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Connacht Tribune

RnaG axes long-running sports programme

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The longest-running and most popular Irish language sports radio programme in the country was broadcast for the last time officially last Sunday.

Spórt an Domhnaigh (Sunday Sport), a weekly sports round-up programme, is being axed by RTÉ Radió na Gaeltachta (RnaG) after 46 years on air.

The programme first hit the airwaves about a fortnight after the Irish language radio station opened its doors in Casla in the Connemara Gaeltacht in 1972.

Before the advent of local radio stations, social media and mobile phones, it was always first with the results of matches throughout the Gaeltacht areas in particular but also national and international. The show gave a comprehensive round-up of the weekend’s results, as well as match reports, analysis and sometimes interviews with players and managers.

Given the ethos of RnaG, it was focused on GAA, in particular, and Gaeltacht teams but covered all sports.

It gave as much prominence to underage sports, and junior and intermediate results as it did to adult, senior and professional sports.

Its bread and butter was catering for clubs such as Na Piarsaigh, a junior football club in Ros Muc, where listenership was strongest; but it also appealed to sports enthusiasts with limited Irish as a one-stop shop for a full run-down of the day’s results.

RTÉ RnaG did not respond to queries but it is understood dropping Spórt an Domhnaigh is part of wider schedule restructuring being implemented by the national broadcaster; and an attempt to cut back on its extensive weekend sports coverage.

The station introduced schedule changes back in April due to a “lack of resources”. Those changes came after seven staff members confirmed they were taking voluntary redundancies and would not be replaced. At the time, management said they would review the schedules again later in the year, and Sport an Domhnaigh was last week confirmed as one of the casualties.

Industry sources are baffled by the axing of the programme, as it cost very little, if anything, to produce, because it was a round-up programme of matches that had already been covered – and paid-for – earlier in the day.

Secretary of the Irish National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Seamus Dooley, was in Galway last week meeting with members who are affected by the changes at the station.

Speaking to Tuairisc.ie, who broke the story, former sports editor with RnaG Mártan Ó Ciardha said he was “upset and perturbed” that it is being axed.

He said it is the type of programming that has been at the heartbeat of the service RnaG was asked to provide when the station was set up.

“Since its inception Spórt an Domhnaigh has provided a service that crossed all sports and more importantly all levels of sport – underage, junior, intermediate and the top levels at club and county level in Gaeltacht areas. How will those listeners access that information now?” said Mr Ó Ciardha.

He said he was not prepared to comment further until the reasons for the axing are clarified.

A former employee of RTÉ, Jim Carney, the first presenter of The Sunday Game, in 1979, a GAA commentator, and former sports editor of Tuam Herald, said he is “sad” and “angry” about this. He described it as a “bad decision” and a “mistake”.

“That programme was essential listening for me while driving back to Galway from games all over Ireland. I would’ve seen one game that day but Spórt an Domhnaigh gave me the news of the day, especially club results – an-tabhachtach! (very important) – while driving home. There were thousands like me,” he recalled.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

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

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base

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The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.

BY STEPHEN CORRIGAN
AND DARA BRADLEY

Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number

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Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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