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Peter Casey is just Chance the Gardener for a new generation

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Peter Casey...Chance the Gardener or changing face of politics?

World of Politics with Harry McGee

There’s a classic comedy called ‘Being There’ starring Peter Sellers. It’s about a slow-witted gardener called Chance who has worked all his life for a very rich man. When he speak he can only talk about the seasons, and about the return of growth in spring.

When the man dies, Chance is thrown onto the street. By chance he enters the lives of a Washington-power couple, who take them to their home.

In short order, he becomes a sensation. His simple pronouncements on the garden – “You will have to wait till spring before there is fresh growth” – are interpreted as gnomic predictions on the economy.

Soon, Chance the Gardener features on the cover of Time magazine, on all the TV networks. The President invites him to the White House and he is openly being talked about as the next president.

You know where all this is going – let me introduce Peter Casey.

For journalists, Peter Casey’s entry into the race was pure gold. He’s an intriguing guy who emigrated to Australia and then to America. He was a super salesman and made two fortunes, which he promptly lost. On the third go, he made another fortune and is now well off.

As a person who generates news stories, Casey had two things going for him. The first was that he has spent most of the past 20 years in the US and his style of politics is that partisan variety, where you put your opponent down at all costs.

He introduced an American style ad to the campaign, featuring Michael D Higgins’ dog. It was OTT, like most things Casey does, but it was hilarious.

The second quality is his capacity for sharing what he thinks without any filter. We have seen that numerous times during the campaign from his thoughts on the Áras intruder, to his comments on travellers, to his latest perorations about becoming Taoiseach and leading Fianna Fáil.

For that he has been compared to Donald Trump. The US president does not probably think too much about the niceties of strategy, or plan anything in a coherent way.

That said, forty years in the media glare has given him certain brutish skills including dissing his opponents, bigging himself up, and distracting people with an alternative spectacular controversy when he finds himself in hot-water.

And for all his inconsistency, it’s clear that Trump understands his role as president, where he is placed, who his people are, who his enemies are, what the message is.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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