Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

One thing is certain – nothing will ever be the same again

Published

on

Distance markings painted on the footpath as a reminder to people walking on the Salthill Prom. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

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

It might seem that what is happening in the world right now is something new that has never happened before – but that’s not quite the case. Such biblical outbreaks have happened before and with calamitous consequences.  A century ago in 1918, the Spanish flu reached the shores of Ireland, killing indiscriminately and causing massive disruption in society. It’s hard to get an accurate figure for how many people caught the flu but it could have been between 800,000 to one million. And between 20,000 and 25,000 people died – of all ages, including the very young.

Contemporary reports show that services, hospitals, and residential homes were overwhelmed. Coffins were stacked up eighteen-high in one Dublin mortuary because of the speed of attrition, and also because of the lack of gravediggers.

And then there was TB – a bacteria rather than a virus but that made it no less deadly. In the early part of the last century, it was reckoned to be killing 10,000 people a year in Dublin, many in the overcrowded tenements.

So, such plagues have occurred through the centuries – but, for our generation, outside common memory.

And what is different about this one is the overwhelming speed of transmission and the overwhelming volume of information throughout the world.

We live in a connected universe. There are daily flights from Ireland to just about every corner in the world. And so the virus has spread with mind-boggling rapidity.

It is only four months ago, in December, that the first report came in from Wuhan of an infection, believed to have been passed on by a bat at a live animal market (where they butcher on the spot). At the end of March, over 800,000 people have contracted it worldwide, of whom 40,000 have died.

That connection is also a non-physical one made possible by technology, both a blessing and a curse.

On the upside, it has allowed medical experts to learn very quickly what has worked – and not worked – elsewhere. Irish epidemiology specialists are in WhatsApp groups with colleagues from Wuhan and Lombardy where they share knowledge. Those searching for a vaccine can pool their research and trials.

The downside is that myths have been created and shared on social media, leading to a societal sense of mild panic.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Connacht Tribune

Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’

Published

on

Raw emotion, sadness and some anger filled the air at Clifden Town Hall on Sky Road last Sunday afternoon as a shaken community gave honest, personal accounts of the impact the closure by stealth of Clifden District Hospital would have on the people of North Connemara.

The public meeting was hastily organised after fears emerged on Friday that the HSE may transfer respite services from Clifden to Merlin Park Hospital, 50-plus miles away in Galway City.

Families were told their loved ones in Clifden Hospital may have to move home, or go to Merlin Park the following Monday, due to ‘issues with staffing’.

An axe has hung over Clifden Hospital for some years, but this latest move stirred the community to fight back to retain services locally.

Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG), who organised the public meeting with Senator Sean Kyne, said 625 people signed the attendance sheets and an estimated 650 people attended.

“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.

“It wasn’t just anger; it was raw emotion in the room. Sadness. Family members spoke about the calls they got on Friday. The feeling that their elderly person was being rejected; that they weren’t being respected.

“One man stood up, three years waiting for respite care for a family member, and then to be told after a few days in there that she’d have to be taken home or to Merlin Park.

“We’re 50 miles from Galway. If there’s no traffic you might get to the outskirts in an hour but with the traffic in Galway, you could be another hour to get to Merlin Park. Not everyone has transport either and they’ve to rely on buses.

“A young woman stood up at the meeting and said her dad was dying in Galway. And she had to go to Saint Vincent de Paul to get money to pay for a B&B so that the family would be close to him when the end came. People gave their personal stories, and it was just heart-breaking.”

(Photo by Carmel Lyden: Teresa Conneely from Roundstone addresses people at the public meeting in Clifden Town Hall).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the Clifden Hospital story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!

Published

on

Clifden man Breandan O Scanaill, who is on a pilgrimage from his home town of Clifden to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, received a Mayoral welcome and a memorial crest when he arrived at the Asturian town of Navia last week.

Breandan, whose walk from his home outside Clifden to the reputed burial place of St James in Santiago, began in April, was walking through Navia in Spain when a local man came over to chat to him.

“He asked me about my journey and was interested in the fact that an Irish man had turned up in the town,” says Breandan, who had been admiring the Chapel of San Roque at the time.

The local man outlined the history of the building and the town to Breandan and they began chatting more generally about history and architecture – topics dear to the pilgrim’s heart.

Breandán’s new friend introduced himself as the Mayor of Navia, lgnacio Garcia Palacios, who invited the visitor from Clifden to visit the Town Hall.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Local Property Tax rate to stay unchanged despite Council chief’s plea

Published

on

Councillors have agreed to keep the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate unchanged – despite pleas from management that Galway County Council is predicted to spend at least €22 million more than it brings in for the next two years.

County Chief Executive Jim Cullen had recommended an increase of 15% on the LPT rate for 2023 and 2024 – amounting to €2.1m extra in the coffers annually – which would bolster its case when it came to pleading for a greater share of funding from central government.

In an estimation of income and expenditure for the Council, taking into account “unavoidable” expenditure and income changes set to hit, the Council would run a deficit of €9.04m in 2023 and 13.2m in 2024 – well over €22m unless there was a change in finances.

“I am hopeful of an uplift in baseline [funding] levels . . . we cannot continue to ignore the fact that other councils have raised LPT and their citizens enjoy a better standard of services that in Galway,” he stressed.

He told a meeting this week that €9m would be needed to maintain services next year at the same level as 2022. This was due to significant cost increases given that inflation is reaching 9.6% currently. Pensions, gratuities and payroll increases from the national pay agreement, increments and additional staff were all adding to bigger outgoings.

Without that extra funding, it will be necessary to reduce spending by that amount with a negative impact on service and staffing levels, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the story, including the councillors’ discussions, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending