Galway’s first St Patrick’s Day event will get underway at 8.30 tomorrow morning at Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa in Renmore.
The Bishop of Galway Brendan Kelly will attend the event along with the Mayor of Galway and City Councillors.
There’ll be a shamrock parade and mass, followed by the blessing of shamrock and presentation to troops and dignitaries.
2018 marks the 116th anniversary of the Galway city St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Organisers are promised a spectacle of all things Irish, and this year’s guest of honour is Galway native and extreme adventurer Gavan Hennigan.
The fountain in Eyre Square will even turn green as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
The city parade starts at 11.30am tomorrow at the West End and ends at 1pm.
In Salthill, there will be a street festival from noon to 6pm, with the road from Salthill Church to Seapoint Roundabout closed.
There will be live music and dancing on stage with local trad groups and dance schools such as the Phoenix Stage School performing throughout the afternoon. Trad on the Prom group will also give a free live performance.
On the streets, there will be face painting, busking, a circus skills workshop, character walkabout and lots of entertainment and activities.
Art work by local school children will be displayed along the streets and there will be a special prize for the Best Dressed Family in Salthill (St Patrick’s Day theme).
There will be stalls with arts and crafts along the street, as well as lots of mouth-watering food.
Athenry’s parade this year is ‘Food Glorious Food, ‘ and starts at 11.45am at the Skylark Centre.
The theme of the event is to recognise Galway’s designation as 2018 European Region of Gastronomy.
Spiddal’s annual event also takes place at 11.45 tomorrow.
Claregalway’s festivities kick off at 12pm at Hughes’ carpark.
This year’s parade will have a special focus on the Irish language and St Patrick himself will join the parade on a pony and trap.
There’ll also be a big screen TV for all the day’s big sporting events including Ireland and England’s highly anticipated Six Nations clash.
Mountbellew’s parade also starts at noon, and locals are encourgages to celebrate the annual holiday with family, friends & neighbours.
Portumna’s parade also starts at 12, and will be led by local hurling hero Joe Canning.
There’ll be prizes for floats in a variety of categories including youth, humorous, business, vintage and voluntary.
Glenamaddy’s festivities also get underway at midday tomorrow at the community centre.
In Gort, the theme this year is ‘Flight of the Dishes’ as the town joins Athenry in celebrating Galway’s designation as European Region of Gastronomy.
The parade starts at St Coleman’s Church at 12.30 tomorrow afternoon.
Dunmore’s event also starts at 12.30 at the national school.
This year’s parade in Dunmore will see a host of prizes for the best entries.
Clifden’s parade also begins at 12.30 at the Galway Road.
There’ll be entertainment on the square before the parade – and a street disco, soccer blitz and live music afterwards.
In Tuam, the festivities also begin at 12.30.
Businesses in the town are being urged to turn Tuam green for the day.
There will be a prize for the best shop or pub window.
Abbeyknockmoy’s 15th annual parade gets underway at 12:30, starting at Treacy’s car park.
Oughterard’s parade starts at 1pm tomorrow and aims to celebrate community spirit.
Kinvara‘s event also begins at 1 at the Moy Road – and organisers say it promises to be a fun day for all the family.
From 1pm in Loughrea, ‘The Wearing of the Green’ will be the focus.
The parade starts at Barrack Street and will be followed by a post-parade community gathering at the Temperance Hall.
Ballinasloe’s parade starts at 1.30 tomorrow at the Fairgreen.
Barnaderg is gearing up for a family fun day from 1.30, with a gathering of locals at the community centre afterwards.
Castleblakeney‘s St Patrick’s day parade will also take place at 1.30 tomorrow.
Oranmore is also hoping to celebrate community spirit at its annual parade.
It starts at 1.30 at the Orantown Centre.
The Moycullen and Roundstone parades start at 2pm tomorrow
Clonberne’s event will take place at 5pm after Ireland and England battle it out in the Six Nations – and organisers say it’ll go ahead rain, hail or snow.
Meanwhile, two St Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled in the county this year.
The Ahascragh event has been called off due to a recent death in the community.
Headford‘s parade has also been cancelled for 2018.
The Headford District Association has made the decision to cancel due to safety concerns as enhancement works are carried out in the town.
Gardaí in Galway operating with fewer patrol cars
Five large Garda stations in County Galway are operating with fewer Garda vehicles now than two years ago – leading to a call for the local fleet to be restored to 2020 levels.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed to Galway West TD Noel Grealish that the Garda fleet in the Galway Garda Division stands at 116 as of October of this year.
That’s greater than any of the years from 2012 to 2019, but it represents a reduction on the Garda fleet when compared with 2020 and 2021 figures.
Galway Gardaí had a dozen fewer vehicles this year, compared with 2020. There are 13 fewer patrol cars, down from 96 to 83; there was no change in the number of vans and motorcycles, and the division acquired one extra 4×4.
Garda stations in Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Tuam, Clifden and Salthill have all lost patrol cars in the past 24 months, according to the official figures.
Independent Deputy Grealish has demanded a restoration of the Garda fleet in Galway to 2020 levels.
“Gardaí have a demanding enough job to do, but it makes that important work even more difficult if they are not allocated the proper resources,” Deputy Grealish said.
“A reduction of twelve vehicles in less than two years across the Galway Division, down from 128 at the end of 2020 to 116 in October this year, is concerning.
“I have asked the Minister for Justice to explain why this has happened, that the number of vehicles in the Galway Division has fallen by ten per cent, when nationally the total fleet actually increased by 6%. I am demanding that they at the very least be restored to their 2020 levels,” he said.
Deputy Grealish pointed out that almost all areas of the county had suffered a reduction in Garda vehicles since the beginning of last year. Ballinasloe currently has six vehicles, a reduction of two since the end of 2020; Clifden also has six, down one; Loughrea was down three to eleven; Salthill was down three to ten; the biggest reduction in Garda vehicles was in the Tuam area down five to twelve.
Galway City’s fleet increased by two vehicles, for a total of 71.
Minister McEntee said that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána, including the purchase, allocation, and effective and efficient use of Garda vehicles.
“As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review to ensure their optimum use in light of identified operational needs and emerging crime trends,” she added.
Galway City Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) last month complained that the number of vehicles available to Gardaí in Salthill and Knocknacarra was insufficient.
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later