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The Chinese have it right with their New Year start

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A St. Brigid's Cross symbolising the first day of February and the start of the 'real new year'.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

The conventional wisdom is that it’s bad to be wishing your life away but January is never a month that I’m sorry to see the back of, given its mid-winter location and its reputation for always being a time of the year when we all realise that we’re stony broke after the Christmas spend.

This time round, my main New Year resolution was that I would make none of those ridiculous commitments, but even that simple principle, adopted for the early days of January, also had its complications.

The commitment not to give up the drink; not to embark on any youthful fitness crusade; not to give up chips at lunchtime and not to resist the temptation of all things chocolaty . . . well it all kind of backfired, in that I showed great enthusiasm for not doing the ‘good things’.

February’s imminent arrival though has jolted me back into a more balanced approach and the second month of the year has always put a bit of humour into my life and daily routines.

Like criminals being rewarded for having an exemplary record during their time in prison, some of the bovines tend to be released in February from their period of winter captivity in the shed, while there’s always a reminder there too that a little stretch is coming in the evenings.

By now though, January has delivered a number of near mortal blows in the shape of credit card bills, winter storms and the realisation that another year has come and gone, leaving us to wonder as to how many more we have left.

February though has the happy knack of giving a more positive aspect to the year ahead, and despite all the Met. Office people categorising March 1 as the first day of Spring, I like to hark back to the teaching of the Franciscan Brothers on this one.

We were instructed, with no hint of dissent allowed, that Spring began on February 1, when the crows started to build their nests in the trees and the buds started to appear on the shrubs, flowers and trees. It was, as if the rooks kept a diary of the year, and knew that on the first day of the second month, it was time to get cracking for the new family on the way.

A glance through Google tells me that February derives its name from the Latin word februum that translates into purification, so maybe it is a more apt month to try and change our ways by making an effort to live the good life.

One of the big penance days of the month – Ash Wednesday – arrives earlier this year, on the 10th of February, due to an early Easter in 2016. The Easter date on the calendar is determined by the following sequence: the first Sunday after the first full moon that comes after the Spring Equinox.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Snubs show City Council protocol has gone to pot!

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City Hall failed to inform Cllr Donal Lyons that a Minister and Junior Minister were coming to his Knocknacarra kingdom to turn the sod on a housing development. None of the other councillors were informed about the event or invited to it either.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

City Hall has gone to pot with protocol. It continues to ignore elected representatives of Galway City Council when it comes to issuing invites to events, and is treating lay members of Strategic Policy Committees with disdain, too.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) raised the touchy subject of councillors not receiving invites to ministerial envelope-openings around the city.

The King of Knocknacarra recalled at the latest Council meeting, how City Hall failed to invite local representatives to the turning of the sod on the Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge earlier this year.

That omission, reported in Bradley Bytes, put Councillor Frank Fahy’s nose out of joint and led to a grovelling apology from Chief Executive Brendan McGrath. The head honcho said it would not happen again. It did, though.

At the September meeting last week, Cllr Lyons suggested little had been learned from the experience.

A Minister and Junior Minister had been in Galway recently, to turn the sod on a housing development in his Knocknacarra kingdom and nobody thought to tell him, or the Mayor of Galway, or any other councillor for that matter. “It’s not a gripe,” he said, “but it has happened before.”

Cllr Colette Connolly (Ind) also hit out at the lack of invites and breach of protocol. She said that since Covid, local representatives were not getting “any notifications”.

For it to happen once or twice is a mistake. This is beginning to look like a pattern, though. And it has led many to wonder whether there is an unofficial policy in Galway City Council of treating the elected representatives of the people with disdain, by ignoring long-established protocol regarding invites to events and openings.

Standards are slipping, that’s for sure. But it’s not just elected members feeling left out.

Long-time City Council agitator, Derrick Hambleton of An Taisce revealed at last week’s Cost of Living Coalition Galway meeting in the Western Hotel how a lack of courtesy from City Hall was not confined to elected representatives.

Hambleton, a planning expert who annoys officialdom no end, is a member of the Council’s Planning Strategic Policy Committee.

It was due to meet in the past fortnight but didn’t and nobody informed him and a colleague as to why it didn’t.

“We were supposed to have a meeting last week. We weren’t told it was cancelled; we weren’t even informed. It just didn’t happen. We ask questions, we start rows. It’s a waste of time – I’ve been wasting my time for the last twenty years,” Derrick told the Prospect Hill meeting.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Turlough’s thumping of title holders opens up the hurling championship

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St Thomas’ v Turloughmore Senior Hurling Championship game at Kenny Park, Athenry. Dara Whelan, Turloughmore and Victor Manso, St Thomas’

Inside Track with John McIntyre

TURLOUGHMORE blew the Galway senior hurling championship wide open with an unexpected thumping of title holders St Thomas’ at Kenny Park on Saturday. With questions to answer after fading badly in an earlier group tie against Clarinbridge, Franny Forde’s charges achieved a statement victory which must have sent shock waves throughout the county.

Having come up narrowly short in the 2020 decider against St Thomas’ in front of empty terraces in Athenry, Turlough looked like a team primed to exploit significant under-age success, but they had a blow-out in last year’s preliminary quarter-final when surrendering a 10-point lead to rank outsiders Kilnadeema/Leitrim.

That left the team with questions to answer heading into 2022, and that disappointing 0-24 to 0-17 loss to Clarinbridge in August appeared to confirm that Turloughmore were missing the level of substance and belief in their ranks which potential champions require. But all bets are off after last Saturday’s demolition job of St Thomas’.

Carrying the day by a scarcely believable 2-23 to 0-14 against an admittedly out-of-sorts champions must do wonders for the squad’s confidence, and with Seán Loftus continuing to hurl up a storm in the group stages – seven points of his 1-12 total came from play – Turloughmore are now serious contenders for title glory.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Prodigal son Bertie could be set for return to the fold

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Bertie Ahern speaking at the announcement of the Good Friday Agreement.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I’d actually forgotten that Bertie Ahern wasn’t a member of Fianna Fáil until the issue was brought up at the parliamentary party meeting of TDs and senators last week.

He was in Coventry or Purdah – or wherever politicians with a whiff of scandal around them are put – for a number of years but he’s been back at the centre of the political and public stage for so long now, you begin to forget that he was ever away.

And so last week, Donegal senator Niall Blaney stood up and addressed his colleagues right at the end of the meeting. He said 2023 would mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The party needed to put its best foot forward to commemorate it.

Out of the blue, he then said that should include welcoming Bertie Ahern back into the party fold. He called on the party to act in “a spirit of inclusivity”.

It was one of those moments that Conamara people have a great expression for. ‘Tháinig sé Aniar Aduaidh orainn’ (it surprised us from the North West).

It had not been on the meeting agenda but now it was very much on the party’s agenda. Others piped up. Offaly TD Barry Cowen said that the time had come to readmit Ahern to Fianna Fáil. Over the next 24 hours colleagues joined in, saying a lot of water had flown under the bridge since a decade ago.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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