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Connacht Tribune

Opinions always differ on the validity of political polls

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

The modern opinion poll was created by an American journalist and academic called George Gallup, who, back in the 1930s, came up with the idea of a scientific sample of the population that would disclose what the entire population was thinking.

Soon Gallup was a very rich man and his company was polling on every imaginable issue, from politics to which washing detergent went down best with the public.

How accurate are opinion polls? On the face of it, they seem to be compelling.

If you take a sample of young people, old people, country people, city people, young and old, rich and poor, west coast, east coast, married, single and other, their display of views should more or less mimic the rest of the population. Over time, mathematical formulae were applied to it.

A simple random sample of 1,067 cases has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points for estimates of overall support for individual candidates.

The idea behind confidence levels and margins of error is that any survey or poll will differ from the true population by a certain amount.

So that’s the first get-out clause. If Fine Gael is showing at 30 per cent, that can mean its true support could be as high as 33 per cent or could be as low as 27 per cent.

What’s more pollsters divide results into sub groups. For example, Fine Gael might enjoy support of 35 per cent among 18 to 24 year olds. But the sample is so tiny (160) and the margin of error so big (eight per cent) that it’s meaningless.

So while they appropriate the language of science, polls are relatively crude instruments for ‘measuring’ public opinion.

Of course, that’s not even taking into account human psychology or behaviour.

For example, in political polls, young people and minorities tend to vote at much lower rates, so their behaviour necessitates adjustment.

Another factor is that people are sometimes asked questions on something on which they have no strong opinion, one way or the other. Mid-term polls tend to be a little meaningless as most people have given zero thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Public auction of Castlesampson farm with c.143 acres

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Connaughton Auctioneers are handling the sale of a c.143.40 acre farm located at Corraree and Ballygatta, Castlesampson, just 9km from Athlone/ M6 Motorway and 15km from Ballinasloe Town.

Located in a renowned farming district, the property has an extensive range of modern farm buildings including five-bay single slatted with lay back, three bay double bay slatted, covered yard with crush, two-bay double slatted, three-bay double flat shed and three-bay single flat shed with an overall area of c.10,274 sq. ft.

The lands are being offered for sale in four lots, Lot 1: c.77.77 acres with the farm buildings mentioned above, Lot 2: c.52.43 acres, Lot 3: c.13.20 acres and Lot 4: The entire property c.143.30 Acres with farm buildings. With a public road passing through the farm, there is extensive road frontage to an area of c.2,500 metres thereby holding huge potential for building sites in the future.

The property comes with mains connections to electricity and water and includes overall c.55.07 entitlements included in the sale.

Auctioneer for the sale, Ivan Connaughton stated: “This is a fine farm to come on the open market. The large investment in the ultra-modern farm buildings by the current owners together with an extensive holding of top-quality agricultural lands has attracted interest from both near and far.

The potential for transformation into dairy or usage as a large feed lot has attracted additional interest. Its location in a renowned farming district and conveniently situated close to the Galway/ Dublin M6 Motorway is a major advantage. The farm entitlements that total c.€21,000 per annum are included in the sale and has received a positive response from interested parties to date. I encourage any interested party to contact our office on 090-6663700 for further information and viewing”

The Public Auction is being held in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe on Friday August 30th at 4.00pm. All are welcome to attend. All legal enquiries can be made to solicitor for the carriage of sale, Hayden & Co. Solicitors, Athlone Tel: 090-6470622

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Connacht Tribune

Offering a lifeline to people affected by cancer

Denise McNamara

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Lifestyle – The Daffodil Centre at UHG which is celebrating its 10th anniversary has given practical and moral support to thousands of cancer patients and their family members since the Irish Cancer Society set it up as a pilot project. DENISE MCNAMARA hears one man’s story of its role in his recovery.

When Alan Rushe began to feel cramps in his stomach, he did not hesitate in attending his local doctor.

His GP asked if he had ever suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As he had been diagnosed with the condition when he was younger, he was prescribed tablets for that and told to see how they worked.

Six days later, Alan’s condition hadn’t improved so his GP referred him for a colonoscopy. When the invasive test revealed he had colon cancer he was operated on within ten days. Two months later he was started on six months of chemotherapy, getting treatment once every fortnight.

When he was coming to the end of the treatment, Alan found himself in a bind.

He wanted reassurance about what to expect as the chemicals left his body but the doctors and nurses in the oncology ward were far too busy to give him the time he needed to sit and chat.

“One of the things about having cancer, your whole life becomes obsessed with your problem and how you’re dealing with it,” Alan reflects.

“Suddenly you’re coming to the end of chemo and you find yourself in a very strange place; you are in a vacuum. You might be told things by different doctors and nurses but you haven’t taken it in.

“You can’t just drop back into the ward, yet you want to talk to people who know all there is to know about your type of cancer.”

He was advised to go to the Daffodil Centre in University Hospital Galway (UHG), which is run by the Irish Cancer Society to seek further information.

There he found oncology nurse Fionnuala Creighton who manages the Galway Daffodil Centre. She sat down with Alan and gave him the time to answer the myriad of questions that were swirling around his mind.

“She gave me all this information about what to expect when chemo is leaving the body, how it would affect me. She gave me information leaflets and told me about services that are available, such as exercise classes in Cancer Care West,” he explains.

The Daffodil Centre at UHG began as a pilot project for the Irish Cancer Society a decade ago this month.

Aileen McHale, who is now Cancer Information Services Manager with the Irish Cancer Society, was the first nurse to work there.

“We wanted to set up a designated cancer centre in a hospital to provide information to the patient, relatives and general public at the point of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up,” she explains. “I was involved in the setting up and running it and, from the beginning one of my roles was recruiting and training a group of volunteers who would help me in the running of the centre.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Hanley’s high-quality minors break new ground in great style

John McIntyre

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Galway 3-14

Kilkenny 0-12

HURLING history was made much easier than expected at Croke Park last Sunday when Galway claimed a third consecutive All-Ireland minor hurling title for the first time ever.

As it transpired, this repeat of last year’s championship decider was a no-contest. Galway were so superior it made a nonsense of the conventional theory that the more games a team plays, they better they should become.

This may have been Kilkenny’s eighth match of a protracted campaign, but it was undoubtedly their worst display in falling to a heavy 11-point defeat. The young Cats were almost too bad to be true and their tame challenge faded completely after the break.

Though Kilkenny’s poverty considerably eased the task of the defending champions, the manner in which Galway went about their business was still impressive. Their overall skills set was in a different league, while their big-match temperament also stood them in good stead.

Having to beat the same team twice in the same championship can be problematic and although only three points had separated Sunday’s protagonists in the quarter-final round-robin series a few weeks ago, there was little or no drama in the championship’s defining battle such was the gulf in standard.

Not alone were Galway completing a notable three-in-a-row, but this was also the fourth time in the last five years that the Irish Press Cup has returned west, while the county has now captured eight of the last 16 All-Ireland minor titles.

This is an exceptional feat by any standards and new Galway manager Brian Hanley has clearly followed in the footsteps of his successful predecessor, Jeffrey Lynskey, in recognising young talent and then shaping them into a formidable team.

Galway are now the undisputed brand leaders at minor level and while the failure to translate this dominance to greater success in senior ranks remains a deep source of frustration, this week in not the time to be looking at the wider picture.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

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