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CITY TRIBUNE

Taoiseach wants ‘thorough investigation’ into pensioner death at UHG

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune: An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the death of a pensioner following an incident in the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway (UHG) last month needs to be “investigated thoroughly” by Gardaí and hospital authorities.

A great grandmother (74) died some days after she was found on the floor of the ED at the city hospital early one morning in late September. Investigations are ongoing into claims the woman, originally from Connemara but living in the city, was thrown or flipped out of the trolley by a fellow patient.

The case – revealed by Galway City Tribune last Friday – was highlighted in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday by Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly (Ind).

The deceased woman – who had brittle bones – was admitted from Merlin Park to the UHG ED with a hospital-acquired infection. She spent 72 hours on a trolley in ED, including two full days in the corridor. It is alleged that a male patient, who may have been drunk and was described by one witness as “aggressive”, flipped her out of the trolley and onto the floor, where she lay for minutes before staff lifted her back onto the trolley.

Deputy Connolly said the family was never contacted at any point in relation to this fall, and never given an adequate explanation as to how the patient ended up “on the floor screaming in pain”.

It was her daughter who diagnosed she had a broken hip, but it took almost six hours before an x-ray was taken, during which time she was given no pain relief. The woman subsequently had hip surgery but never recovered and died some days later. “Understandably the family is distraught at the manner in which their mother was treated,” said Deputy Connolly.

During Leaders Questions, in response to queries from Deputy Connolly, Mr Varadkar said he was “sorry to hear about what happened to that lady, and my thoughts are with her family”.

“I have been informed that there is an investigation under way into this case. There is a Garda investigation and one by the hospital authorities. I do not think it would be appropriate for me or the Minister for Health to comment on an ongoing Garda investigation or one by the hospital authorities that is ongoing, but I absolutely agree that whatever happened in this case, the incident needs to be investigated thoroughly by the Garda if there is a criminal aspect to it – I understand there may be – and by the hospital authorities in respect of her medical care.”
This is a preview only. For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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