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CITY TRIBUNE

Psychologist Peter Dorai Raj left profound impact on adopted city

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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OBITUARY

Peter Dorai Raj never regretted leaving his native Malaysia to make a life for himself on the other side of the world in Galway.

His well-attended funeral recently was a testament to the high regard his adopted city had for him, as well it should for his tireless work in improving the quality of life of many of its inhabitants through his work as a psychologist.

In his 83rd year, Peter had enjoyed just a short three years of retirement from Pro Consult, a counselling service he had helped set up in 1992 with Dr Kathleen Fitzgerald, in response to the lack of affordable professional services in the West of Ireland at that time.

When it was founded in Newtownsmyth, it was under the auspices of the Catholic Church, supported by the late Bishop Eamonn Casey, who knew Peter from his work as a psychologist with the Brothers of Charity, with whom he worked until his retirement at the age of 65.

But Peter continued, with his wife Helen, a counsellor, to work with Pro Consult for well over another decade.

Peter was educated in Malaysia by the Irish De La Salle brothers who advised him to apply for university in Ireland when he showed in interest in psychology while working as a teacher,

He arrived at UCG in 1967 as a religious brother and initially completed a BA in Galway.

It was while in college in Galway that he met two people who were to have a huge influence on his life, his future wife Helen Lawless from Fr Griffin Road, and Seamus McCloone, a psychologist who advised him to do a post graduate diploma in Psychology in UCD.

By then Peter and Helen had become a couple. They married in 1972 and settled in Renmore, near his new job with the Brothers of Charity.

In 1984 the couple moved to Grattan Court where they reared a family of five and, as in all aspects of Peter’s life, he proved to be ahead of his time in his role of husband and father.

A gentle soul who supported his wife and children, he was more than happy to do more of the cooking when Helen decided she wanted to train as a therapist.

Peter only made a few trips home to Malaysia – his parents died when he was younger (his father when he was just five and his mother years later in a road accident). He no longer spoke his native Tamil but he never forgot the dishes he had seen his mother make and the Dorai Raj home in Galway was an open welcoming one where Peter made many a delicious curry.

The sense of family was strong and he hosted many a niece and nephew or cousin into his home.

His daughter Siobhán in her eulogy in St Ignatius Church during the funeral Mass, celebrated by Fr Martin Curry SJ, told the congregation that her father was a “hands-on dad who couldn’t bear to hear us cry when we woke in the night, so paced the floor rocking us back to sleep.”

She recalled how he had ceded complete control of the family finances to his wife believing that his money was to be shared in the household but rarely spent a penny on himself.

He was proud of his children and supported them in their decisions and in recent years adored his three grandchildren, Isabella, Killian and Nia.

Of course, it was this caring attitude and his passion for his work that made him so popular with colleagues and clients. He had always been an advocate for independent living for people with intellectual disabilities and welcomed moves by Irish institutions to encourage residents to move into the community.

He made Galway his home and loved walks on Salthill Prom and, indeed, played tennis until he was seventy when he got cancer, a disease he survived, though his fitness levels were never the same afterwards.

He had been a keen sportsman – cricket, hockey, football as well as tennis and followed local teams, always supporting Galway.

Peter kept up with current affairs even watching the Nuacht despite not having a word or Irish, though at one stage of his life he attempted to learn it but never accomplished fluency due to his busy work schedule.

In his retirement he loved visiting his grandchildren in England and continued to give talks on interpersonal development and parenting whenever he was asked.

He was a daily Mass-goer and never lost his strong Catholic faith, one that was, and still is, a minority religion in Malaysia.

He died peacefully at the Galway Clinic following a short illness but was ready to die being the spiritual and positive person he was.

He is survived and missed by Helen, his children, Paul, Siobhán, David, Conn and Maria as well as his sister, Susilee, sons-in-law Justin and Andreas, brother-in-law Eamon, sisters-in-law Mary and Angela, his adored grandchildren as well as extended family and circle of friends.

CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Election 2020

Labour fails to make up ground

Stephen Corrigan

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Galway West Labour Party candidate Niall McNelis and his wife Aideen at the Galway West count centre on Monday morning.

On the canvass three weeks ahead of the election, Cllr Níall McNelis told the Galway City Tribune he believed Labour’s time “on the bold step” had come to an end.

But as soon as ballot boxes were opened on Sunday morning, it became apparent that wasn’t the case. In fact, the first preference vote share for Labour in Michael D Higgins’ former constituency had decreased to just 3% – a further decline from the 5% Derek Nolan managed in 2016.

Labour’s hammering wasn’t contained to Galway and it’s clear they haven’t been forgiven for their time in Government with Fine Gael. Nonetheless, Cllr McNelis said he was “devastated” by the result when he visited the count centre on Monday morning.

He’d been eliminated on the fourth count the day before, having received 1,548 first preferences.

“I was at home yesterday – I was devastated, gutted, but I know it’s not personal. The party is in trouble and we’re going to have to look at that. The unions have left us and they’re voting for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael. That was our core vote; we were a workers’ party once upon a time.

“We were the party that fought for marriage equality long before anybody else – the SocDems have taken that mantel off us; the repeal of the 8th Amendment, we were the ones who fought for that,” said Cllr McNelis.

“The Left vote is very, very crowded here in Galway so [Labour is] going to have to regroup and reorganise. I have to explain what Níall does a bit more. The result that we got, people have been ringing me and saying, ‘Níall, we’re sorry, it was Labour and not Níall’.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moloney and Parsons grab vital tries for Ireland in Six Nations victory

Keith Kelly

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Kilconly native and Irish prop Cliodhna Moloney leading this charge against Wales during Sunday's Six Nations clash at Energia Park. Moloney and her fellow Galwegian Beibhinn Parson both scored tries in the home team's 31-12 victory.

IRELAND’S women’s side has opened its Six Nations campaign with back-to-back wins, with two Galwegians to the fore in their 31-12 victory over Wales in horrific weather conditions in Dublin last Sunday.

Having began the campaign with an 18-14 success against Scotland, Adam Grigg’s side made it two wins from two when seeing off the Welsh challenge thanks in no small part to tries in the second successive game from both Ballinasloe’s Beibhinn Parsons, and Cliodhna Moloney from Kilconly, near Tuam.

Parsons received huge plaudits for a sensational try against Scotland on the opening weekend of the championship, her length-of-field solo effort helping Ireland to a narrow win. She crossed the whitewash for a second successive game last weekend, and while it wasn’t quite the lung-bursting length-of-pitch effort from the Scotland game, it was another excellent execution by the Leaving Cert student.

Welsh scrum-half Keira Bevans launched a box-kick from just outside her 22 that held up in the wind. The ball bounced once before Parsons gathered possession on the left wing, broke through one tackle, and side-stepped two more before touching down to give Ireland a 5-0 lead in the 17th minute.

“She’s phenomenal,” said Griggs after the game. “You try and help her with her game understanding and her skill level, but the x-factor that she brings is all her.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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