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Welcome to a strange month of hurricanes and equinoxes

Francis Farragher

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A natural colour image of what Hurricane Sandy looked like from space on October 28, 2012, as pictured by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 13 as the weatheer system approached the eastern shores of the USA. Thankfully, Ireland’s positioning on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean tends to keep us out of the ‘firing line’ from such weather events.

September is always one of the great months of change in the calendar with the start of a new school year; the arrival of the autumnal equinox; the sun not rising until after 7am and then retiring before 8pm; the return of the Late Late Show (no, not the repeats) while little thoughts of wintertime and Christmas occasionally slip into our consciousness.

Some people love the mellowness of the autumn season with that soft mix of red, brown and golden shades embellished by a lowering sun – in the United States there is a great affection for what is known as The Fall but I’ve never really been seduced by the loss of the light and the inevitable feeling that the season of winter is not far away.

There have been mixed feelings about our Summer gone by, a season that ended according to the meteorological calendar on August 31, but on balance the months of June, July and August slipped into the ‘not too bad’ category.

Our Summer started quite spectacularly with a dry spell at the end of May turning into a mini-heatwave for the first nine days of June where maximum temperatures on the 4th and 5th exceeded 23˚ Celsius. (Met. Éireann station, Athenry).

Those were the couple of weeks when we all nurtured hopes of a cracking summer to follow but alas that fortnight was to be our lengthiest spell of sunshine for the entire season.

We did have the briefest of hot spot interludes on the Monday of August 15 (Lady Day in Athenry), and the following day when the thermometer reached 25.5˚ Celsius, one of our warmest days of the entire Summer.

It was though not a very wet Summer by any means, although there were some striking local variations as regards rainfall. Abbeyknockmoy weather man Brendan Geraghty had less than three inches of rainfall during the month of August, just over three inches in July and under three inches for the month of June – overall a bit drier than average.

Two of the wetter spots across the province for August were at Knock Airport, 118mms. (close on 5 inches) and Athenry, 96.3mms (close on 4 inches) while at Mace Head in south-west Connemara, rainfall was below the three inches’ mark.

Dublin Airport was a lot drier than the West of Ireland through July and August with a total of just 106mms. or over 4 inches for the two months, less than half of what fell in Knock for the same period.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Teach Solais closure a blow to LGBT teens

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

There is a dominant narrative, in Ireland and internationally, that a significant proportion of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex population experience mental health difficulties.

The findings of a study by GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) back up the anecdotal evidence with hard statistics.

Across LGBT groups surveyed, between 12% and 35% of participants recorded scores indicating severe or extremely severe depression, anxiety and stress.

LGBT teenagers aged 14-18 were most impacted, followed by 19-25 year-olds.

Compared with other adolescents, teenagers who identified as LGBT were four times more likely to suffer severe or extremely severe depression, anxiety and stress.

The 14-18 year-old LGBT population also had lower self-esteem, and scored lower levels of happiness and satisfaction than their straight friends.

One in three of the LGBT population surveyed self-harmed; nearly half had done so within the previous 12 months, and almost 60% said self-harm was related to their sexual identity and struggle to be accepted by others and society. Rates of self-harm were higher (56%) for 14-18 year-olds, and three in every four of them had self-harmed in the previous year.

The stats varied depending on age of the LGBT survey participants, but almost 60% of the sample had seriously thought of ending their own life, with approximately 45% having thought of doing so within the past year. Some 60% reported that their suicidal thoughts were at least somewhat related to their LGBTI identity.

Of those who had seriously considered ending their own life, four in ten (39.9%) did not seek any help for the problems that led them to seriously consider ending their life.

More than one in five of the sample (21.4%) had seriously tried to take their own life. Approximately two-thirds (66.8%) reported that their suicide attempt(s) was at least somewhat related to being LGBT.

There are more stats in the GLEN study from 2018 that show that despite the many advances for the LGBT community in Ireland, the heteronormative worldview of society impacts on young LGBT people in particular. They’re more likely to be bullied in school, and misuse drugs and alcohol than their straight counterparts, for example.

The survey is important in the context of the closure of Teach Solais, the LGBT resource centre run by voluntary charity, Amach.

It was supported by the Maureen O’Connell fund, through Saint Vincent de Paul and by funds from Galway City Council, to get it open to the public in 2017. But after three years, it has closed because the Government won’t grant it annual, sustainable funding.

For just €90,000 a year, Teach Solais would provide health and wellbeing services at a drop-in centre, as well as an outreach service in County Galway, where rural isolation leading to mental health issues is a major issue.

In the long-run, sustainable funding makes sense  and will save lives and improve the lives of the LGBT community who suffer in silence. All that’s needed is political will.

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

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Connacht Tribune

Will we ultimately adjust our lives to this new abnormal?

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New reality...Taoiseach Micheal Martin, wearing his Ireland-branded protective face mask.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Twenty years ago, I went to Macedonia to cover the impact of the civil war in Kosovo. The whole border area right into the capital, Skopje, had been turned into massive refugee camps. As the weeks went into months, you could see people who had been turfed out of their homes get used to the new reality.

Two years ago, I was in Ethiopia, a country that has over one million refugees. Most of the camps are run by humanitarian organisations and the truth is that they have better living conditions there than if they were to try to fare for themselves in the very poor countryside around them.

Some of them have been living there for more than a decade and the refugee camps now have permanent structures. There are schools and shops and massive food distribution centres.

It looks more like a shabby town than a canvas city these days, although the vast majority are dependent on hand-outs.

The net message is that people adjust to the conditions – to the reality that confronts them. Perhaps they bargain that it’s not forever; perhaps they get used to what is called the ‘new normal’.

You go out now and everybody is wearing a mask. When it first happened, it seemed like a curiosity.

Other things take longer to get used to; the absence of sports, for one. How many hundreds of thousands of people used to go to matches at weekends or in the long summer evenings to see their local parish or club participate?

Sure – it will be on television but it’s a lesser form.

The All-Ireland series will be truncated. And with the virus worsening in Dublin, it’s now looking like crowd numbers will remain severely restricted.

It’s also difficult for teenagers and people in their twenties – because when it comes to hormones versus the virus, hormones win every time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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