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Tourism fair could bring millions of euro to Galway



Galway is in the running to host Ireland’s largest tourism trade fair, which would bring over 300 international tour operators to the city and could be worth millions to the regional economy.

Fáilte Ireland is currently considering a number of locations in which to stage Meitheal 2015, where over 400 Irish tourism providers will gather with top overseas tour operators with a view to negotiating business for the year ahead.

The trade fair, which is in its 39th year, also serves as an opportunity to showcase the tourism potential of its host city to the world’s biggest tour operators, and could result in a major spike in visitor numbers in 2015.

Galway West TD Brian Walsh has been in contact with Fáilte Ireland over the prospect of Galway hosting the tourism summit, and is optimistic that the city can beat competition to host next year’s event.

“I’ve been in touch with the CEO of Fáilte Ireland to outline the outstanding merits of Galway as a possible venue for Meitheal 2015, and I’m very hopeful of bringing the trade fair to the city next year,” he said.

“This is a massive opportunity,” continued Deputy Walsh. “Top tour operators from countries as far afield as the US, Brazil, Australia and China will be coming here to do business and see what we have to offer.

“It would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase Galway to major players in the tourism industry and could be worth tens of millions to the regional economy,” he said.

“The organisers have missed an opportunity by holding the event in Dublin in previous years. It shows only one facet of the Irish tourism product. If operators are looking for diversity, natural beauty and value for money; they should be looking to the west.

“In the short term, it is a major event that would result over a thousand bed nights next April. But, in the medium term, it is an opportunity to put Galway on the map for international tour operators and could be worth a lot to the local economy.”

In making the case for Galway as the host city with Fáilte Ireland, Deputy Walsh has highlighted the city’s location at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, its proximity to regional airports, and its track record in hosting major national and international events.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run



A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda



Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway



Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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