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Connacht Tribune

Packed like sardines in Salthill and only 200 allowed gather at a game

John McIntyre

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John McIntyre

Inside Track with John McIntyre – sports@ctribune.ie

IN a moment of madness, I decided to take a cycle out to Salthill last Saturday. By the time I got to the Blackrock Diving Tower, I thought I had just come through Torremolinos or one of those sun hot spots on the Costa Del Sol. There were cars and people everywhere.

The first inkling that Salthill would be heaving came when there was a traffic-jam halfway back the Lough Atalia Road leading to the Docks. Such were the number of cars, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Pearse Stadium was hosting a Connacht football final that afternoon.

If the people of Offaly, Laois and Kildare – all currently under partial Covid-19 lockdown – could see the carefree holiday mood in one of the West’s favourite tourist attractions, they’d be wondering had they stumbled on a parallel universe.

As readers will know from previous columns, I have a jaundiced view of NPHET and the Government’s cautious approach to relaxing the coronavirus restrictions. The scaremongering continues at frightening levels and many people are living in a climate of fear – though few of them were in Salthill.

NPHET must be immune to what’s really happening on the ground. If it thinks that there is widespread compliance, the group is living in cloud cuckoo land. All over Ireland’s favourite tourist attractions, there are thousands of holiday makers with little or no observance of social distancing.

My frustration over this scenario is fuelled by the way sport and its followers have been so badly compromised by the Covid-19 restrictions. My club Lorrha was playing in the Tipperary hurling championship last Friday evening and many of our diehard supporters couldn’t get a ticket to the match.

It’s the same in every GAA parish. So much unnecessary agitation and frustration. On Sunday evening, reporting duties took me to Ballinasloe for an attractive derby clash between Tommy Larkins and Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry. In a nutshell, there was nearly as many people inside as outside the wire. The ‘gathering’ limit of 200 annoyingly remains, especially in the context of the throngs in places like Salthill.

NPHET have justified not increasing crowd limits to beyond 200 over fears that people will congregate afterwards and the assumption that individuals from different families are travelling together in the one car. Frankly, it’s a load of nonsense and just irrational justification for not being prepared to compromise.

Of course, if the Government had any backbone instead of acting like a lapdog, it would never have come to this. I am fed up of hearing the line, in the interests of ‘public health’, as if people are dying from nothing else other than the coronavirus. The reality is that there have only been a handful of fatalities from the disease over the past fortnight. In the same period, how many have passed away from cancer and cardiac issues when their standard of care wasn’t what it should have been due to the fixation with Covid-19 over the past four months?

There’s now a genuine health and safety issue at play as well in relation to sporting fixtures. We have all images of fans hanging off trees and ladders, and others on rust-laden roofs, in their desperation to support their local teams. Furthermore, does NPHET have any idea what their draconian approach is doing to the mental health of some people?

There was no justification for stopping sporting activity in Laois, Offaly and Kildare last Friday. Locking down the affected towns where there was a surge of new infections in local meat processing plants would have made more sense. There have been no clusters spread through sport so why should codes like GAA and soccer be punished?

We all appreciate that the virus hasn’t gone away and there is an obligation on all of us to act responsibly, but only making the use of masks compulsory for most indoor settings from last Monday takes the biscuit altogether. Why has it taken so long? The pandemic has been with us since last March and only now is this measure deemed appropriate.

Over the past few weeks, I have observed individuals wearing masks travelling alone in cars, while cycling, and outdoors where there’s hardly a sinner in sight. What’s that all about? It’s not as if you can pass on the virus to yourself! Horse racing is going to extremes altogether. Now everybody at a meeting has to wear a mask outdoors. Suffice to say, they all look ridiculous walking around in what is the equivalent of big open fields.

I have absolutely no issue with our civil liberties being compromised in the ongoing quest to supress the virus, but logic is being repeatedly thrown out the window. NPHET’s ‘one size fits all’ approach must be urgently reviewed and the Government needs to stand back and make up its own mind about what activity constitutes genuine risk.

