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Connacht Tribune

Phase 2 in full: All retailers allowed to open

Enda Cunningham

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announcing details of Phase 2 this afternoon.

People can move freely within their own county, and all retailers can reopen, under the new Phase 2 guidelines announced by the Taoiseach this afternoon.

The Cabinet has also agreed to bring forward actions in the remaining phases, so there will now be just four phases, rather than five. Phase 3 will be starting June 29th and Phase 4 on July 20th.

“I can confirm that it is safe to move to Phase 2 in the plan to reopen our country,” Mr Varadkar said.

“Covid-19 is still having a major impact on our country. By working together we have made progress – but the virus is still in Ireland.

“As we reopen our country, it is vital that we all continue to observe the public health guidance. To stay safe, you need to limit where you go and limit the number of people you meet.”

The five main guidelines for Phase 2 are:

Stay Local: You may travel within your own county, and up to 20 kilometres from your home if crossing county boundaries.

Meeting other people: You may meet up to 6 people from outside your household both indoors and outdoors for social gatherings. Organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities of up to 15 people may take place

Shops: All retail is reopening. Shop locally, shop safely and support businesses in your community. (Shopping centres can open on June 15)

Work from home: It is more important than ever to work  from home where possible.

Transport: Walk or cycle if you can. Only use public transport if you absolutely need to. Public transport capacity is limited because of social distancing requirements.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be extended until the end of August.

Under Phase 2, the following advisories have been announced:

Community Health

It is recommenced that face coverings be worn in public places, such as shops, and on public transport. You may meet up to six people from outside your household both indoors and outdoors for social gatherings. Organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities of up to 15 people may take place. If you are over 70 or medically vulnerable be extra vigilant. Up to 25 immediate family and close friends may attend funeral services.

Children

Outdoor summer camps may operate for post-primary children.

Playgrounds and commercially-serviced outdoor amenities may reopen.

Economic activity and work

Working from home must continue wherever possible.

Marts may open where social distancing and hygiene can be maintained.

Retail, services and commercial activity

All retail outlets may open. Opening times and modes of operation may vary. Please co-operate with store staff and abide by systems put in place for your safety.

Cultural, sporting and social

Groups of up to 15, including trainers and coaches, may return to non-contact outdoor training activity (but not matches) while maintaining social distancing at all times.

Public Libraries will commence reopening.

Behind-closed-door horse and greyhound racing can commence.

Public Transport

Social distancing means that overall capacity remains extremely restricted. Use public transport only for essential journeys.

Wearing a face covering is recommended.

Avoid peak-time travel.

Walk or Cycle if possible.

International Travel

All non-essential overseas travel to and from Ireland should be avoided.

Passengers arriving from overseas are expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

Advice for those over 70 or the medically vulnerable

If you are over 70 or medically vulnerable, please use your judgement to decide how best to apply the following health guidance:

stay home as much as possible; you may welcome small numbers of people to your home, but maintain social distancing;  for shopping, please use the times specially allotted by retailers; if you are visiting someone who is over 70 or medically vulnerable, please be extra-vigilant.

On June 29th, Phase 3 will commence and see the opening of hotels, restaurants, hotels, caravan parks, galleries and museums, and make it possible for bars that also operate as restaurants to be able to reopen.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

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

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – 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

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

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

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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