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CITY TRIBUNE

Rónán Mullen highlights Zero Covid ‘scare tactics’

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway Senator Rónán Mullen drives the right-on, Left-but-always-right brigade bananas with his conservative, Catholic, Right-of-centre take on life. But the former NUIG Students’ Union President did the State some service when he highlighted in the Seanad the scare tactics employed by the ‘Zero Covid’ campaign, which advocates for harsher lockdown measures.

He cited internal correspondence of what he described the “so-called” Independent Scientific Advisory Group, which is pushing for a Zero Covid approach in Ireland.

“Many of the members of the group are virtually household names, such is the regularity of their appearances in the media. Its internal correspondence suggests that the group is not basing its positions on strict science but, in fact, has been massaging the facts to try to entice politicians into adopting a Zero Covid strategy,” Senator Mullen told the Seanad.

He added: “Four weeks ago, the head of the group wrote to its members asking them to ‘look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty’ and to ‘go after people and not institutions’ because ‘people hurt faster than institutions’.

“He stated that ridicule ‘is man’s most powerful weapon’ and that ‘the threat of a thing is usually more terrifying than the thing itself’. In other words, people should be scared into accepting Zero Covid.”

You might not like who is saying it, but Senator Rónán Mullen raised a valid issue.

Scaremongering by lobby groups is nothing new – it is used all the time. But it just doesn’t sit well that a group of academics and scientists would deliberately exploit the nation’s already heightened fears about this deadly virus to persuade the population to accept the Zero Covid thesis.

Its website describes zero Covid strategy as “A better way forward: Toward Elimination of Covid-19”. And it may very well have merit. But surely it can better advocate for that strategy in a way that doesn’t scare the bejaysus out of us.

How are these tactics any different to anti-lockdown groups on the Right who, for example, scaremonger about the other – societal and economic – impacts of the pandemic in order to push for restrictions to be eased?

The Social Democrats, who appear to have swallowed ISAG’s thesis, should distance itself from tactics that would ‘increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty’.

We have quite enough of that already, thank you very much.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service

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The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Park fun to mark Africa Day

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Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’

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At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon

BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON

A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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