The Government has vowed to consign the city’s housing waiting list to history within six years, with a targeted multi-million Euro investment package in new social housing.
As many as 1,000 new social houses will be built in Galway City between now and 2020, as the Coalition promises to clear the housing waiting list.
The housing list currently stands at about 4,000 households in the city and will be eradicated, the Government says, through this new-build programme and other measures.
The Labour Party is driving the initiative, which will result in at least 35,000 new social houses being built across the country over six years.
The party’s Galway West TD, Derek Nolan said the strategy has several planks. It will kick-start the construction industry, which is currently dormant; it will increase supply of housing, and so reduce demand for rented accommodation and help to reduce rents; and it will provide housing for the needy who will never be in a position to afford their own home.
Deputy Nolan said the announcement signalled the “biggest ever investment in social housing in the history of the State”.
The previous Government, when the economy collapsed, ceased all state construction of housing, he said.
“We are tearing up the Fianna Fáil policy on social housing, we’re total reversing their policy and going back to what works. And what works is social housing and building more social houses,” he said.
Some €3.8 billion will be available for the social housing project and it is up to each local authority to apply for their share. It will be funded by the exchequer and through loans from the European Investment Bank.
Deputy Nolan said the initiative had been ‘flagged’ with the City Council five months ago. He said since then Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has been identifying land in the city for new social housing and preparing the groundwork so that building can start as soon as possible.
“The plan is that 35,000 new social houses will be delivered by 2020 and the housing needs of 75,000 households will be met through the rented sector meaning that everyone on the housing list should be accommodated by 2020. It is up to each local authority to apply for funding but Galway City should be in line for at least 1,000, if not more, new social housing units. I will be pushing for at least 1,000 for the city,” said Deputy Nolan.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip
He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.
The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.
But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.
“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.
“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis
As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.
An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.
UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.
This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.
On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.
Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.
There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.
Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.
“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.
“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.
Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots
Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.
But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.
His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in TheJournal.ie – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.
He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.
Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.
The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.
“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.
Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie