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Connacht Tribune

McCabe debacle speeds up clock on Kenny departure

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Maurice McCabe...back on centre stage

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

The “golden rule” for political survival in the face of a media frenzy was supposedly conceived by Tony Blair’s spin-meister Alastair Campbell – and it’s the premise that if the story dominates the headlines for nine days running, then you won’t survive the onslaught, and you will have no choice but to fall on your sword.

Another master of the dark arts, Karl Rove, put it differently – when you are explaining you are losing.

The controversy over the scurrilous unfounded sex-abuse slurs made against Maurice McCabe has eclipsed everything else now for more than a week with that nine-day threshold in sight.

Against that, nobody really resigns in Ireland until they have backed themselves into a cul-de-sac and there is no way out.

Unlike the US where Michael Flynn this week departed from the National Security Adviser job only weeks after being appointed. In Britain, if there is a whiff of cordite in your vicinity, the trapdoor is pulled and you are gone.

But in Ireland we kick everything to touch, clinging to the fig leaf of some kind of public inquiry. Everything is put into suspension until the inquiry concludes.

Commissions of Investigation are one thing. But a Tribunal of Inquiry is a horse of a different colour. By the time it reports, all of the main players will have moved on.

The bill to the State will be millions. And the report will be greeted with mild curiosity, as if you were seeing an exhibit of aspic that gave you a reminder of life long ago.

What happened to McCabe is a scandal. But it has to be dealt with in a manner that is urgent and expeditious and timely (and does not end up costing the State hundreds of millions of euro).

But what we got was a tribunal auction, with the spineless populists (the whole lot of them but Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin to the fore) all clamouring over one another to call for one. The report will be of historic value only, meaningless in the context of reform or correction.

What was inflicted on the McCabe family was beyond terrible. The manner in which it was handled by Tusla was disgraceful.

The same could be said of the HSE. A false allegation of rape arose because of an “administrative error”. It was unforgivable. And then the false allegation was allowed fester even after it became known there was no basis for it.

It beggars belief that McCabe then came to be contacted to be told he was a potential risk to children. But sadly it happened.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Remote working creates rural boom

Stephen Corrigan

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Report....Professor Alma McCarthy.

Urban dwellers are now looking to up sticks and move to the countryside, as working from home becomes the norm – and with a new survey showing almost all workers who have made the switch hoping to maintain some level of remote working, rural life is becoming increasingly attractive.

According to one of the lead researchers behind the second national employee survey carried out since the onset of Covid-19, remote working is surging in popularity, with 94% of over 5,600 participants hoping to continue working remotely for some or all of the time – an increase from 83% six months ago.

Professor Alma McCarthy of the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG told the Connacht Tribune that the desire to continue working from home had grown since the first phase of the survey in April, with more flexible hours and no traffic adding to its appeal.

“What we are looking at here is a particular cohort of the workforce that have jobs which lend themselves to working from home, and where people have that opportunity, we see that support has gone up [for remote working].

“Most people want a blended type of working arrangement, where they work from home some of the time and go into the office maybe one or two days a week. I think that is probably how it will look from now on,” said Prof McCarthy.

The number of people who wish to work from home five days a week has more than doubled since April, now at 27% compared to 12% in the early days of Covid-19.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Retail outlets stay positive despite shut-down

Stephen Corrigan

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Challenge...Fiona Charity.

Galway retailers have reiterated calls to shop local online in the coming weeks, as Level 5 restrictions force them to close their doors in the run up to peak shopping season.

From today (Thursday), unessential retailers must shut up shop until December 1 – limiting outlets such as clothes, furniture and toy shops to online sales and collections only.

One such shop is Modella Fashion in Corrandulla, which only opened its doors for the first time in July, and while owner Fiona Charity said it was clearly a huge challenge to start a new business in a pandemic, she remained hopeful that she could weather the storm.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing, but public health is the most important thing, and if this works, we might have more freedom for Christmas.

“We are lucky in that we went live with our website last week and that’s been really busy already. Even though we can’t open, people are able to order online and have their order delivered, or click and collect,” said Ms Charity ahead of closing this week.

Likewise, Standún in An Spidéal has seen a surge in their online sales since the onset of Covid-19, according to manager Deirdre Ní Ghríofa, who said the message for everyone was to “shop local as much as you possibly can”.

Ms Ní Ghríofa said they had a big increase in local sales online during the early days of the pandemic and that was something she hoped would continue in the run up to Christmas.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Back in our bubble – and braced for the impact

Dara Bradley

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Fourth Class pupils from Galway Educate Together NS in Newcastle enjoying the wonder of science to mark the launch of Galway Science and Technology Festival's 2020 online programme running from November 8 to 22.

Galway is braced for the economic impact of this week’s return to lockdown – with both the pub and retail sector preparing for the worst.

The head of the county’s publicans predicted that as many as one in five outlets will never reopen, given that the best case scenario now is that they’ll return to Level 3 for Christmas,  which limits outdoor drinkers to just 15.

In a stark warning, Chair of the Galway branch of the VFI, Joe Sheridan, said a conservative estimate was that 20% of pubs won’t reopen – but that could rise to one-third if they didn’t see some return to business for the festive season.

Retailers too were predicting the worst – but still with the belief that a good December could save them.

The reasoning behind the move to Level 5 was underlined by the fact that new cases of the infection are now rising at a rate of 500 per week.

After another record week of positive cases in Galway, there were 13 patients in two public hospitals being treated for Covid-19 – twelve in UHG and one in Ballinasloe.

There were a further three suspected cases in UHG.

See full coverage of the Covid crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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