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Analysis shows parts of county are still struggling to recover



Some parts of Galway are recovering from the economic crash much more slowly than others.

Because the numbers out of work are still more than double what they were before the crash in four of the six areas into which the county is split for the purposes of Live Register statistics.

Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish has revealed details of an analysis of Galway unemployment which show that the Gort and Loughrea social welfare districts have been the slowest to recover.

He said that the Clifden area, covering a large part of Connemara, had seen unemployment come back to a level of 38% above the 2006 figures.

And in Galway City, the numbers on the Live Register today are 65% above what they were at the peak of the boom.

But the performance of these two districts contrasted sharply with Gort, where unemployment is at more than two and a quarter times the 2006 level, or 128% more.

Struggling almost as much is the area of the county to the north of that, served by the Loughrea Social Welfare Office, where numbers ‘signing on’ are still 121% over the figures nine years ago.

Next in line is Ballinasloe, at 117% above the figures registered as being out of work before the economic slide sent jobless totals sky-rocketing, closely followed by Tuam at 116% above.

“It all goes to show that while employment levels have generally risen around the county, there is no room for complacency in terms of maintaining current jobs and attracting new investment to the city and county,” said Deputy Grealish.

“While every Social Welfare Office area in the county has seen a considerable drop in the numbers signing on since their peak four or five years ago — by almost a third on average — most are still way above what they were in the so-called good times.

“And we shouldn’t forget either that at least part of the reason why there are fewer people on the Live Register than five years ago is that so many have been forced to emigrate in search of work in Sydney, Toronto, Boston, London and elsewhere around the world.”

In terms of how well the different areas of the county have recovered since their peak unemployment (in most cases in 2010 or 2011), Gort is also worst off.

The south of the county has seen the numbers on the Live Register drop by 23% since they hit a high of 1,536 in August 2012 — well below the comparable national average reduction of one third, or 33%.

Other parts of the county have fared better since their peaks:

  • Galway City -42% from high of 13,734 in August 2009;
  • Loughrea -42% from August 2010 peak of 2,732;
  • Tuam -36% from August 2010 high of 3,691;
  • Ballinasloe -33% from peak of 2,759 in August 2010;
  • Clifden -32% from high of 1,357 in January 2012.

Galway County as a whole has seen unemployed numbers fall by 36% since its darkest month of August 2010, which those on the Live Register reached 25,389.

Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of people on the Live Register at the end of November in County Galway was 15,714.


Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service



The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.


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Park fun to mark Africa Day



Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’



At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon


A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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