Though I believe the horse has long since bolted when it comes to wearing masks in indoor centres, I am willingly obeying the rule while as team manager of Lorrha, all our players have their temperatures checked before each training session; there are hand santisers supplied; and the training props are disinfected.

The primary focus should be on sorting out meat processing plants and the direct provision centres, while travel in and out of the country ought to be restricted to emergencies or on compassionate grounds. House parties also need to be clamped down on. Everything else is hardly worth a hill of beans in tackling this pandemic.

Keeping gatherings at 200 and not allowing pubs to reopen are soft targets. I am not proposing anarchy or anything like that, but the powers that be need to wise up and concentrate their efforts on the places where outbreaks of the virus are occurring. Everything else is just window dressing.

Connacht Tribune

NewDad enjoy fruit of their labour in debut EP

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NewDad....debut EP now released.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

It is difficult to transcend a local music scene at the best of times – but the absence of live gigs (and the momentum they generate) has made the industry even less accessible for young bands…which is what makes the continued rise of Galway band NewDad all the more impressive.

Having cultivated an original, current brand of dreampop over several years, the four-piece have intensified their progress in the last twelve months with a string of successful singles.

Now receiving airplay on BBC Radio 6 and drawing comparisons to Mazzy Star and The Cure, it looks as though free gigs and bedroom recordings are becoming a thing of the not so distant past.

A polished, coherent body of work is on the horizon. NewDad recently finished recording their debut EP in Belfast and it is tentatively set for release later this year.

The group is comprised of vocalist & rhythm guitarist Julie Dawson, bassist Áindle O’Beirn, lead guitarist Sean O’Dowd and drummer Fiachra Parslow. With a keen interest in the production side of their work, the four were heavily involved in the studio process.

“We were recording for three days but we were there for five really,” Sean recalls. “We had the demos very good. It was all multitracked and that so there are bits from the demos that are staying in the finished thing.”

“Yeah and we spent the last month basically rinsing through the set over and over,” Áindle adds.

“They all kind of give off a similar vibe I suppose but they’ve been written at different points. One of the tracks is actually the second song we ever wrote from years ago. We’ve always got loads of songs going so we’ve just taken five that we think go really well together…

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Houses selling faster as more working from home

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Estate agent Kevin Burke: increased demand for properties with a home office.

The average time taken to sell a house in Galway has fallen by three weeks in the past three months, a national property survey has found.

The REA Average House Price Survey found that the average time taken to sell across the county fell over the past three months from 11 weeks to eight in the city, and 13 weeks to 10 in the county.

As people move to incorporate new working from home lifestyles, the price of the average three-bed semi-detached house rose by 0.5% in the city to €285,000 this quarter and remained at €165,000 in the county.

“The market is strong with good demand for all properties. Activity levels have increased throughout the summer, and rural properties within commuting distance of Galway are in good demand,” said Kevin Burke of REA McGreal Burke, which has offices in Galway City and Loughrea.

“Even though the levels of supply remained static, demand has increased for all properties with a home office or home office possibility such as a large garage, garden or attic which is suitable for conversion.

“Properties on the edge of the city have also proved popular, and everyone seems to have taken time to assess their current position.”

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

CitySwift announces 50 new jobs for city as part of its major expansion

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Minister Hildegarde Naughton at the CitySwift jobs announcement with Brian O'Rourke and Alan Farrelly of CitySwift.

A Galway company, which produces cutting-edge technology to optimize the public transport experience for operators and customers alike, this week announced 50 new jobs over the next two years.

CitySwift, the transport data company which works with global players such as Go Ahead and National Express to transform the operations and passenger experience of public transport, announced the jobs for over the next two years – with 15 roles to be filled immediately.

The announcement comes after CitySwift secured €2m in funding from existing investors Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, ACT Venture Capital, Irelandia Investment, and Mike McGearty.

The new roles will be across software, data science, and commercial roles including customer success, sales, and marketing.

As part of the rapid growth, CitySwift will also be moving to a bigger headquarters in Galway city centre.

Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the jobs announcement.

“Growth of this scale for a local company, especially during these times, is remarkable,” she said.

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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