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Revealed – cost of a County Council seat

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Aspiring politicians who want to top the poll in the local elections and spend relatively little money in the process could do worse than have a chat with Cllr. Timmy Broderick in Kilconnell.

The publican received one of the biggest first preferences in the whole of the country and spent the least amount of money of all of the councillors elected onto Galway County Council.

For the princely sum of €1,270, Broderick was comfortably re-elected with almost 3,300 first preferences – this was around 1,200 votes ahead of his nearest rival.

The 71 candidates standing in last May’s local elections in County Galway spent more than a quarter of a million euro in their efforts to get elected by the public.

In the end there were 39 successful candidates but the performance of Cllr Timmy Broderick has got most of his colleagues on the Council talking.

But there is a good reason why he spent the least of all those elected. Broderick ran in the 2011 general election and while he received a strong vote, he didn’t get elected.

However, he used the same posters in the local elections as he did in the general election which kept costs well down.

“My posters came from KPW in Ballinasloe, a local firm and a great employer, and obviously they were of such a quality that they stood the test of time.

“Having run in previous elections is certainly a help when it comes to cutting down on costs. But at the end of the day, it is down to the public. They ultimately decide who gets into office,” Cllr Broderick added.

The biggest spender in the local elections happened to be a candidate who did not get elected. Ronan Garvey, who owns three hostels and is heavily involved in the tourism industry, spent more than €12,500 in his election bid for the Connemara area

That was €7,000 more than Cllr. Eileen Mannion of Fine Gael who was the next highest spender and succeeded in retaining her seat.

Interestingly, former councillor Pat O’Sullivan of Fianna Fail had the biggest election bill in the Ballinasloe area and he too did not get elected. However, it was nothing like the bill accumulated by Ronan Garvey.

In contrast, all of the top spenders in the Loughrea Municipal District got elected as Donagh Killilea of Fianna Fail had the distinction of being the highest spender in Galway to get over the line.

Killilea, son of former MEP Mark Killilea, spent more than €11,000 in his bid to get elected in the Tuam Municipal District. It is now understood that he may have designs on running for the Dail in 2016.

Most of the candidates standing for political parties got a contribution but it was interesting that Connemara Fianna Fail councillor Seamus Walsh boldly wrote in his expenses return to Galway County Council that it was “all my own money”.

Expenses

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Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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