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Staff shortage affects quality of foster care



Foster care services in Galway and Roscommon are not adequately staffed, which is having a negative impact on vulnerable children, according to new report.

HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority), has highlighted the problem of understaffing of the two counties’ foster care services following an inspection this summer.

HIQA pointed out that the unfilled posts in the service were impacting on the care received by children.

The report noted that staff were “appropriately skilled and qualified for their roles with varying levels of experience in fostering, child protection and in working with children in care.”

But staff vacancies in social care and administration was impacting on children

HIQA said: “The service was impacted by two vacancies on children in care teams and two vacancies on fostering teams. In addition, there were two unfilled posts of staff on long term leave in Roscommon.Inspectors found that across Galway and Roscommon there were 23 children without an allocated child in care social worker reported to be due to vacancies and long term leave. Inspectors found that some children had a number of different social workers assigned to them and experienced periods of unallocation due to staff leave, and this impacted on a consistent service for children.”

HIQA said there were four unfilled administrative posts in the service, which was impacting on care. “These posts had been approved, but had not been filled and inspectors found there was an impact on service delivery. Managers and social workers told inspectors that the lack of administrative support in the service had an impact on direct work with children.

“There was limited administrative support to undertake tasks such as minute taking for strategy meetings and reviews, providing reception for offices, maintenance of files, photocopying, producing reports and correspondence. Social workers told inspectors that a significant portion of their time was spent carrying out these tasks which in turn affected their time available to visit children and carers. Inspectors observed that the impact was reflected in children’s files, visits to children and delays in minutes and reports in some cases, and team leaders told inspectors that basic administrative tasks were impacting on social work time,” HIQA added.

Galway/Roscommon is one of 17 services areas served by Túsla, the child and family agency. It is the fourth largest area in the country, and when combined with Mayo it ranked as one of the most deprived in the country.

HIQA said there were 439 children in foster care in Galway and Roscommon at the time of the inspection in June. Some 339 of these lived with non-relative foster carers and 100 children lived with relatives.

Of the 439 children in foster care, 412 (93.8%) had an allocated social worker. Data also reflected that 291 foster carers (100%) had an allocated link worker. There were no children waiting for foster care placements, the report said.

The report said the population of Galway had the highest number of people from the Traveller community in Ireland and “this was proportionately reflected in the profile of children in the foster care service, as just under one third of children in foster care in Galway were from this community.”

“The culture of children from the Traveller community was respected and promoted by the service,” it said.

Connacht Tribune

US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots



Galway roots...Pat Connaughton.

An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.

The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.

Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”

One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.

“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.

“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”

Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists



Ireland rowers (from left) Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Eimear Lambe from Dublin, Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen and Emily Hegarty from Cork celebrate on the podium with their Olympic bronze medals after the Women's Four final at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’

At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.

It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.

Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.

As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.

It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.

Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.

Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from   

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Connacht Tribune

Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star



Cillín Greene's parents Sinead and Cole and sisters Iarlaith (left) and Miriam above the Olympic flag on the Nine Arches in Claregalway. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.

On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.

He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.

Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.

“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.

“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.

Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.

But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.

The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.

See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from

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