BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM
Galway Chamber of Commerce – the majority stakeholder in Galway Airport – has said that uptake for the new Park & Ride service has “not been as anticipated”.
Michael Coyle, CEO of Galway Chamber, and Chairman of the airport said yesterday (Monday) that the scheme is experimental and in its early stages and admitted “numbers were low”.
He refused to say how many people availed of the weekday service last week – on two mornings last week there were three or less cars parked at the airport.
However, the special service on Sunday for the football match in Pearse Stadium saw maximum occupancy, with all 626 spaces filled and between 900 and 1,000 passengers on the shuttle buses.
He said the first 300 supporters were back at the Airport by 6pm, and the GAA said they will use the service again in the future.
Mr Coyle said he was delighted with the success of the match service, and said it would be looked at again for events such as the Arts Festival, concerts and for Connacht Rugby.
And while he said that the uptake last week was “low”, he was not willing to provide exact figures.
“Last week was the first week of operation, and the schedules and routes were being tested. This is a pilot scheme, so it’s a learning process. Numbers were low.
“We expected more commuters to use it for work, but it’s actually the reverse of what we anticipated. There are more people using it during the day.
“We have done extensive advertising and leaflet dropping in the areas we feel should be targeted, and we are experimenting. It’s early days yet,” said Mr Coyle.
He said it takes time to change the mindset of motorists, but hoped that fuel savings of up to €1,000 per year by using the Park & Ride would be an incentive.
“It’s a big change for somebody to change their habits, and in their eyes disrupt their day by leaving the car somewhere. That’s the big challenge,” he said.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.
It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.
General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.
She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.
Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.
Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.
Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.
She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.
Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!
Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.
Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.
Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.
The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.
Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.
“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.
*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.