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Students unveil Buggingham Palace – new five-star hotel




In normal circumstances, bugs would be the bane of hotel life – but not in Clonfert where a brand new five-star facility has opened ….specifically for the little mites.

And the boys and girls of St. Brendan’s N.S. are inviting every insect, bird, animal and organism in Connacht to their unique winter eco-lodge; the five-star bug hotel people are now calling Buggingham Palace.


This small village is making a big difference in biodiversity as a part of their Green Schools campaign for 2016.

The students, staff and parents of St. Brendan’s have put on their hard hats and thinking-caps and gathered enough recyclable materials like old carpets, pallets, clay pots, bamboos, bricks, twigs, leaves and pine cones to name a few and the Green Schools Committee along with their Green schools Co-ordinator Mr. Sean Corcoran have begun constructing the Bug Hotel.

We student reporters – Ben Flanagan and Cian Casey – went into the field to interview some locals for their thoughts on the matter.

Hotel Manager James Clancy from third class was well up for the challenge.

“I am looking forward to seeing many types of bees checking in, the honey bee and the solitary bee in particular, they will help to pollinate our flowers!” he said.

Parish priest Fr. Declan McInerney was full of praise for the project – mixed with a little apprehension.

“I am delighted to welcome all God’s creatures to Clonfert and I would have no problem blessing the bug hotel but I would not be staying overnight!” he admitted.

Principal Mrs. Déirdre Boyle was also delighted about all the potential new wildlife coming to her school garden.

“We have one big wildlife hotel but the children have made many mini bug hotels from plastic bottles, twigs, pine cones, tree bark and leaves, so everyone is getting on board with helping Biodiversity in any way they can at our school!” she said.

Ben and Cian also caught up with Jennifer Broderick in the school yard, who neither confirmed nor denied that they are expecting some very high profile celebrity guests – including the Beatles – to arrive any time in the coming weeks.

Green schools co-ordinator Sean Corcoran has been using his skills as a carpenter to construct the hotel, wanted to explain why Biodiversity was so important to St. Brendan’s N.S.

“Biodiversity is all life on our planet. It’s what keeps us alive so we should do our best keep it alive!

“I am delighted with the response from the pupils and parents, we have amounted plenty of recycled materials which have allowed us to construct a really colourful and diverse insect hotel.

“It is easy to construct, you just need recyclable materials, old pallets, and you can even reuse the old nails from the pallets, so that everything is recycled!

“This is just the first stage in our action plan, we have already planted a Hazel Tree for Tetra Pak Tree day on October 8, and we will be sewing lots of vegetables, fruit and flowers, building a hedgehog pit-stop and bird houses in the coming weeks and hopefully by Spring our garden will be bursting with life!” he added.

The Green Schools committee have decided upon the slogan ‘Respect and Protect All Nature’ to promote awareness in the Clonfert community.

There will be an official Green Schools opening day this Friday at 12 noon, when the hotel will be given its official name and the children will recite poems, read stories and perform their Green Schools song all under this year’s theme of ‘Biodiversity’.

And the pupils of St Brendan’s now hope that other schools will follow in their footsteps and build wildlife habitats so that Irish Schools can work together on their green theme

Connacht Tribune

New York-based Galwegian thrives in heart of virus epi-centre

Denise McNamara



Tadhg Reynolds in Times Square, on the empty streets of Manhattan.

An aspiring entrepreneur and Galway native, who had just set up a digital marketing company in New York when the pandemic struck, continues to work twelve-hour days as companies scramble to stay afloat.

Tadhg Reynolds, 24, from Kinvara, left for a better life exactly a year ago, on graduating from NUIG with a degree in Business Information Systems.

On his arrival, he joined a digital marketing start-up in Manhattan focused on e-commerce before branching out on his own, concentrating on Facebook ads, email and Instagram posts for companies in the US as well as in Ireland.

And then Covid-19 sent shockwaves around the world.

America is now the epi-centre of the pandemic and New York has been hardest hit, with 12,000 new cases confirmed and 600 deaths recorded on the day Tadhg spoke to the Connacht Tribune.

Tadhg had been worried that his newly found business would fall by the wayside as digital marketing is usually the first thing cut in hard times.

“I’ve actually started taking on new clients – companies selling home exercise equipment, hand sanitisers, hand moisturisers are doing really well so I’m helping them capitalise and everything seems to be going ok,” he remarks.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitals plan for anticipated virus upsurge

Dara Bradley



ICU staff at Portiuncula Hospital – with a very clear message for the public. Photo taken by hospital staff because of visiting restrictions.

Extra space to store dead bodies prior to burials and cremations has been added at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

Upgrade works at the mortuary had already started prior to the Covid-19 crisis but additional capacity for potential coronavirus deaths was added as a worst case scenario precaution.

‘Preliminary talks’ about the possibility of opening a temporary field hospital in Galway, if in the worst-case scenario the four city hospitals fill-up, have also taken place as part of the HSE’s wide-ranging pandemic plans.

The capacity planning comes as Dr Pat Nash, Chief Clinical Director of Saolta Hospitals Group this week warned we are ‘far from over the hump’ in relation to Covid-19 infections and deaths, even though the public’s compliance with social distancing has slowed the spread of the virus.

The latest figures confirm there were a total of 128 positive cases of Covid-19 in Galway, as of midnight on Sunday, compared with 86 the previous Sunday. That’s up 42 cases in a week, but Sunday’s sharp rise of 16 new cases accounted for almost 40%.

Several hospital sources confirmed that temporary refrigerated prefabricated buildings have been installed alongside the morgue. These have increased by many multiples the 15 spaces in the existing, permanent morgue. An autopsy theatre at the morgue has been moved temporarily to the Fever Hospital building at UHG.

Members of the public who contacted the Connacht Tribune had noticed building work at the city morgue at UHG.

Dr Nash said some construction work was progressing beside the morgue on a new laboratory building that will accommodate the blood and tissue establishment unit. That unit was previously granted planning permission as part of an extension to the morgue.


See full story – and a further 20 pages of coverage of the Covid-19 crisis – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on

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Connacht Tribune

NUIG research team found pandemic was long on the cards

Denise McNamara



NUIG Professor Máire Connolly.

Back in 2017, a research report led by NUIG Professor Máire Connolly warned that the risk of a pandemic emerging was greater than ever before.

Influenza viruses originating in animals was first in the list of identified threats to human health.

“The timing and origin of the next pandemic is uncertain, but improved preparedness can minimise the impact on human lives and health, and the disruption to economies and societies that results,” she remarked on the publication of the EU ‘Pandem’ report following 18 months of research.

It was unfortunately all too prescient.

“It is a little bit eerie looking back,” Prof Connolly admits this week. “I don’t think we actually envisaged it would be as harrowing as it is.”

The Galway City native’s previous roles with the World Health Organisation (WHO) revolved around health security and disease control in emergencies. She worked with the organisation between 1995 and 2012, often at the heart of devastating crises in the likes of Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Gaza, East Timor, Uganda and Syria..

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on

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