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Tuam Archdiocese relies on US invasion to reverse fall in clergy numbers

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It is like an American invasion in the West of Ireland as a second priest from the States will be ordained in Galway over the coming years.

And the clergy have expressed satisfaction with the interest being expressed by young people in exploring a career and life in the priesthood.

His surname might sound like a famous golfer, but Tyler Haas has become the latest seminarian from the Archdiocese of Tuam to study in Maynooth for the priesthood.

Last year Fr. Shane Sullivan from Minnesota was ordained in Tuam Cathedral and is now attached to the Tuam parish.

Tyler is a native of Wisconsin and for years he had expressed an interest in joining the priesthood and becoming a seminarian for Tuam.

Vocations Director with the Tuam Archdiocese, Fr. Fintan Monahan, said that he was encouraged by the increasing level of interest in the priesthood in recent years.

Fr. Fintan was particularly proud of the fact that two priests were ordained in the Archdiocese last year with Fr. Eugene O’Boyle from Claremorris being ordained alongside Fr. Shane Sullivan.

Tuam Cathedral was packed to capacity as Fr. Shane, whose father is a native of Cill Chiaráin in South Connemara, and Fr. Eugene were ordained in front of a large crowd of family and friends.

The congregation also included many interested local parishioners, many of whom had never witnessed an ordination before. The last ordination for the Archdiocese of Tuam was in 2006 when Fr Patrick Burke, a native of Killererin, was ordained.

And it was something of a special moment for Fr. Shane when he celebrated his first Mass in Cill Chiaráin through Irish from start to finish.

The last priest in the Diocese of Galway to be ordained was Fr. Patrick O’Sullivan back in 2011 and currently there are two seminarians currently studying for the priesthood from the area.

But it was announced earlier in the week that there are now 20 new seminarians set to join St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth including 20 year old Tyler Haas.

He has some Irish blood on his father’s side of the family.  For many years he had an interest in the Irish church and approached the diocese in spring this year and expressed an interest in becoming a seminarian for Tuam. 

Having gone through the usual process of application and assessment he was formally accepted in early summer. He started his course of training this week in Maynooth with a spiritual month and hopes to enrol for a BA degree before doing a degree in theology. 

He came over from the US in early August and had a chance to work-shadow some of the parish clergy in Tuam, Castlebar and Westport as well as attending many of the sessions of the annual Novena at Knock.  His base will be in the presbytery in Tuam. 

“We are delighted with the increasing level of interest in the priesthood in recent years. Three other young men have expressed a serious interest in joining us and are in the process of discernment at present.  “We are very fortunate to have had two young priests ordained last year and very much look forward to the ordination of Rev. Sean Flynn of Castlebar next summer”, Fr. Fintan Monahan added

CITY TRIBUNE

Swimmer James clocks up one million metres in year

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From the Galway City Tribune – A keen swimmer in Galway has clocked up an astonishing one million metres in a year as part of his gruelling exercise schedule.

James Brennan reached the impressive milestone over 400 swims last years,  which were split between the sea in Salthill and across the road early-morning sessions at Leisureland pool.

He would count the lengths in his head or on his watch, regularly swimming up to 240 lengths over 90 minutes in the pool and up to 2km off the beach for a half-hour. On a regular week he would swim the equivalent of 20km.

When James realised he was at 800,000 metres last November, he decided to go all-out to pass the one-million mark by the end of 2022.

So he concentrated on swimming for at least ten hours a week leading up to Christmas and celebrated passing his goal before breaking up for the festivities.

“I’ve always done a lot of swimming. I’ve competed for my local swimming club in Claremorris, County Mayo, and was involved in the Corrib Polo Water Club races. I won the Heskin League, which is a combination of the 14 different open water races in Salthill. I also won the league in Claremorris,” he reveals.

The software engineer has been living in Galway for  13 years and has been a member of Leisureland for four years.

“It’s a really great pool, it has nice facilities, the staff are all very nice,” he reflects.

Facilities Manager of the Council-owned premises, Ian Brennan, said the phenomenal distance was the equivalent of swimming from Galway to Amsterdam.

He heard about James’s achievement from Green Party Councillor and Leisureland board member Niall Murphy, who happened to be swimming in the lane beside James when the Mayo man reached the goal.

“I felt that this is a hugely worthy event and fills me with amazement that we have a superhero in our midst. The future is bright.”

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CITY TRIBUNE

Ó Tuathail not interested in Galway City Council co-option

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From the Galway City Tribune – A two-time general election candidate for the Social Democrats in Galway West has ruled out filling the party’s vacant seat on Galway City Council.

Niall Ó Tuathail, a health reform advisor, has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that he will not be co-opted to the City Council seat vacated by the shock resignation of Councillor Owen Hanley in January.

“I’m not going to be put forward for co-option,” said Mr Ó Tuathail.

The father-of-two has lived abroad for a time since taking a step back from electoral politics in the wake of his 2020 General Election defeat.

He confirmed this week he has not reconsidered his decision to take a long break from frontline politics.

“I’m still a Soc Dem member and we’re in a process looking for someone strong to represent the values of the people who voted for us in 2019,” Mr Ó Tuathail said.

He polled 3,653 first preference votes in 2020 in Galway West and was only eliminated after the 12th count in the five-seat constituency.

That was an increase on the 3,455 number ones he received in his first Dáil election in 2016, when he also bowed out on the 12th count.

Mr Ó Tuathail was synonymous with the Social Democrats’ brand in Galway, and was heavily involved with the local referenda campaigns for marriage equality and to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

It surprised many political observers when he opted not to fight a local election for the party in 2019.

That was a breakthrough election for the Soc Dems, when Owen Hanley became the party’s first ever Galway City councillor by winning a seat in Galway City East. Sharon Nolan narrowly missed out on a seat in City Central during the same election.

Mr Hanley cited allegations made against him when he announced in January that he was resigning his position.

He said that the matters were “very serious” and would take a considerable amount of time for the authorities to investigate.

The resignation of Mr Hanley left a vacancy on the City Council.

It is the prerogative of the Social Democrats to nominate a person who will be co-opted to replace him as a councillor at City Hall.

A spokesperson for the party told the Tribune last week that it has not yet chosen a successor.

“We don’t have any update in relation to the co-option. I will let you know when we have a candidate,” the spokesperson said.

One problem faced by the party is that a number of possible replacements for Mr Hanley have left the Soc Dems over policy and other issues.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway

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Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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