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Priests shortage may mean more flexible funerals

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There are no plans to introduce collective weddings or funerals in response to a shortage of priests in Galway.

The communications officer for Galway Diocese, Fr Diarmuid Hogan, said however more flexibility may be required when it comes to planning ceremonies like funerals.

“Both weddings and funerals are extraordinarily important times in the lives of the faithful and the Church always responds to ensure they are celebrated with due respect and dignity,” said the parish priest of Oranmore.

“However funerals in particular are, by their nature, often planned at short notice. More flexibility may well be required in times to come when planning funeral liturgies to facilitate the participation of clergy who have a variety of responsibilities and duties.”

A group representing Catholic priests has warned that collective funeral Masses and weddings are inevitable unless the Catholic hierarchy implement radical changes to save hundreds of parishes from closing.

Fr Brendan Hoban, a founder of the Association of Catholic Prests (ACP), said unless the bishops respond to a crisis in priest numbers, there would no longer be Mass said in parish churches.

“One of the main functions of a priest is to say Mass. But we’re facing a situation where there won’t be priests available in some parishes for funerals, weddings or baptisms,” Fr Hoban said.

“That means there’s a very real prospect of priests having to marry several couples at the same time. We could even be looking at having funeral Masses where there are up to ten coffins in the church at the same time.”

Fr Hogan said the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora had seen much increased cooperation between parishes.

“Because of the hard work and passion of so many committed people who work to support the work of the Church in Pastoral Councils and in so many other areas of parish life and because it is possible for people to travel longer distances to Mass and other liturgies there has not been a hugely significant impact on parish life across the diocese,” he explained.

“Indeed, in many ways, life in parishes has been invigorated by the new, welcome, long overdue and active participation of so many of the faithful in so many areas of Church life.”

A small number of parishes have been amalgamated. However these parishes retain their identity.

“The rationale behind these developments is to create viable and vibrant units which can function efficiently,” he stated.

Fewer than five men from the diocese have been ordained in the last five years, significantly more have retired in that period.

There are five students studying for the priesthood at the moment, four in Maynooth and one in Rome. The diocese has never had an occasion when there were no students in formation, he revealed.

A new Vocations Director has recently been appointed – Fr. Ian O’Neill, the parish priest of Claregalway – who will work with clergy and others to foster and promote vocations to the diocesan priesthood through workshops and through a variety of liturgical and social events.

The issues raised by the ACP are not new.

“The faithful of this Diocese have known bad times and good, hungry times and times of plenty. Through all this they have always been loyal to God and loyal to the Church. The priests of this diocese have also shown loyalty – to God, to their ordination commitment and loyalty to the people they are called to serve. Whatever is ahead, this will continue, whether the Lord gives or takes away.”

The ACP has called on Catholic leaders to implement three proposals which they believe will save the immediate future of the church in Ireland – to ordain married men, to invite back priests who’d left the parish previously to get married, and to ordain women.

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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