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The quack holiday weather guide to this year’s summer

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What the first half of next June should be like in Salthill if Ken Ring's predictions hold true. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

At this stage, it’s mostly quacks and entrepreneurs that engage in the business of long term weather forecasting, and it’s certainly a high risk venture even for the more reputable meteorological institutions like Met. Éireann and the BBC.

Met. Éireann desist from the practice almost completely, limiting themselves to a five day forecast, and while the BBC do offer a monthly guide for the weeks ahead, that tends to be weighted quite heavily on the side of generalities rather than specifics.

There is of course good reason for this, as the BBC and the British Met. Office has over the years scored a few spectacular goals in terms of predictions, so they are very careful now of dipping their fingers into the business of making long term seasonal forecasts.

Michael Fish’s infamous forecast on the night of October 15, 1987 – as a vicious storm was about to strike the south coast of England – is probably the most one that people remember and his famous quote can be found on thousands of websites.

“Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way . . . well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!” That evening, the worst storm to hit South East England for three centuries, caused record damage and killed nearly 20 people.

Coming a close second, in the league of getting forecasts spectacularly wrong, was one given by the BBC in April, 2009, when the female presenter had the misfortune to use the term ‘barbecue summer’ for the months ahead.

All types of media love to latch onto catch phrases and as that summer unfolded, with the rains became more unrelenting through each passing day, the ‘barbecue summer’ sound bite never left people’s minds . . . and it still hasn’t.

Seasonal weather predictions are, for the most part, based on computer models factoring in a whole barrow full of scientific data, but when countries like the UK and Ireland are positioned on the edge of the great water mass that is the Atlantic Ocean, then changes can occur very rapidly.

The British Met. Office are hoping to ‘stick out their necks’ a little bit more over the coming years with their latest €100 million super computer that they hope will give them more accuracy in terms of long term forecasts, but we’ll be a bit like St. Thomas on this one: seeing will really be believing.

Closer to home, Donegal postman Michael Gallagher has built up quite a cult following with his long term predictions based on signs he daily observes in the natural world. When he has a long term ‘hit’ with a successful forecast, we all tend to hear about it, but not so much the ones that go wrong.

Of all the long term forecasters, New Zealander Ken Ring probably has the biggest world audience and a huge one too here in Ireland, but he’s a crafty old codger, with his 2015 Ireland Almanac priced at €35 with €16 for postage.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

City Council pays €120k to orange bollards’ company

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For a while, the joke was that just like Londoners with rats, people in Galway were never more than two feet away from an orange bollard. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Do you remember last year, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Government fired a heap of cash at local authorities to do stuff – any stuff – under the general guise of ‘mobility’?

And then do you remember, we all tentatively emerged from our cocoons and discovered the city centre had been overrun by a new species, the orange bollard?

The running joke for some time locally was that – just like rats in London – in Galway you’re never more than two feet away from an orange bollard.

Yeah, well, the company that supplied Galway City Council with those gaudy orange bollards was paid over €120,000 for transport equipment during the pandemic.

Not all of it was spent on bollards that are so bright they can, like the Great Wall of China, be seen from space. But a fair chunk of it was.

According to records released to Galway City Tribune, under Freedom of Information (FOI), the Council made dozens of payments to Drogheda-based IPL Group Ltd between February 2020 and May 2021.

The amount paid to IPL Group during that time totalled over €120,000. Records indicate that as much as €67,510 of this outlay was on bollards, including semi-permanent orange ones.

A little over €30,000 was spent by the Council in May and June 2020, as we emerged from lockdown; including thousands on orange and white, and black and white, road flexi-bollards with reflective tape.

In July, it spent €12,000 on black and white quick-flex bollards; and in September, it ordered more orange, and black and white bollards to the value of €18,000. Last February, the records show, the Council spent a further €6,500 on more orange and white bollards with reflective resin tape.

As well as bollards, over €50,000 was spent with IPL Group on speed ramps, pole-retention sockets and plugs, and Weebol Flex signs, a bollard variation.

We don’t know how many bollards the Council bought off IPL, nor do we know the price per bollard.

