

Veteran TD Micheál Kitt has announced that he will be a candidate in the Galway East constituency in 2016 – ending any speculation that he is about to retire.

The long-serving Fianna Fail TD told The Connacht Tribune that he would be a candidate in two years’ time. He has no intention of retiring from politics anytime soon.

He has also been encouraged to continue in politics by grassroots party members who are still seething over the recruitment of former Labour TD Colm Keaveney in Tuam.

Deputy Kitt confirmed “I will be going” when asked if he had any interest in contesting in the new three-seater Galway East constituency.

There had been some speculation that Deputy Kitt, who was first elected to the Dail in 1975, might retire in advance of the next general election.

But he has firmly refuted this speculation, saying that he was still interested in representing Fianna Fáil into the future and hoped that the party would form part of the next government.

The Kitt announcement could put a dent in the aspirations of Keaveney to retain his seat. Kitt polled more than 6,500 first preferences last time out compared to Keaveney’s 4,200.

However, with the changes in the boundaries announced last year, all of Ballinasloe and a strip across to Dunmore is now part of the new Galway-Roscommon constituency.

It means that Kitt has lost a sizable chunk of his first preference vote into Roscommon and will not be even able to vote for himself from his Castleblakeney base.

There is a theory that Fianna Fáil will win one seat, Fine Gael will also win one with the third certainly up for grabs and could possibly go to an independent candidate. If this is the case then Cllr Sean Canney in Belclare is the favourite.

It is known that there will be at least three nominations for the Fianna Fáil ticket for Galway East. Apart from Kitt and Keaveney, it is strongly believed that newly elected councillor Anne Rabbitte from Portumna will seek a nomination.

Last week Cllr Michael Connolly in Moylough said that he would be interested in running for the Dáil but only in the event of Deputy Kitt retiring. It looks as if he will be out of the race come the 2016 general election.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run



A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda



Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway



Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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