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Connacht Tribune

Minister confirms progress on new primary care centres

Stephen Corrigan



The Minister for Health has confirmed to the Dáil that plans for development of primary care centres in Portumna, Gort and Headford ‘are being progressed’.

On foot of a question from Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte (FF), Minister Simon Harris (FG) said that planning permission had been obtained for a centre in Portumna and the HSE expects to enter into a lease agreement with the developer by the end of this year.

“Previous efforts to develop primary care centres in Gort and Headford have not been successful. However, Gort was included in a recent national advertisement seeking expressions of interest from developers for the delivery of the next tranche of 47 primary care centres [nationwide],” said Minister Harris.

“We have gone back to the market through advertisement. Submissions have now been received by the HSE and they are currently being considered. The Headford site was re-advertised locally in 2018 and the project has since progressed to a state at which short-listed candidates have been invited to submit a priced offer.”

Minister Harris could not give a timeline for the delivery of the centres, but said the HSE was determined to deliver on these projects, adding: “I am aware, however, of how important the three in question are to the people of Galway East. The Deputy has raised this with me on an ongoing basis.”

Deputy Rabbitte said news that these three sites were progressing was welcome news but said in Galway, there were only five primary care centres and it was important to have centres spread right across the county, not just in Galway East.

“My main concern about primary care centres is probably related to the fact that Galway is such a large county. The centres in Loughrea, Athenry and Tuam are very welcome.

“This time last year, the Minister and I were at the opening of the primary care centre in Tuam. It was very welcome but, at the time, it appeared that the x-ray department was omitted from the original plans.

“What is the current position on the x-ray department at the Tuam site,” queried Deputy Rabbitte.

Minister Harris said there are requests to put in x-ray facilities in Tuam, which he said was the next big step.

“With regard to Galway, there are now primary care centres operational in Tuam, Mountbellew, Loughrea, Athenry, Galway City East, the Aran Islands, Ballinasloe and Moycullen. The centre in Inishbofin is now underway.

“The one for Portumna is in early planning, as are those for Oranmore and Moycullen. Another, for Galway City West, is in early planning.

“Therefore, we have a quite ambitious programme for primary care centres for Galway. I understand, however, particularly from a geographical point of view, the importance of the three in question,” said the Fine Gael Minister.

Connacht Tribune

Two arrested in Galway over spate of burglaries

Enda Cunningham



Two men in County Galway have been arrested as part of a Garda investigation into a series of burglaries in businesses in Limerick and Tipperary.

As part of the operation, three houses were searched yesterday (Saturday) morning in Co Galway and two men in their 20s were arrested. They were brought to Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda stations in Limerick, where they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

During the search operation, two vehicles were also seized for technical examination.

The eight burglaries were carried out in the Limerick and Tipperary area in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

As part of these investigations, an operation was put in place by detective Gardaí from Henry Street Garda station with the assistance of the Armed Support Unit in the Western Region and Gardaí from Tipperary, Limerick and Galway.

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Connacht Tribune

Branar reaching for skies at former airport

Judy Murphy



Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí.

Lifestyle – The disused terminal at Galway Airport is being transformed for Sruth na Teanga, an immersive journey through centuries of Irish language and culture. Created by theatre company Branar, it was commissioned by Galway 2020 and will use puppetry, music, video and live performance to give audiences a fresh insight into the oldest vernacular language in Western Europe. Its creator and director, Marc Mac Lochlainn talks to JUDY MURPHY.

Entering the terminal of Galway Airport is like visiting the place that time forgot.

The desks for Avis and Budget Travel are still in place, exactly as they were when the facility closed nine years ago. So too are signs saying ‘Departures’ and ‘Garda and Customs only’, while the yellow pay-machines for the empty car-park stand abandoned by the main door and wind howls through the deserted building.

At the reception desk, a dog-eared copy of Dan Brown’s novel, Deception, is a lonesome reminder of the days when people thronged through this airport, carrying reading material for their flights.

“It’s a bit like the Mary Celeste,” says Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí with a mischievous grin. He’s referring to the American shipwreck that was found abandoned off the Azores in 1872, with everything perfectly intact but its crew missing.

At the height of Storm Brendan, with the rain lashing and wind howling, the space does feel eerie, but from March 2-29, thanks to Branar, it will become home to magical forests, streams and islands for one of the main events of Galway 2020 – European Capital of Culture.

Branar’s new show, Sruth na Teanga, was commissioned by 2020 as one of its flagship productions.  Now the theatre company has just over a month to transform the abandoned terminal building into a space for an immersive journey capturing the evolution of Western Europe’s oldest written, and still spoken, language. That language is Irish – a subject which caused so many people so much angst at school.

Marc is aware of this difficult legacy, but points out that Irish language and its culture far predates what has happened to it in the 20th Century at the hands of the Irish education system.

And that’s what Sruth na Teanga – based on the metaphor of a river – is all about. With puppetry, music, video mapping and live performance, it’s for children and adults and Marc hopes it will give people a fresh appreciation for Irish and its ongoing role in shaping us as a nation, through our place-names, our stories, our songs and the way we view the world.

Transforming the deserted airport terminal for this production will be no small feat but then Branar have never been short of ambition, as anyone who has seen their magical productions, such as How to Catch a Star and Woolly’s Quest, will be aware.

Sruth na Teanga has been evolving since 2015 when Galway first sought the European Capital of Culture designation and invited people such as Marc to dream big.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin stand 60 minutes away from club football crowning glory

John McIntyre



Corofin's Colin Brady is tackled by Paul Kerrigan of Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland club semi-final. The reigning champions face Kilcoo of Down in Sunday's showdown at Croke Park.

IT’S a date with destiny like none other in the history of club Gaelic football. A team from Galway trying to go where no parish team has gone before.

Protecting a remarkable 35-match unbeaten run, Corofin stand on the threshold of becoming the first team to win three All-Ireland club senior titles on the trot.

It would represent a phenomenal achievement and the crowning glory for the Galway champions who have been such a compelling force over the past decade.

Standing in their way are All-Ireland final debutants, Kilcoo from Down, and while Corofin are red-hot favourite, the biggest occasion on the club GAA calendar has been littered with upsets down through the years.

It’s not in the nature of Kevin O’Brien’s charges to take anything for granted, however, and if they bring their A-game to Croke Park for the third year running, Corofin will have secured a cherished place in the record books on Sunday night.

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