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Connacht Tribune

Village counts cost of post office closure

Declan Tierney

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A Galway village, threatened with the loss of their post office, is counting the cost of the closure – with estimates that they will see a massive €80,000 a week disappear from their local economy.

Because that’s how much the post office in Eyrecourt current pays out in pensions and other social welfare entitlements every week.

Eyrecourt is one of 18 post offices earmarked for closure across the county – and locals who staged a major protest last weekend claim these payments will now relocate across the Shannon, with the Offaly village of Bannagher set to benefit.

Residents and business owners marched with placards from Esker Schoolhouse to the bridge at Banagher at the weekend to highlight the loss of their service – and the cost to their mirco-economy.

Dermot Duffy is a shop owner in Eyrecourt and he submitted an application to An Post to retain a postal service in the village following their recent decision to close down the post office there.

He said that he was willing to provide a service that would dispense the old age pension as well as facilitating other social welfare payments and services – but his application was rejected.

Mr Duffy was told he would have to fulfil a number of criteria – one of which was that he couldn’t be located within 15 kilometres of the nearest post office (Banagher is just eleven kilometres away), and also that he be located in a village with more than 500 residents.

“It was a case of me physically moving the village and, at the same time, luring another 250 people into Eyrecourt,” he remarked, adding that An Post put ‘insurmountable obstacles’ in his path.

He said that there were 213 people drawing their pension in Eyrecourt and this amounted to €80,000 which he emphasised was vital to be retained in the area.

A number of local meetings have taken place in recent weeks with Cllr Jimmy McClearn to the forefront of organising these.

Cllr McClearn said that there were existing businesses willing to take on the services that had been provided by these post offices – such as dispensing social welfare payments including old age pensions.

He added that the closures were implemented without any alternative being put in place. The councillor asked how the elderly were expected to travel 15 miles to collect their pensions when many of them cannot drive anymore.

Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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