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Connacht Tribune

Mass gathering helps break silence for rebel priest

Judy Murphy

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Because Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery has been forbidden by the Vatican to speak in public, he had to seek a non-church venue for the Mass he celebrated on Sunday to mark his 70th birthday.

“The obvious place was the community hall here [in Killimordaly]. Living so close by, where else would I go?” he mused as he addressed the packed congregation in the hall.

“But it was such a right decision,” he added. “The local community took it up and the sense of support and engagement and affection that I got from this area has been incredible.”

There had also been emails, calls and texts of support from elsewhere “which was lovely. But what happened here was special”, said Fr Flannery of the way friends and neighbours in his home place had rallied round.

WATCH JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY’S VIDEO OF THE EVENT ABOVE

Fr Flannery was silenced by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, five years ago.

The reason given by the Vatican’s ‘strong arm’ was that his liberal views on celibacy, women priests and homosexuality were out of line with Church teachings, as were his criticism about how the Church had dealt with cases of child sex abuse.

However, Fr Flannery feels that the real reason for the Vatican’s ire was his involvement in setting up The Irish Association of Catholic Priests. By silencing him, Rome was letting priests know that they were not entitled to a voice.

His decision to celebrate Mass in defiance of the Vatican was to mark the milestone of his 70th birthday, which fell on January 18. It was not to declare war on the Vatican, he said, just to celebrate his 40 years of ministry.

One group of women at Sunday’s event commented on the sadness of the occasion, given that those “with power and pomp” had prevented Fr Flannery from saying Mass for the previous five years.

But Tony Flannery didn’t look sad. In fact, he radiated happiness. This was a celebration.

The Mass featured a reading from the prophet Isaiah, while Matthew’s Gospel spoke of how “the people living in darkness have seen a great light”.

Some in the congregation nodded.

Mostly middle aged and older, and with many from the local area, they didn’t look like revolutionaries.

Respectable people, they were there to support a popular priest, whose message resonates.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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