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Connacht Tribune

Musical gesture hits a perfect note

Judy Murphy

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Members of the Cogar Céilí Band playing for residents of Áras Chois Fharraige, An Spidéal, on Sunday. Wind and rain proved no obstacle to the event, organised by Féile Traidphicnic, going ahead, with the audience in the sunroom to the right being able to hear via speakers. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

Lifestyle – Top musicians flock to An Spidéal every July for the annual Féile Thraidphicnic, a community event which has a ‘pay-what-you-can’ ethos for audiences. But it’s going online this year due to Covid-19.  Except for last Sunday when Traidphicnic, the Cogar Céilí Band and Lally Coaches volunteered their services to perform for residents in three local nursing homes, with all safety regulations in place. JUDY MURPHY went along.

“If you haven’t music, you might as well be dead,” remarks Tomás Seoighe as he sits contentedly in the courtyard of Áras Mihc Dara nursing home in An Cheathrú Rua, admiring the playing and presentation of the Cogar Céilí Band, while sipping a Guinness.

Tomás explains he’s recovering after an accident and is a temporary resident of the HSE run nursing home. He sits on a bench, at a safe distance from visitors, while other frailer residents listen to the music from inside the building, through the open double doors and windows. And there’s no doubting their happiness as they clap and sway to the selection of reels and jigs. Before the session ends, several sprightly people have made their way to the enclosed outdoor space and are dancing to the Tennessee Waltz, joined by staff members.

Several of the audience are sipping Bailey’s, Guinness, beer or cider, with non-alcoholic versions of beers and cider available too.

It’s 2pm on Sunday and the 11-strong Cogar Céilí Band are visiting Áras Mhic Dara as part of the Féile Traidphicnic, which normally takes place in and around An Spidéal in early July every year.

However, Covid-19 forced Traidphicnic to redirect most of its concerts and exhibitions online this year, explains Bridge Barker of the voluntary organising committee. That’s fine, but they were concerned that some older people might not be in a position to engage.

They also felt residents and staff of nursing homes deserved to be especially remembered during what has been a strange and difficult time for them.

So, in the last few weeks, as the four-strong committee of Traidphicnic were working on putting their concerts and community events online, Bridge contacted nursing homes in An Spidéal, An Cheathrú Rua and Cárna offering to have a live music event in each place, with some of the county’s finest traditional musicians playing for half an hour in each place.

“We’d been planning it since at least the middle of May,” she explains. “But insurance problems meant we couldn’t confirm it until Friday morning.”

That’s because they were travelling by coach and had originally hoped to use Lally’s double-decker bus, which normally carries people to Ros a’ Mhíl for the Aran Island ferries, as a stage. Lallys were happy to donate the bus, but insurance was an issue.  Instead, the local tour company supplied a regular coach, with Máirtín Óg Lally giving his service for free. Traidphicnic’s insurance company came good on Friday morning, which meant the bus could carry the band and festival members – other helpers travelled by car.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley

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Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan

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Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley

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Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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