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Galway West

Brave battler opens new election office



Senator Fidelma Healy Eames together with supporters, being assisted by Tomás McLoughlin and his brother Matthew to cut the tape at the new Campaign Office in Oranmore.

A young Galway boy who has battled serious illness since his premature birth was in the spotlight this week as he officially unveiled an election candidate’s new campaign base.

Tomás McLoughlin, who has cerebral palsy following a series of harrowing complications at birth, opened Senator Fidelma Healy Eames’ new office in Oranmore as she launched her election campaign.

“I was honoured to have young Tomás McLoughlin of ‘Tomorrow for Tomás’ charity open my new Campaign office in Oranmore,” said the Senator

“Young Tomás is a champion for children with disabilities and their needs,” she added.

Tomás, from Roscam, lost his identical twin brother Seán at just 30 days of age, while he was left with no independent movement.

His parents Ann-Marie Duggan, from Renmore, and Shane McLoughlin – from Ballinasloe and originally Castlerea – have set up a campaign called ‘Tomorrow for Tomás’, where they hope to raise funds for his care, as well as costly equipment.

And Senator Healy Eames said that their situation was so common among too many families caring for children with special needs.

“We are still waiting for the full implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs. It is unbelievable twelve years on that this Act has not yet been fully implemented, which means needs of persons with disabilities are not met as a matter of right.

“All children with disabilities deserve to have their needs met as a matter of right and not as a result of having to fight for everything they need on a piecemeal basis.

“Our goal as an Equal Opportunity Society must be to enable all persons with disabilities to have a level playing field and as far as possible to live independently. This is a human rights issue,” she said.

Connacht Tribune

TALLIES: Half of boxes open in City West



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Galway West

Left and right find middle ground



Deputy Catherine Connolly being interviewed at Leinster House.

There is a tired old cliché about people singing from ‘the same hymn sheet’ – but despite their diverse political backgrounds, it could certainly be applied in the case of Galway city’s two new TDs.

Because Fine Gael’s Deputy Hildegarde Naughten and independent TD Catherine Connolly hold common ground when it comes to a lot of issues relating to Galway city.

For example, in the aftermath of the general election they both agreed that University Hospital Galway should be moved to a greenfield site at Merlin Park. They also articulated this view on the first day of the new Dail last week.

And, separately, they were both in favour of the provision of dedicated bus lanes throughout Galway city with the acceptance that there will be no outer bypass for at least another decade. Deputy Connolly believes that the current proposal is simply “a cul-de-sac” and should never have been progressed.

Left-leaning Independent TD Catherine Connolly and right-leaning Fine Gael TD, Hildegarde Naughton, both believe UHG is at saturation point and are committed to the development of a new public hospital at the larger, more accessible site east of the city.

This, along with the promotion of public transport initiatives to help end traffic chaos in the city, is one of the common policy objectives the two new women TDs share.

They are only the second and third women TDs ever in Galway West, following in the footsteps of former Fianna Fáil minister, Máire Geoghegan Quinn.


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Galway West

Fianna Fail attempts to woo Grealish again



Deputy Noel Grealish looking pensive at the start of the new Dail.

Pressure is mounting on Galway West TD Noel Grealish to join Fianna Fail as the party attempts to be part of the next government.

The Fianna Fail organisation in the constituency are now convinced that Grealish may provide the party with the answer to winning a second seat in Galway West. And the organisation are disappointed that veteran TD Eamon O Cuiv has not delivered a second seat in the last two general elections.  If Fianna Fail assume power, it is very unlikely that the Cornamona man will have a place at the front bench.

The party organisation in Galway West are now anxious that Grealish becomes part of their fabric and particularly as he is a proven vote-winner.

Grealish is part of an unofficial grouping in the Dail who are currently engaged with the two major parties with a view to forming a minority government.

The fact that the Carnmore man has been a TD since 2002, it is likely that he could be part of the front bench in the next government if he agrees to become part of the support that Fianna Fail require.

It was revealed last week that he had been approached by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to join up but he was not to be drawn on the issue.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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