As communities along the Galway/Tipperary border come to terms with two separate water tragedies this week, questions have been asked as to why the Portumna Fire and Rescue boat wasn’t activated in either incident.
The communities of Portumna and Terryglass, seven miles over the border in North Tipperary, were plunged into shock and mourning following two separate deaths on Lough Derg on Tuesday evening.
A 41-year-old Portumna man is believed to have drowned after going for a swim in the Shannon off Tiernascragh. It is understood he went swimming with a younger brother and friend after spending a day on the bog.
He got into difficultly at about 6.15pm and the emergency services were called into action. The RNLI and Killaloe Coast Guard were launched and a body was recovered near Cappafallagh at approximately 9.40pm.
Shannon Search and Rescue were also involved. A search and rescue helicopter – which came from Waterford – helped in the operation and Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene. The man’s body was taken to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, for a post-mortem operation.
Meanwhile, a second man, from Terryglass who has links with Portumna, also passed away in a tragedy on the lake on Tuesday.
It is believed the man, in fifties, became unwell during his swim and may have suffered a heart attack. The tragedies occurred within an hour of each other, and roughly just two miles apart. Their names are not being released until all family members are informed.
Galway East Fianna Fáil TD, Anne Rabbitte said the people of Portumna and Terryglass are shocked and numbed by the double tragedy.
But Deputy Rabbitte said the communities were also “livid” that Portumna search and rescue boat wasn’t launched.
“It is the closest boat to these two incidents. The boat is fully operational and it is staffed and the staff are trained. It is a valid question – why was Portumna search and rescue never called following the 999 call?
“The Portumna boat was not deployed. People here are livid about this. We are being told that the boat is fully operational and yet it wasn’t activated,” she said.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears
Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.
There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.
But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.
There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.
Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.
“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.
“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.
“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.
Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure
The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.
It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.
Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.
“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.
“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.
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State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo
Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.
Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.
The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.
It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.
Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.
This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.
Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.