The City Council said: “The unit price of each item was redacted. This is because the cost of the items will be known to competitors, and they may contain discounts from the supplier to Galway City Council. Disclosure of this unit price may jeopardise the competitive position of the supplier in that they may be undercut in future tender competitions by competitors as they will know what they charged for these items to Galway City Council.

“Furthermore, the release of this information may reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct or outcome of contractual or other negotiations of the supplier to whom the information relates. Release of records describing a possible discount to Galway City Council may affect any negotiation with another consumer or purchaser.

“The number of units procured per item was also redacted, as it may be the case that the total price may be divided by the number of units procured and may give an indication of unit price.”

Aside from the nonsense that the City Council won’t reveal the price per bollard for fear its supplier is undercut – and by extension it and the ratepayer might get cheaper bollards – was it money well spent?

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

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Connacht Tribune

Fascinating final in store but St Thomas’ hold most of the aces

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Salthill/Knocknacarra's Niall McGauran on the attack against Luke Murray of Dunmore MacHales during Saturday's County U19 football A final at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

ST Thomas’ will be attempting to achieve what has proven beyond three great Galway club hurling teams over the past 30 years when targeting a four-in-a-row of senior titles at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. During their respective periods of dominance Sarsfields, Athenry and Portumna were nearly untouchable on their best days, but winning four consecutive county senior hurling championships proved a bridge too far for each of these former powers.

Athenry went the closest of them all. Heading to Duggan Park in October 2001 – the last senior final to be played in Ballinasloe – Pat Nally’s troops stood 60 minutes away from claiming a fourth title on the trot. The red-hot favourites came mightily close too, only losing by a point (0-18 to 2-11) to a Clarinbridge outfit winning their first ever title.

Portumna pulled off the title hat-trick in 2009, but didn’t make it back to the following year’s final, and while Sarsfields – under Michael Conneely – triumphed in 1992, ’93 and ’95, they came unstuck in the 1994 decider when falling to Athenry (2-6 to 0-9). These three clubs were outstanding ambassadors for Galway club hurling, but there was no four-in-a row for any of them.

It underlines how difficult the achievement is and we must go back to the Turloughmore team of the sixties for a club to enjoy such an extended stranglehold on the county championship. They ended up winning six titles on the trot, but have only won the one since – in 1985 when overcoming Killimordaly (1-14 to 1-4) at Pearse Stadium.

Given that St Thomas’ are only one hour away from a fourth consecutive title, it’s curious that they are not yet held in the same awe as Sarsfields, Athenry or Portumna when they were at the peak of their powers. Perhaps, their lone All-Ireland club success up to now may have some influence in this regard.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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Connacht Tribune

Delayed gratification has given way to Amazon Prime mentality

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Delayed gratification used to be a thing; you wanted something, you longed for it, you counted down the days to Christmas or summer or your birthday – and then it arrived, and you enjoyed it all the more because it was worth the wait.

But delayed gratification went out, for the most part, with the dodo (the bird, not the child’s soother) because everyone wants everything now. That’s why – days before Santa comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve – you’ll still see kids getting toys in toy shops.

Nobody wants to wait for anything anymore; they want it now – and because they can order most things on their phone, they don’t even have to go out in the rain to get it.

And they now have a name for it – it’s called Amazon Prime Mentality. That’s shorthand for high expectations and inability to wait for anything.

It could as easily be Netflix or Sky bBox set syndrome; any platform where you can gorge yourself to death by downloading one show after another instead of waiting an unfathomable seven days between episodes.

This particular diagnosis of Amazon Prime Mentality had nothing to do with television at all; it came from an English GP who was having a go at patients who were blocking up Emergency Departments instead of seeing their local doctor – leading to a massive wait for hospital beds.

We’ve a bit of that here too as can be seen in the overcrowded A&E departments. The vast majority of people are in the right place – but some could as easily have been treated by their GP or at one of those growing number of Primary Care Centres.

Dr Jonathan Griffiths, a GP in Winsford, Cheshire, said that his belief was that some patients didn’t want to wait for GP assessment – but instead wanted everything investigated and sorted in one trip.

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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