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Support group meeting for kids with Dyspraxia



The Galway Dyspraxia Support Group will hold their first evening meeting next week at the Connacht Hotel – with Mary O’Sullivan, the woman behind the resurgent group, calling on all parents of children with DCD/dyspraxia (which causes motor difficulties) to come along and get informed about the supports available to them in Galway.

Salthill resident Mary, together with a group of parents in a similar situation, decided to renew the group that had been set up by Ger Flaherty in the 1990s – but had since been wound down due to the children involved growing up.

It all began when the ‘Enable Mums’, as the group collectively refer to themselves, came together at a parenting course for children with the disorder at Enable Ireland’s Seamus Quirke Road Children’s Services Centre.

From there, they decided to meet for coffee outside the centre and bring in parents from all service providers – in the hope that they could benefit from one another’s experiences.

“We all said at the parenting course that we learned so much from each other.

“We knew where to go for the physical services but we wanted somewhere where we could talk about it, swap stories about what services worked well for us, what therapies worked well for us – so we said let’s meet for coffee,” explained Mary.

Since then the group, affiliated to the charity Dyspraxia DCD Ireland, has gone from strength to strength.

It now provides an outlet for parents to attain links to a summer camp run by Bushy Park primary school teachers Paul Kilgannon and Sinead O’Sullivan’s Fitness FUNdamentals company as well as various different service providers and clubs around the city and county.

A highlight for Mary has been the establishing of a basketball team dedicated to children with DCD/dyspraxia.

Activities like this, according to Mary, are key as they allow the children to get involved in exercise and fitness whilst also enjoying themselves.

Similarly, local chartered physiotherapist, Karen Roberts provides them with ‘Fun Physio’ – focussing on the development of core strength as means of making daily activities easier.

Mary explained that one of the stand-out moments for her was watching her daughter ride a bike for the first time – something that she never thought possible immediately after her diagnosis.

Thanks to the help of Enable Ireland’s dedicated unit to DCD/dyspraxia, she witnessed the ‘definitely can do’ attitude that occupational therapist, Sarah Butler, had professed to her from the beginning.

“Definitely can do is a nice way of putting it,” said Mary. “It may be just that they are slower to do it or that they will find another way of doing it.”

DCD/dyspraxia is a condition that affects about six per cent of the population – a shocking statistic when it is considered that this would equate to at least one child in every class at primary school level.

The disorder is described as a difficulty in developmental or movement skills. It can affect the body’s fine motor skills, gross motor skills and in some cases of DCD, sensory and processing skills.

For this reason, she believed that raising awareness was hugely important – especially given that it can be a “subtle” progression and hard to see at first glance.

■ The meeting takes place at 8pm on Wednesday, October 12, at the Connacht Hotel in Renmore.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary



Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Compo can keep sex abuse dad out of jail



Galway Courthouse.

An estranged father who sexually assaulted his then-ten-year-old daughter seven years ago will escape a two-year jail term – if he pays her €12,000 within the next twelve months.

Counsel for the 51-year-old man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the victim, indicated at Galway Circuit Criminal Court this week that his client would avail of Judge Brian O’Callaghan’s offer and would sell off some of his assets to raise the €12,000.

Earlier in the sentence hearing, the now-17-year-old victim told the court the seven-year delay in bringing her father to justice had caused her and her mother untold grief and suffering.

“It’s been seven years, dealing with court dates and adjournments and only now, seven years later, have I got the closure I needed,” she said.

The judge apologised to her and everyone else involved for the delay in finalising the case.

“Even allowing for Covid, it is without question that the judicial, legal, criminal system has failed all parties in this case and it’s appropriate I should give that apology,” Judge O’Callaghan said.

Prosecuting state counsel, Conall MacCarthy, said the man maintained his innocence when arrested and interviewed in April 2016.

He had been due to stand trial on two occasions in the last few years but each time his trial was adjourned for various reasons, including Covid.

He then pleaded guilty, moments before his trial was eventually due to get underway last November, to a charge of sexually assaulting the girl on August 15, 2015, at the family home near a Co. Galway village.

Sentence was adjourned on four occasions since to await the results of a probation report before it was finalised this week.

Resd the full court report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hero’s welcome for king of the high seas



Atlantic rower Damian Browne holds a flare as he enters Galway Docks to a hero’s reception. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

“I just had a deep belief I was going to complete it – and nothing was going to stop me.”

Those were the words of former Connacht rugby player and now transatlantic rower Damian Browne who returned to a hero’s welcome at Galway Docks on Tuesday, just hours after his mammoth journey came to an end on the rocks at Furbo.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, 42-year-old Browne’s vessel, the Cushlamachree, came ashore just down from Pádraicín’s – not the ending the Renmore man wanted for his epic trip from New York to Galway.

The journey was due to end at the Docks at 11am on Tuesday morning, but as it turned out, Browne had a few hours at home before being met by huge crowds who, despite the rain, came out in their hundreds to welcome the extreme adventurer back.

Children from schools across the city were among the hoards of people who lined the Harbour, including those from his alma mater, St Joseph’s (The Bish) who formed a guard of honour with oars to greet Browne.

His arrival to the Docks, escorted by Galway Harbourmaster Brian Sheridan, was met with endless cheers as drumbeat and flares signalled the end of his four months at sea.

“The winds coming from the south were blowing me up through the Aran Islands and it was great to get me through the islands, but then they kept pushing me towards the north coast of Galway and nothing I could do would stop them,” says Browne of the final hours of his journey.

“Before I knew it, I was at Pádraicín’s and heading for Barna, trying to get into Barna Pier to anchor down . . . it was very tense. I saw two rocks that I knew were there, but I thought I was further out, and then I had to whip the boat around.

“I had about two seconds to whip it around, 270 degrees, and head straight out to sea, but as I did, I got hit by a massive wave.”

The boat capsized, one of his oars broke and it was at that moment he knew it was time to get up on the rocks and call for assistance.

Get the full dramatic story – and full coverage of the welcome home – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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