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Sleepy drivers one of biggest road dangers, warn Gardaí

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Galway drivers have been warned to expect mandatory alcohol checkpoints and covert surveillance as part of a Bank Holiday road safety blitz by Gardai – but despite all that, old fashioned tiredness is still one of the big killers on Irish roads.

Gardai and the Road Safety Authority now estimate that one out of five driver deaths each year is as a direct result of tiredness and fatigue behind the wheel.

Drivers who notice signs of tiredness as they make their journeys have been strongly advised to ‘pull over’ into a safe place and to take a rest.

“The only cure for driver fatigue and tiredness is rest and sleep. Turning up the radio or opening a window will not cure tiredness.

“Remember, don’t try and fight sleep at the wheel,” said Supt. Noel Kelly, Head of the Western Region Traffic Unit.

He said it was now accepted that Bank Holiday weekend periods posed particular dangers as regards fatigue and tiredness due to the fact that more drivers were travelling longer distances than usual.

“Fatigue related collisions are not always confined to one person but usually end up having a direct impact on other drivers, passengers, road users and pedestrians.

“We would urge drivers to take precautions when driving. Drivers need to factor in breaks into their journeys, especially if travelling with children.

“Ensure that you are rested before commencing a journey and if feeling tired, pull over, take a 15 to 20 minute nap, followed by a cup of coffee and some fresh air,” said Supt. Kelly.

The Bank Holiday Garda focus on road safety will centre on five main areas – drink driving, speeding, dangerous or careless driving, the non-wearing of seat belts and using mobile phones while at the wheel.

He warned that there would also be an element of covert enforcement targeting drink driving, dangerous driving, distraction driving and speeding.

In an effort to try and tackle the ‘fatrigue and tiredness’ factors, the Road Safety Authority have again partnered with the Applegreen service station group on their ‘Driver Reviver Campaign’, where drivers can get a free cup of coffee at any of the participating Applegreen outlets.

This will run between 2pm and 8pm on the Friday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday Weekend. All drivers have to do is to mention ‘RSA’ to the till operator to receive a free cup of coffee.

So far this year in the western Garda region of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Longford, 17 people have been killed on the roads, seven of those in Galway.

East Galway Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney has added his voice to the Gardai’s safety campaign over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“I am urging the Minister for Justice to take urgent action to reverse the recent increases in road deaths and injuries – otherwise we risk losing the historic gains made in the last decade and a half,” said Deputy Keaveney.

Connacht Tribune

One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip

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Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello and his chihuahua Bubbles, with Fergus Lally of Galway’s Celtic Chauffeurs at the Cliffs of Moher.

He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.

The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.

But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.

“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.

“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”

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

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Connacht Tribune

Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis

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UHG's Emergency Department.

As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.

UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.

This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.

On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.

Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.

There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.

Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.

Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie  

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Connacht Tribune

Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots

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Larry Donnelly, with the Bostonian, on the grounds of NUI Galway.

Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.

But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.

His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in TheJournal.ie – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.

He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.

Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.

The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.

“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.

Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie  

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