Students from a North Galway school gave a standing ovation to a 93 years old local man who comfortably completed a five mile walk for charity.
And Paddy Coleman from Garrafrauns, from a strong GAA background, admitted that he hasn’t “an ache or a pain” and really enjoyed the experience.
In fact, Paddy has participated in the past three walks organised by Dunmore Community School and was proudly joined by his daughter Jean Ryan and her two sons Sean and Dara. And he is still hale and hearty.
He is still a very familiar face at GAA matches and has been a Dunmore MacHales GAA Club stalwart for many years. He is the brother of the legendary Bertie Coleman who passed away back in 2007 and is the father of John and Pat Coleman who represented the club at the highest level.
But the enthusiasm with which he was greeted by the students of Dunmore Community School after he completed the walk proved very emotional for Paddy who has always kept fit throughout his life. The students were amazed by his stamina.
“It’s great, I don’t have an ache or a pain”, he told the Connacht Tribune after completing the walk. He was joined by various family members on the event who left him to his own devices along the route.
Paddy came from Cappagh, a small village outside Dunmore and had three brothers, Bertie, Cecil and Kevin. He won a county medal with Dunmore back in 1953 when they defeated Oughterard in the final and remains a keen cyclist.
Back in 1952 Paddy married Mary Agnes Nestor and they had nine children. Paddy and Mary Agnes owned a shop and a bar in The Square in Dunmore and ran a terrific business to support their children.
Paddy drove lorries for the local merchant, Collins, bringing eggs and flour from Dunmore to Dublin. He also drove lorries for Coca Cola as well as the local school bus.
Paddy has always had a great love for the GAA and has spent nearly every Sunday of his life going to matches all around the country. A loyal Galway supporter, this year alone he travelled as far as Letterkenny and then more locally to Pearse Stadium to support the Galway footballers.
His grandson, Sean Ryan said that Paddy is also frequently seen around Dunmore on his bicycle and often cycles in and out from Garrafrauns to the town.
“Paddy, in fact, was one of the first people in the county to own an electric bicycle, which he purchased in Holland,” Sean said.
Paddy has 21 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren and shows great interest in all of their outdoor pursuits.
“He is an extremely positive person who always sees the brighter side of life. Every day he says he had a great day, whether it was farming, watching a match, visiting his children, reading a book, listening to music or simply relaxing,” Sean added.
Paddy told to the Connacht Tribune that: “I may as well do it now, because when I get old I won’t be able to”.
Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars
Five large Garda stations in County Galway are operating with fewer Garda vehicles now than two years ago – leading to a call for the local fleet to be restored to 2020 levels.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed to Galway West TD Noel Grealish that the Garda fleet in the Galway Garda Division stands at 116 as of October of this year.
That’s greater than any of the years from 2012 to 2019, but it represents a reduction on the Garda fleet when compared with 2020 and 2021 figures.
Galway Gardaí had a dozen fewer vehicles this year, compared with 2020. There are 13 fewer patrol cars, down from 96 to 83; there was no change in the number of vans and motorcycles, and the division acquired one extra 4×4.
Garda stations in Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam, Clifden and Salthill have all lost patrol cars in the past 24 months, according to the official figures.
Independent Deputy Grealish has demanded a restoration of the Garda fleet in Galway to 2020 levels.
“Gardaí have a demanding enough job to do, but it makes that important work even more difficult if they are not allocated the proper resources,” Deputy Grealish said.
“A reduction of twelve vehicles in less than two years across the Galway Division, down from 128 at the end of 2020 to 116 in October this year, is concerning.
“I have asked the Minister for Justice to explain why this has happened, that the number of vehicles in the Galway Division has fallen by ten per cent, when nationally the total fleet actually increased by 6%. I am demanding that they at the very least be restored to their 2020 levels,” he said.
Deputy Grealish pointed out that almost all areas of the county had suffered a reduction in Garda vehicles since the beginning of last year. Ballinasloe currently has six vehicles, a reduction of two since the end of 2020; Clifden also has six, down one; Loughrea was down three to eleven; Salthill was down three to ten; the biggest reduction in Garda vehicles was in the Tuam area down five to twelve.
Galway City’s fleet increased by two vehicles, for a total of 71.
Minister McEntee said that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including the purchase, allocation, and effective and efficient use of Garda vehicles.
“As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review to ensure their optimum use in light of identified operational needs and emerging crime trends,” she added.
Galway City Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) last month complained that the number of vehicles available to Gardaí in Salthill and Knocknacarra was insufficient.
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later