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Connacht Tribune

Michael D is still in the box seat despite Super Monday scramble

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Second coming?...President Michael D Higgins at his inauguration in Dublin Castle seven years ago.

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

It was Super Monday, as twelve local authorities met to decide whether or not they would endorse Independent presidential candidates. And by the end of the day, we had two official candidates with a third certain to get the nod.

Galway played its part too. Both councils met on Monday. And without too much fuss (save a bit of legal uncertainty in the City Council) they both backed Joan Freeman, the senator, suicide campaigner and founder of Pieta House.

She had started the day with one nomination in the bag from last week (Cork City Council). Very quickly she acquired the two Galways plus Fingal, where she was in a straight run-off with Gavin Duffy.

The most impressive was Sean Gallagher. He only really entered the fray last week but on his first big day, he had all his four nominations in the bag by mid-afternoon.

Connacht played its part – Roscommon, Leitrim and Mayo backed him. Mayo was not even expected to discuss the matter in detail but it went the whole nine yards to the surprise of everybody. And then in the early afternoon, Gallagher was backed by Wexford taking him over the threshold.

Duffy was not too far behind. He too had one in the bag before Monday (Meath) and added another two (Carlow and Wicklow) before the day was out. He is guaranteed support from Louth next Monday but I suspect he will have got his four nominations by the time you are reading this.

I have been making this point for some weeks now: that serious and well-regarded prospective candidates for the Presidential election will have little difficulty in securing sufficient nominations from local authorities.

The local authority route has become the easiest way for an independent candidate to get onto the ballot paper. Following such a route has been available since 1937 but, astonishingly, it was not successfully used until 1997, only 20 years ago.

Dana Rosemary Scallon won backing from five councils for the 1997 election in what was considered a huge novelty. Another candidate Derek Nally followed suit.

That particular gambit had been tried only once before, when the independent republican Patrick McCartan was unsuccessful in persuading four councils to back him in 1945. In the event, he managed to get onto the ballot paper using another route, by securing the backing of 20 TDs and Senators for an election won by Fianna Fáil’s Sean T O’Kelly.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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