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Connacht Tribune

Spreading the word

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Gearóid’s sisters Karen and Sinéad Mannion who edited his extraordinary schoolboy essays and short stories for the forthcoming book.

A collection of essays and short stories written by a Clifden schoolboy in the 1980s – and recently found in a cupboard – is to be published next week. The author Gearóid Mannion died a few years later having lived with Muscular Dystrophy from birth. Judy Murphy tells his story.

Gearóid Mannion was just 14 years old and in second year at Clifden Community School when he took on the role of managing a soccer team. He couldn’t play the game himself because the Muscular Dystrophy he’d been born with had left his young body weak and fragile. But Gearóid knew how to manage and his side won their first game.

His brief, successful management tenure and the fate that befell those rebels who subsequently ignored his strategy is recalled by Féilim Gibbons, a member of that team and a friend of Gearóid’s, in the introduction to a new book, The Long-Lost Short Stories of Gearóid P. Mannion.

Being launched on Sunday, September 23, at Clifden Arts Festival, this collection of essays and short stories was written by Gearóid as a schoolboy in the 1980s. It lay forgotten in a cupboard for more than two decades until his nephew Niall discovered them a few months ago, while rooting in a press for a mobile-phone charger.

They are the work of a highly intelligent teenager in love with language and sci-f, who had a quirky world-view, partly due to his unique perspective – being profoundly physically disabled and in a wheelchair.

What makes this legacy more special is that Gearóid died 25 years ago, aged 21, because of Muscular Dystrophy.

Having been born healthy and happy, on June 30, 1971 Gearóid missed several milestones such as sitting up and crawling. He was sent to Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Dublin where he underwent a series of tests and procedures before being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type II, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.

“At first, we thought he’d be able to walk, but as time went on, he had to have physio and we just had to get on with it,” his mother Anne recalls over tea in the kitchen of their house, a few miles outside Clifden on the Galway road.

“There was a paper bag full of copies in the press,” adds Gearóid’s older sister, Karen, who is Niall’s mum, about her son’s discovery. “Niall saw Gearóid’s name on them and started looking at them. The writing was so poor that Mammy had to translate them.”

That was no problem to Anne, who had been determined from the moment of Gearóid’s diagnosis that he would live a full and happy life.

And he did, attending primary school first on Omey Island, where Anne was a teacher, then Roundstone NS, before going on to secondary at Clifden Community School and to the then RTC.

Anne taught on Omey when just three families still lived there so Gearóid and Karen attended that school until it closed in the early 1980s, when she was reassigned to Roundstone.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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