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Shortage of swim coaches a big disability for promising athletes



Members of Galway Speeders who have been selected to represent Ireland at the IWAS International World Games in Athlone from June 30 to July 6. From left: Mark Henderson (Table Tennis), Caoimhe Folan (Table Tennis), Alicia Winter (Table Tennis), Sinead Keon (Athletics) and Shane Curran (Athletics). Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

Five members of Galway Speeders, the group which promotes sports for children and young adults with a physical disability, will compete in the IWAS (International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports) World Games when they take place in Athlone next week.

Mark Henderson, Caoimhe Folan, Alicia Winter, Sinead Keon and Shane Curran will all be involved in the Games, which run from Saturday, June 30 to Friday, July 6. Their chosen sports are athletics and table tennis.

“There is a team of 20 representing Ireland at the Games,” outlines Galway Speeders Secretary, Delia Boyce, “and out of that 20, five come from Galway City and its surrounds and they are all involved in our club.”

Although Galway Speeders, a multi-sports club founded in 2011 to provide for children and teenagers, participate in an array of activities, these Games only cover a select few such as athletics, table tennis and swimming. “We would have had a team from Galway in the swimming but, unfortunately, we had no coach,” continues Boyce.

Well-known local swim coach, founder of Octopus Swimming Club and volunteer Mary Arrigan-Langan has generously facilitated the club many times, but what the club would love is to put a programme in place for those in Galway Speeders who would love to pursue the sport more vigorously.

“Until recently, we kind of started going once a week with Galway Swimming Club so we are hoping to develop that and get someone who will work with the children. That is all Galway Speeders can do. We need to move on now but, at the moment, we feel we are banging our head against the wall.

“So, we want to get [swim] coaches because we want them [members] in the water morning, noon and night if they choose to go along that path. So, we are pursuing it but it isn’t that easy as you can appreciate,” says Boyce, who notes she has seen the benefits of swimming first-hand through her own daughter and Galway Speeders member, Alicia.

“When she gets into the water, it’s the freedom. It benefits her because she is just coming back from surgery. Listen, they are not all going to be going to the Olympics, it is nothing like that, but you would like to give them the opportunity to be the best they can be.”

While the dearth of swim coaches may be an issue, they do boast of great coaches in the other disciplines. No more so than in table tennis where Rena McCarron Rooney, who represented Ireland at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and later at the 2014 World Championships in Beijing, is one of the head coaches alongside her husband, Ronan.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.




Minister deploys high-level ‘rescue’ team to help University Hospital Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has deployed a high-level National Support Team to help crisis-stricken University Hospital Galway

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer of the Saolta University Healthcare Group – which operates UHG and Merlin Park – confirmed this week that the ‘rescue’ team was in place to tackle overcrowding and delays at the Emergency Department.

Membership of the support team includes at least seven high-level HSE managers, including a hospital consultant.

The team has already met with local staff in charge of patient flow, discharges, bed management and unscheduled care. They will write up an action plan to improve the patient experience, she said.

The hospital has implemented a targeted intervention plan over the past few months to reduce the number of patients on trolleys while awaiting admission to a bed, focusing on timely diagnostics and decision making and the timely discharge of patients.

To achieve this, the hospital had been approved to recruit seven patient flow coordinators, one “data analyst for the acute floor” and one medical social worker.

Management are also in talks to increase bed capacity with the Galway Clinic and the Bon Secours private hospitals.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, and support our journalism, see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also extensive coverage this week of plans for a new cancer Centre of Excellence and the latest meeting of the Regional Health Forum West. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Shoplifting in Galway almost doubles as cost of living crisis takes hold



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The rate of shoplifting in the Galway City has skyrocketed as the cost of living crisis takes hold.

At a public meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Tuesday, it was revealed that the rate of theft from shops in the city had increased by 87% year-on-year.

Chief Data Analyst for the Galway Garda Division, Olivia Maher, said this was in line with a national trend.

“There is some thought that this is as a result of the cost of living crisis and the pressures that people are under as a result – we are seeing these trends at a national level,” said Ms Maher.

She said that overall, property theft had begun to return to pre-Covid levels, with 1,264 incidents in the first 10 months of 2022 – a 50% increase on the same period last year.

“Property crime is beginning to reach pre-Covid figures and while it’s up on last year, it’s down 5% on the 2019 figure.

“Burglary is still trending below pre-Covid figures at 107 compared to 192 in 2019,” said Ms Maher.

An increased awareness of fraud was resulting in a reduction in a number of categories, including accommodation fraud, something that typically affects the city’s third level students.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Knocknacarra Educate Together NS mark World Children’s Day



From this week’s Galway City Tribune Schools’ Pages – World Children’s Day is celebrated each year on November 20 – it is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.

For the pupils of Knocknacarra Educate Together National School, this day is about teaching children about their rights and raising awareness of how they can use them.

They demonstrated this by hosting the Happy Hour on University of Galway’s FlirtFM 101.3 last Tuesday.

6th Class student Leon said: “We are hoping to raise awareness of children’s rights, mainly because some children may not know what they even are. Not all children know that they have rights. We want to help children understand what they deserve.”

The day is also an opportunity to draw attention to important issues affecting children locally, nationally and on an international level.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of when Ireland first signed the Children’s Rights Charter in 1992. This charter contains 42 articles which specifically outline the rights of the child. These include the rights to an education, to play, to access health care, to have a voice, to have protection from violence and to have a decent standard of living.

To acknowledge this important event, Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, visited the school to learn about its school’s three-year journey to become formally recognised as a Child Rights School. It will be the first school in Galway to earn the UNICEF Child Rights Ribbon.

As part of this work, each class has created their own charter which is an agreement on how the rights of the child will be made real in their classrooms. This links to article four on the Convention of the rights of the child ‘Making Rights Real’.

The whole school has a fortnightly focus on the different articles within the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

This involves highlighting child-friendly information and activities which enable children to explore children’s rights in their classes.

Children have learnt about experiences of children from other countries and shared their thoughts and views. The have explored how the articles from the Convention impact them in their lives and discussed why each one is important. The articles which we have learnt about as a school this year to date are as follows:

Article 12 – Respect for Children’s Views

Article 14 – Freedom of Thought and Religion

Article 15 – Setting Up or Joining Groups.

Article 38 – Protection in War

Article 39 – Recovery and Reintegration

The Student Council are also busy translating the school policies into more child-friendly language in order to make school information accessible for all.

Dexter, a student in third class, said: “I feel happy and feel more important than I did before. I thought I had to always listen to the adults. I feel like I have a chance to speak for myself now.”

For more information, see HERE

■ This article was written by the Child Rights Committee and Student Council at Knocknacarra Educate Together National School.

See the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune for photos and news from Knocknacarra Educate Together NS; St Patrick’s Primary School and Oranmore Boys’  School. You can send us news from your city primary or secondary school for inclusion in our weekly ‘Class Act’ pages to

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