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Labour faces election wipeout in Galway

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An election wipeout is facing the Labour Partyin Galway on Friday as the voters of the city turn their backs on the most popular party five years ago.

Privately, Labour, currently the biggest party on Galway City Council with five seats, is bracing itself for an almighty backlash, as an austerity-weary electorate is poised to vent its anger on the Government, and in particular the junior Coalition partner.

On a disastrous day, Labour, who are in single digits in opinion polls, could be left with just one seat on the Council, as Billy Cameron in the Central Ward is the only certainty to retain a seat for the party. Even on a ‘good’ day for Labour, they are likely to lose at least two seats.

Cameron’s running mate in Central, Collette Connolly, is under pressure to hold on, with party colleague John McDonagh affecting her first preferences and a resurgent Fianna Fáil putting the ‘squeeze’ on.

In City West, Labour’s Niall McNelis is feeling the heat from Sinn Féin and Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate, Tommy Holohan.

In the East Ward, both Labour candidates, City Councillor Nuala Nolan and newcomer to politics, Monica Coughlan, are under serious pressure to retain the party’s two seats.

Sinn Féin, riding high in the national polls, is likely to make a breakthrough with Maireád Farrell in City East, the party’s strongest candidate, on course for a seat.

Fianna Fáil, who were electorally toxic just two years ago, appear to be making a comeback, and could end up with five – and possibly an outside chance of six – seats on the next Council.

Fine Gael, who currently have three seats, are on course for a ‘middle-of-the-road’ election, with candidates taking flak for the Government imposed property taxes, water charges and general austerity measures, although they’re not feeling the heat as much as Labour.

This election is expected to be ‘Independents’ Day’ as non-party candidates are expected to be successful as large swathes of the ‘fed-up’ electorate turns its backs on the main parties.

In Galway City East, two former Progressive Democrats now independents, Cllrs Terry O’Flaherty and Declan McDonnell, are on course to retain their seats while newcomer independent Noel Larkin is making a big push for a seat.

Mike Cubbard, in City Central, who has the backing of former PD now independent TD, Noel Grealish, will poll well and looks likely to take a seat in Central while independents Donal Lyons and Catherine Connolly are untouchable in West.

See full predictions in today’s Connacht Sentinel

Connacht Tribune

Joyce’s Tribune inspiration for Finnegan’s Wake!

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James Joyce's statue in Dublin.

James Joyce copied copiously from the Connacht Tribune when it came to creating his complex novel Finnegans Wake where he intertwined events of the real world and that of his dreams.

He had relatives of his wife Nora send him over copies of the Tribune in 1924, from which he would pour over local news, sports reports, letters to the editor and even advertisements.

An art teacher in Dublin, who has spent 14 years creating illustrations inspired by Finnegans Walk, hopes to create pieces of art specifically highlighting those Galway sections of the novel.

Carole Wade is hoping people here who have anecdotes and connections with Ireland’s most famous author will relay those to her which can then be incorporated into the artwork. It will eventually be donated to the Moore Institute in the University of Galway.

Her sister Dr Frances McCormack in the university’s School of English and Creative Arts has reached out to her fellow academics to collaborate. But her sibling is urging ordinary people to take part.

“I think it’s the most amazing book ever written. Ulysses is about a specific place and time but Finnegan’s Wake is about the history of the world. If you want to know about the Crimean War, every war and every battle in Europe – they’re all mentioned, even the Maamtrasna murders are there,” she enthuses.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Little Blue Hero meets Boys in Green

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Connacht’s Tom Farrell, David Hawkshaw, Niall Murray, Tom Daly, Gavin Thornbury and Jarrad Butler chase after Charlie Quinn during his visit to the Sportsground. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht’s trio of Irish rugby internationals found themselves facing (not quite) the long arm of the law this week when Galway’s newest Garda recruit turned up to join in their training session at the Sportsground.

Charlie Quinn – Garda Number 322 – was in full uniform for the occasion, but that didn’t stop him joining in a Connacht session with captain Jack Carty and, fresh from Ireland’s triumphant Autumn Series, Mack Hansen and Bundee Aki.

The seven-year-old from Creggs is Galway’s latest Little Blue Hero, following his life-changing bone marrow transplant – thanks to a donation from dad Niall, who underwent a pioneering procedure to ensure his platelets were compatible with his young son’s.

Charlie was given a tour of the new Garda Regional Headquarters in Murrough before being ‘blue lighted’ by members of the force to Connacht Rugby to meet his heroes.

And a day later, he still hadn’t come down from the high.

“He’s gone off to school this morning, fully clad from head to toe in his Garda uniform; he’s delighted with himself,” said his mum Cathy.

Niall and Cathy revealed the rollercoaster they’ve been on since Charlie was first diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is a rare genetic immunodeficiency that keeps a child’s immune system from functioning properly.

But thanks to the incredible work carried out at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, he’s now finally back to full health – and flying.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

GAA couple move wedding to give clear run to club semi-final

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Shauna Healy

IN the words of Shakespeare, ‘all’s well that ends well’ . . . and that’s certainly the case for the St. Thomas’ GAA club as a clash has been avoided between their All-Ireland semi-final date with Dunloy of Antrim and the marriage of one of their star players.

Originally, their match with Cúchulainns Dunloy, had been pencilled in for Saturday, December 17 – the same day that key player Darragh Burke was due to tie the knot with Galway’s multiple camogie All-Star winner, Shauna Healy from Ardrahan.

Following St. Thomas’ replay success against Loughrea in the county final on Sunday week last, the five-in-a-row Galway champions knew that they were ‘in a pickle’ with the All-Ireland semi-final fixed for the same weekend as the wedding.

Frantic behind-the-scenes efforts were made to seek a postponement of the match but with the All-Ireland club series on a very tight deadline, there was little room for manoeuvre.

Initially, Croke Park had agreed to switch the match from Saturday week to Sunday week, December 18, but this would have made for a very low-key wedding and reception on the day before at the Meadow Court Hotel, Loughrea.

Luckily though, for Darragh Burke and Shauna Healy, the Meadow Court Hotel had an alternative date available on the following Thursday, December 22, which the couple have now settled on to tie the knot.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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