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Connacht Tribune

Political landscape takes on different look in present Dail

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Across the benches...Taoiseach Enda Kenny chats with Jim Daly, one of that rarest of breeds - a Fine Gael backbencher.

World of Politics with Harry McGee –  harrymcgee@gmail.com

Jim Daly is a Dáil Deputy for Cork South West; a former schoolteacher, he’s a nice guy, and he’s not a fan of Enda Kenny. He’s also a member of a relatively rare species, known as the Fine Gael backbencher.

Fine Gael has only 50 TDs and 27 of them have some Government Ministers or another. That means that there are only 23 Fine Gael backbenchers – possibly the lowest number ever for the main party in a serving government.

This Government also has more committees than most previous government. There are 15 committees to match each Department and then there are a handful of standing committees like the PAC and the Committee on Procedures and Privileges.

In addition there are a number of new strategic committee, such as the Budget Oversight Committee, the Future of Health Committee. Then there are ad hoc committees set up to look at, and report on, specific topical issues such as housing, water, and abortion.

The upshot is that Daly is a member of eight committees. He is also the chair of an inter-parliamentary committee and stands in to chair the Dail a couple of sessions each week. If you are thinking of a guy who is running from pillar to post, he is it.

He spends his morning doing the rounds of the committee room, flitting out of one of which he is a member, going into the other of which he is also a member. The afternoons he spends in the Dáil. Like everybody else in this minority government he feels slightly over-extended.

The 32nd Dáil, now a year old, is very difference from all previous iterations. Much of it stemmed from the very unusual outcome of the election, which forced radical changes in the way the Oireachtas goes about its business.

There have been minority governments before, quite a few of them, but none as minority as this. Fine Gael is 28 seats short of a majority and must rely on Fianna Fáil abstentions for key votes.

In an Irish solution to an Irish problem, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have not merged officially, but have merged unofficially when it has suited both and their shared values have been attacked. That was most apparent when the Apple tax judgement went against Ireland.

Fianna Fáil is unlikely to pull down the Government, knowing it too will have to do a similar deal sometime in the future.

To read Harry’s column in full, please see this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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