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Connacht Tribune

Vaccine is the light on the horizon – but we have dark roads to travel first

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Dr Tony Holohan

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Usually around this time, those New Year’s resolutions are finally given their last rites, and people begin to get round to planning their real resolutions. These don’t involve self-improvement; self-sacrifice; self-deprivation of any kind. They are, in fact, your summer holidays.

As the great Christy Moore observed: “Everybody needs a break, climb a mountain or jump in a lake. Some head off to exotic places. Others go to the Galway Race… Some jet of to Frigiliana, But I always go to Lisdoonvarna.”

Well if he wants to go to Lisdoonvarna this summer, he should be okay if he goes late. But as for jetting off anyway, he can forget about it.

You can forget about France. You can forget about going to see if Galway can bate Mayo. You can forget about the hurling and Dublin Marathon and the Galway Races and the Arts Festival in the way we are used to them.

I think it’s fairly unlikely we will see the resumption of full contact sport, except at an elite level.

If we are eating out, or going on holidays, or crossing the country boundary, it’s not going to happen until summer is well established – perhaps as late as July.

Over the weekend, I was cleaning off some of the detritus from my desktop and came across an argument made by the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan to the government in October (and that was less than four months ago).

Just to set the scene, it was soon after he returned from leave. Most of the country was in Level 3.

Holohan was concerned that there had been a rapid deterioration over the past week, and that the State was now looking at exponential growth of cases.

He pointed out to the numbers in hospital increasing almost five-fold in five weeks. The same went for ICU patients. It was outside Dublin that most of the damage was being done, with an estimated R or reproduction rate of 1.6.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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