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Connacht Tribune

RnaG axes long-running sports programme

Dara Bradley

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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

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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