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Connacht Tribune

Phase 3: re-opening details

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The revised Phase 3 will see a significant easing of restrictions on June 29th.

The following is a list of facilities and sectors that can re-open:

Education and childcare

The following may reopen:

  • all adult education facilities
  • creches, childminding facilities and pre-schools
  • summer camps
  • youth clubs
  • all indoor and outdoor amenities for children

Economic activity and work

Anyone who can work from home should continue to work from home wherever possible.

Businesses that can reopen

The following may reopen:

  • wellbeing services – for example: chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology and homoeopathy
  • hairdressers, barbers, nail and brow salons, beauty salons, spas, make-up application services, tanning, tattooing and piercing services
  • driving schools
  • all remaining retail (for example, bookmakers), services and commercial activities

Driving tests as well as volunteer and other driving services may recommence.

Compliance with work protocols and health guidance will be monitored by State agencies.

Social

Indoor gatherings

Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people when conducted in line with public health advice are permissible.

Outdoor gatherings

Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people when conducted in line with public health advice are permissible.

Businesses that can reopen

The following may reopen:

  • cafés and restaurants providing on premises food and beverages
  • pubs and hotel bars operating as restaurants
  • hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks

Music

Specific recommendations apply to singing, choirs and playing musical instruments in groups.

Note: All of the above are subject to the Phases 3 and 4 restrictions on numbers for public gatherings and other important public health advice.

Cultural and religious

The following may reopen:

  • museums, galleries, theatres, concert halls and other cultural outlets
  • cinemas, music venues (excluding nightclubs and discos), leisure facilities, bingo halls, arcades, skating rinks, amusements parks
  • religious buildings and places of worship

Note: All of the above are subject to the Phases 3 and 4 restrictions on numbers for public gatherings and other important public health advice.

Sport

Sporting activities may recommence, including:

  • team leagues for adults and children
  • close contact sports
  • organised sporting spectator events and fixtures

The following may reopen:

  • indoor gyms and exercise facilities
  • yoga, pilates and dance studios
  • sports clubs and public swimming pools

Note: All of the above are subject to the Phases 3 and 4 restrictions on numbers for public gatherings and other important public health advice.

Transport and travel

Walk or cycle if possible.

Public transport

  • social distancing means that overall capacity remains restricted
  • use public transport only for essential journeys
  • face coverings should be worn
  • avoid peak-time travel

International travel

Tourist travel to offshore islands may resume.

Private transport

Tour, event and private bus use, and vehicle hire may recommence.

Advice for those over 70 years or 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 you can
  • maintain social distancing with visitors/those whom you visit and use face coverings
  • use the times specially allotted for shopping
  • use face coverings when attending shops or busy public areas

Face coverings

Face coverings are recommended for public transport, retail outlets, and other places where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “The virus hasn’t gone away. We are all still susceptible to it. Certain types of activity are more risky than others, so we must lower that risk by taking appropriate steps, wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, washing our hands and so on.

“Taking personal responsibility means not entering a place if you see it is packed. It means leaving somewhere, even if you are having a good time, if you have been there beyond a certain point. It means exercising judgement and self-control for your own sake as well as the collective good.”

Phase 4 on July 20th will see the reopening of pubs, bars, hotel bars and casinos, while gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors will be permissible.

Revised Phase 3 and 4

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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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

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