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Connacht Tribune

Resorting to type to find the write stuff



Volunteer Brendan Coffey and Gerry Devaney pose for a Daffodil Day picture at Eyre Square on Thursday.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Tom Hanks is planning to write a book – and by virtue of his standing as Hollywood royalty, it’s a sure-fire best-seller before the ink is even dry on the page.

Only this isn’t the story of his stellar career, his Oscar success, his famously happy marriage, his life on the silver screen.

No, when you’re already famous, you can pick an esoteric topic as the theme for your debut collection of fiction.

And Tom Hanks has chosen to write about typewriters.

Not to write with, but to write about – 17 short stories, all themed around his passion for typewriters.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories will hit the shelves in October, with each tale involving a typewriter.

Turns out that Hanks is known – at least in his own circle – for his love of typewriters, and who’s to blame him for that?

Those of us who hammer the keys on a computer like we’re still on an old Remington or IBM still miss that click and carriage return bell from a different era.

Hanks summed it up in a way that suggests both a love of the machine and a way with words.

“Each one,” he once said, “stamps into paper a permanent trail of imagination through keys, hammers, cloth and dye – a softer version of chiselling words into stone.”

The thing is he said that when he himself came up with a digital app to replicate the sound and feel of a typewriter, a device which ironically became a bestseller on Apple’s iTunes store.

But he’s right about typewriters – for all of the technology, clean lines, spell checks, cut and paste options and downright simplicity of computers and tablets – there is nothing as romantic and evocative as the big old lumbering machine.

The tab key; the shift key that gave you capital letters by moving the whole thing an inch into the air; the worn ribbon that meant everything came out a hybrid of black and red, the need for Tippex.

Think of any great movie about newspapers – All the President’s Men, the Front Page, Citizen Kane…even Lou Grant – and you see hard-chaws, cigarette bolted in between the fingers, belting the lard out of their typewriters as they produced another classic.

Of course typewriters were utterly impractical because you were stuck with your mistakes, unless you were fortunate enough to have that bottle of Tippex or you simply belted the X key to obliterate the wrong words one letter at a time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Connacht Tribune

Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’



Raw emotion, sadness and some anger filled the air at Clifden Town Hall on Sky Road last Sunday afternoon as a shaken community gave honest, personal accounts of the impact the closure by stealth of Clifden District Hospital would have on the people of North Connemara.

The public meeting was hastily organised after fears emerged on Friday that the HSE may transfer respite services from Clifden to Merlin Park Hospital, 50-plus miles away in Galway City.

Families were told their loved ones in Clifden Hospital may have to move home, or go to Merlin Park the following Monday, due to ‘issues with staffing’.

An axe has hung over Clifden Hospital for some years, but this latest move stirred the community to fight back to retain services locally.

Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG), who organised the public meeting with Senator Sean Kyne, said 625 people signed the attendance sheets and an estimated 650 people attended.

“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.

“It wasn’t just anger; it was raw emotion in the room. Sadness. Family members spoke about the calls they got on Friday. The feeling that their elderly person was being rejected; that they weren’t being respected.

“One man stood up, three years waiting for respite care for a family member, and then to be told after a few days in there that she’d have to be taken home or to Merlin Park.

“We’re 50 miles from Galway. If there’s no traffic you might get to the outskirts in an hour but with the traffic in Galway, you could be another hour to get to Merlin Park. Not everyone has transport either and they’ve to rely on buses.

“A young woman stood up at the meeting and said her dad was dying in Galway. And she had to go to Saint Vincent de Paul to get money to pay for a B&B so that the family would be close to him when the end came. People gave their personal stories, and it was just heart-breaking.”

(Photo by Carmel Lyden: Teresa Conneely from Roundstone addresses people at the public meeting in Clifden Town Hall).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the Clifden Hospital story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!



Clifden man Breandan O Scanaill, who is on a pilgrimage from his home town of Clifden to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, received a Mayoral welcome and a memorial crest when he arrived at the Asturian town of Navia last week.

Breandan, whose walk from his home outside Clifden to the reputed burial place of St James in Santiago, began in April, was walking through Navia in Spain when a local man came over to chat to him.

“He asked me about my journey and was interested in the fact that an Irish man had turned up in the town,” says Breandan, who had been admiring the Chapel of San Roque at the time.

The local man outlined the history of the building and the town to Breandan and they began chatting more generally about history and architecture – topics dear to the pilgrim’s heart.

Breandán’s new friend introduced himself as the Mayor of Navia, lgnacio Garcia Palacios, who invited the visitor from Clifden to visit the Town Hall.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Local Property Tax rate to stay unchanged despite Council chief’s plea



Councillors have agreed to keep the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate unchanged – despite pleas from management that Galway County Council is predicted to spend at least €22 million more than it brings in for the next two years.

County Chief Executive Jim Cullen had recommended an increase of 15% on the LPT rate for 2023 and 2024 – amounting to €2.1m extra in the coffers annually – which would bolster its case when it came to pleading for a greater share of funding from central government.

In an estimation of income and expenditure for the Council, taking into account “unavoidable” expenditure and income changes set to hit, the Council would run a deficit of €9.04m in 2023 and 13.2m in 2024 – well over €22m unless there was a change in finances.

“I am hopeful of an uplift in baseline [funding] levels . . . we cannot continue to ignore the fact that other councils have raised LPT and their citizens enjoy a better standard of services that in Galway,” he stressed.

He told a meeting this week that €9m would be needed to maintain services next year at the same level as 2022. This was due to significant cost increases given that inflation is reaching 9.6% currently. Pensions, gratuities and payroll increases from the national pay agreement, increments and additional staff were all adding to bigger outgoings.

Without that extra funding, it will be necessary to reduce spending by that amount with a negative impact on service and staffing levels, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the story, including the councillors’ discussions, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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