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Connacht Tribune

Taoiseach to open new Clifden school

Declan Tierney

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The new €8 million secondary school that has been provided in Clifden, following many years of campaigning, will be officially opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar next week.

The state-of-the-art Clifden Community School was completed last year and the students and staff moved in to their new building last October. The old school to the rear was then demolished.

“The official opening of the new school by the Taoiseach is the culmination of years of campaigning and hard work and it will be a day of celebration for the whole community,” according to local councillor and former Cathaoirleach Eileen Mannion.

Cllr Mannion paid tribute to all the staff at Clifden Community School for their patience over the past two years while the new school was being built in front of the existing school and for their hard work and dedication in ensuring a smooth transition to the new building.

Planning permission for the new €8 million school was originally granted back in 2011 and this was after a 10-year campaign at the time – but works did not commence as there was no funding made available at the time. Then there was an extension of planning permission granted in 2016 at which point the necessary funds were provided and works commenced much to the delight of parents and the local community in general.

The new school building, part two-storey and part three-storey, has been fitted out to a very high standard and with the latest technology. It also has a new school entrance and landscaping.

The old school building that was demolished has made way for play areas and parking. JJ Rhatigan and Co were awarded the contract and work began in June 2016.

The Parents Association are currently fundraising for a new astroturf pitch to complement the new school complex.

The school serves students from West Connemara stretching from Cashel and Maam to Ballyconneely, Renvyle and Inishbofin. The previous school was constructed in May 1979.

But it was back in 1972 when a decision was taken to amalgamate schools run by the Sisters of Mercy and the Franciscan Brothers – one was a boys’ school and the other a girls’.

The following year the first meeting of the board of management took place in the Convent of Mercy and a foundation stone of the previous school building was laid on February 1974.

The new school will be officially opened by Taoiseach Varadkar on Wednesday next.

Mr Varadkar will also visit Coláiste Naomh on Inis Meáin on Wednesday to mark the fact it has recently been recognised by the Dept of Education as an independent school, having previously been under the patronage of Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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