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Lola shows she has the write stuff




“Please keep writing as we need more horror writers like you in the world.”

When a successful Irish author tells you this this then you know you must be doing something right.

This was the closing line of a letter by renowned Irish author Dave Rudden. The recipient was nine-year-old Lola McCormack who won the prestigious RTÉ Guide/Puffin Short Story Competition last week.

Her short story was chosen by Mr Rudden as the winner in an award ceremony held in the RTÉ studios.

Lola’s mother Donna McCormack said: “I did not realise this competition was such a big deal until we got up there. There were different categories with 2,200 people entering all together. It was fantastic for Lola to win.”

The Scoil Iognáid pupil’s entry was titled ‘The Examiner’. It told the tale of a girl who shows up for a piano exam only to be confronted by a ghost.

Mr Rudden wrote the successful series of young adult books ‘Knights of the Borrowed Dark’ and praised Lola’s entry into the competition.

The author said in his letter to Lola: “This story has the feel of a classic urban legend, something that people will be creeped out about for years to come.”

Lola received a hamper of books from Puffin while she also picked up a Kindle which allows her to download e-books, newspapers and magazines.

The third class pupil is a fan of author JK Rowling and her love of writing horror stories comes from reading Harry Potter books.

According to her mother, Lola has grown up with a passion for writing.

“She has always been interested in writing. She was writing songs growing up and short stories although this was the first time that something she did was judged.”

Lola’s success in the short story competition has provided her with greater belief in her own writing ability.

“This competition has given her greater confidence to write. Now she is looking for more competitions to enter.”

There were three age groups in the competition. Lola was placed in the 7-10 year-old category which required hand drawn illustrations to accompany the short story.

“Lola loves English and writing. She also enjoys art which helped her in this competition.”

She was encouraged to enter the competition by her teacher Ms O’Donnell and the school is delighted with her success.

“The teachers and principal have made a big fuss over her. The school are now talking about organising more creative activities for the students which is only a good thing.”

Would Lola like to pursue a career as a writer?

Her mother laughs: “Hopefully. She has plenty of time to make a decision. She could get a book deal and I could end up lying on the beach.”

This may not be the last you hear of Lola McCormack.


Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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