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Public transport ‘smart card’ scheme for Galway

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 Extending to Galway a public transport integrated ticketing scheme that operates in Dublin is among the priorities of the Department of Transport this year.

 Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, yesterday said the LEAP card, a ‘smart’ travel card that offers cheaper fares and other benefits to rail and bus users in the capital, would be rolled-out to Cork and Galway.

It is one of a number of priorities of Minister Varadkar’s outlined yesterday.

LEAP cards, introduced in Dublin in 2011, allow commuters to travel on bus and rail services without having to buy separate tickets. A pre-paid card, like a credit card with a magnetic strip, allows train and bus passengers to interchange on various modes of transport with the one card.

Users of the LEAP in Dublin are offered lower fares than those using the ordinary ticketing method and it is hassle free.

Extending the scheme to buses and the train station in Galway is part of the Minister’s priority to, “increase the number of journeys taken by public transport by five million (2%)”.

Minister Vardakar also confirmed another priority was starting work on the Gort-Tuam motorway in 2014, a project that has been delayed due to the financial crisis over the past few years.

It will take three years at least to complete and will increase connectivity and reduce journey times between Galway and Limerick as well as Shannon Airport once completed.

Another priority in relation to transport initiatives is the introduction of a bike rental scheme in the city, which will be up and running in Galway this Summer.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

 

Connacht Tribune

Patients vent their spleen over ED chaos

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The new ED at UHG.

Complaints about the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway (UHG) jumped by 55% last year, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

During 2021, when strict Covid-19 restrictions were in place at UHG, a total of 80 official complaints were lodged about the West’s main public Emergency Department.

But in the following year, official complaints about the Emergency Department at UHG totalled 124.

It represents an increase of 44 complaints, or a year-on-year jump of 55%. It does not include complaints made to frontline staff that were resolved soon after they were made, and only refers to complaints formally assigned to a complaints officer.

A further 13 complaints were lodged but are not included in the total over the two years because the complaints were withdrawn, or consent was not given to progress them.

The increase in complaints to Saolta University Healthcare Group came in 2022, when medical activity returned to pre-pandemic levels, and overcrowding at UHG’s ED dominated the headlines.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Connemara pride in teenager just pipped at the post for Eurovision

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Jennifer Connolly on stage at Eurosong.

Connemara singer Jennifer Connolly was basking in the pride of her community this week – even though she was pipped at the post for the chance to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision in Liverpool.

Going by the stage name Connolly, the 19-year-old from Leitir Mealláin was the bookie’s favourite going into the Eurosong contest to pick the Irish contestant on RTE’s Late Late Show.

Her atmospheric number, Midnight Summer Night, scored 32 points, losing out by just two points to the Dublin band Wild Youth’s anthemic We Are One.

She scored highest with the international jury with twelve points, compared to Wild Youth’s ten points – but she lost out by two points from the Irish jury and two points on the public vote.

Wild Youth had the edge in the familiarity stakes, having previously supported Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan and The Script on tour. Their hit Can’t Move On has been a firm Irish radio hit since its 2018 release.

They certainly appeared very confident onstage last Friday. But few could fault Connolly, who after an initial shaky start blew it out of the park with her strong voice.

This is the first year that the winner was chosen by a combination of an international jury, a national jury and a televote.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

White House hopeful boasts Galway roots

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Galway roots...Steve Laffey.

You wait an eternity for one US President with Galway roots to come along – and then a potential second Galwegian in the White House emerges in quick succession!

Because with earlier confirmation of Joe Biden’s roots embedded deep in Ballinacourty, outside Oranmore, now the first official challenger to Donald Trump’s planned renaissance turns out to be a direct descendant of a North Galway native.

And while Steve Laffey, the former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, might not make it to the final shake-up, he has officially declared his intention this week to seek the Republican nomination to run for the White House next year.

Mr Laffey, who lives in Colorado, is the great great grandson of Michael Laffey from Sunhill, Menlough, according to Mountbellew genealogist Martin Curley, who also established President Biden’s Galway credentials – despite the higher-profile claims of Mayo and Louth to his roots.

Mr Laffey served as mayor of Cranston, a city just outside of Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2007. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2006.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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