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Connacht Tribune

Latest loss leaves Galway hurlers well grounded for summer battles

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All Sar Daithí Burke whose return to the Galway defence will be a boost ahead of the upcoming championship.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE suspicion that Galway hurlers would find 2018 a lot more challenging than their all-conquering season of last year has quickly become a reality. The National League title is already gone and they will also have no momentum heading in the upcoming round-robin Leinster championship which starts with a potentially tricky assignment against Offaly in Tullamore in mid-May.

Nobody is pressing the alarm bells, but Galway have work to do. Taken in isolation, losing narrowly to a very committed Wexford team in last Saturday’s league quarter-final is no reason for panic, but coming in the wake of squandering a winning hand against Limerick in their previous outing, together with some struggles in each of their contests with Antrim, Laois and Dublin, the Tribesmen have to at least heed the warning signs.

An understandable belated return to the training ground following their extended post All-Ireland celebrations has obviously been a big factor in Galway’s difficulties, but the camp shouldn’t become a hostage to fortune by blaming all their ills on trying to play ‘catch up’ on their rivals. A few key players from last year remain out of form, while the team is not nearly as cohesive so far as was the case in 2017.

In mitigation, Joe Canning and David Burke missed much of the league campaign; injured goalkeeper Colm Callanan was sidelined for it all; while All Star full back Daithí Burke only played against Antrim before his football commitments for Corofin took precedence. His return will be critical for a Galway defence which has lacked security and authority this Spring, while Jonathan Glynn’s imminent return will be a boost too at the other end of the field.

Perhaps, more critical to Galway’s summer fortunes will be the form of the unrelated Cooneys, Conor and Joseph. The former struggled for traction in the league, but he had a great championship last year and removed some of the heavy lifting off Joe Canning’s shoulders up front. Conor Cooney didn’t score against Wexford last Saturday and was peripheral to the action, but the All-Ireland champions need him to explode back into life.

Joseph Cooney, who had a terrific outing against Laois last month, also has massive potential and with injury forcing him to miss the Limerick match, it may have accounted for the Sarsfields’ player becoming a diminishing influence in last weekend’s league quarter-final. Both Cooneys have the capacity to win their own ball and Galway won’t retain the All-Ireland without them being close to their best.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars

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Five large Garda stations in County Galway are operating with fewer Garda vehicles now than two years ago – leading to a call for the local fleet to be restored to 2020 levels.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed to Galway West TD Noel Grealish that the Garda fleet in the Galway Garda Division stands at 116 as of October of this year.

That’s greater than any of the years from 2012 to 2019, but it represents a reduction on the Garda fleet when compared with 2020 and 2021 figures.

Galway Gardaí had a dozen fewer vehicles this year, compared with 2020. There are 13 fewer patrol cars, down from 96 to 83; there was no change in the number of vans and motorcycles, and the division acquired one extra 4×4.

Garda stations in Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam, Clifden and Salthill have all lost patrol cars in the past 24 months, according to the official figures.

Independent Deputy Grealish has demanded a restoration of the Garda fleet in Galway to 2020 levels.

“Gardaí have a demanding enough job to do, but it makes that important work even more difficult if they are not allocated the proper resources,” Deputy Grealish said.

“A reduction of twelve vehicles in less than two years across the Galway Division, down from 128 at the end of 2020 to 116 in October this year, is concerning.

“I have asked the Minister for Justice to explain why this has happened, that the number of vehicles in the Galway Division has fallen by ten per cent, when nationally the total fleet actually increased by 6%. I am demanding that they at the very least be restored to their 2020 levels,” he said.

Deputy Grealish pointed out that almost all areas of the county had suffered a reduction in Garda vehicles since the beginning of last year.  Ballinasloe currently has six vehicles, a reduction of two since the end of 2020; Clifden also has six, down one; Loughrea was down three to eleven; Salthill was down three to ten; the biggest reduction in Garda vehicles was in the Tuam area down five to twelve.

Galway City’s fleet increased by two vehicles, for a total of 71.

Minister McEntee said that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including the purchase, allocation, and effective and efficient use of Garda vehicles.

“As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review to ensure their optimum use in light of identified operational needs and emerging crime trends,” she added.

Galway City Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) last month complained that the number of vehicles available to Gardaí in Salthill and Knocknacarra was insufficient.

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Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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