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Sobering statistics on alcohol abuse spark a city campaign

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As people in Galway look forward to the usual barrage of Summer festivals, one group is putting plans in place to try and reduce the harmful use of alcohol in the city.

According to statistics from the UK, published in 2011, alcohol is responsible for around 4% of cancers. The International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen, the highest risk category, for the past 25 years.

“There’s no safe limit of alcohol to drink, it’s just like you can’t say that if you only smoke three cigarettes a day, you’ll be fine,” says Mike O’Loughlin, spokesman for The Galway Healthy Cities Alcohol Forum

He and his colleagues are looking to change the way we look at alcohol and to highlight the range of health and social problems that alcohol consumption can lead to.

Not content with just raising awareness, the group want to implement real strategies to reduce the instances of alcohol-related harm in Galway.

Mr O’Loughlin revealed that they have spoken with a number of groups from around Galway City to see if the problem of alcohol-related harm was a recurring theme. “We held open talks with other organisations to gauge whether this was an issue, and the answer we kept getting was that it was,” he said.

Their work has resulted in The Galway City Strategy to Prevent and Reduce Alcohol Related Harm. In this, they set out a five-year plan which they hope can really influence the way people think about alcohol.

The strategy is focused at everyone in society, not just those in vulnerable situations. “People were quite happy to think of a strategy for everybody else, for young people or for street-drinkers but they weren’t thinking about themselves,” said Mr O’Loughlin.

 Mr O’Loughlin believes that one of the major causes of alcohol-related harm is its availability. “At the minute, we’re conducting a survey on the density of alcohol selling outlets in the city. We’ve found that there are 248 places to buy alcohol in Galway City. Nearly every shop now has a wine licence and that’s not helping the situation.” He was keen to stress that those in the Galway Healthy Cities group were not out to stop people from enjoying themselves.  “None of us on the Forum are anti-alcohol, we’re not looking for an abstinence or prohibition situation. We want to keep Galway as a cool party-town but without the casualties,” he said.

More information on the strategy is available at: http://www.galwayalcoholstrategy.ie/

 

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!

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Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.

Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.

Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.

The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.

Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.

“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.

*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune 

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Connacht Tribune

Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison

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A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.

The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.

A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.

At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.

They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.

Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.

The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.

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