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‘Animals better off’ than asylum seekers, City Council is told



Farm animals are living in better conditions than asylum seekers in Direct Provision in the city, it has been claimed.

Galway City Council has unanimously backed a motion calling for government to disband the “inhumane” Direct Provision centres.

“There are farmers in parts of this country who keep heifers in better facilities than these people are living in,” said Fianna Fáil’s Mike Crowe, who proposed the motion.

The Direct Provision system in Ireland is the scandal of our generation, he said.

“This will be our mini-Magdalen Laundries’ scandal when we look back in 10 or 20 years’ time at how these people are treated,”

Councillor Crowe said there are two Direct Provision centres in Galway – Eglinton Hotel in Salthill and the Great Western off Eyre Square – where asylum seekers are living in “appalling conditions” as they await their asylum applications to be processed.

The Direct Provision system was supposed to be a temporary accommodation but, he said, many are waiting eight or 10 years, during which time they are not allowed to work, and must survive on less than €20 per week. They can’t fend for themselves, because they’re not allowed, and they’re relying on St Vincent de Paul to survive. It is one room per family, and they are cramped.

“It is inhumane . . . it is no life for humans”.

Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal Ó Conchúir agreed that Galway’s Direct Provision establishments were bad but he noted Limerick was worse.

“It’s something like a World War II concentration camp . . . trying to live and rear children in those sort of conditions is unbelievable,” he said of teh Limerick facility.

Cllr Ó Conchúir, a teacher, pointed out that the children of asylum seekers living in Direct Provision are discriminated against – they get free education at primary and secondary level but are charged €20,000 (non-EU fees) if they wish to go to third level.

He said that a wealthy Galway benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has paid for many asylum seekers to go to university but Councillor Ó Conchúir wants this barrier to education removed.

Independent Donal Lyons agreed that the conditions were inhumane but he pointed out that the asylum seekers have a “great regard” for the front-line staff in the Eglington and Great Western.

Sinn Féin’s Mairéad Farrell said that not only are the children living in appalling conditions in these facilities but they are embarrassed about it and are afraid to talk about it when they go to school.

Labour’s Billy Cameron said Direct Provision is “damaging human progress” and generations to come will look back at the treatment of these people as the “Magdalene of our generation”. “It must be a breach of human rights,” he said.

Independent Noel Larkin said he was worried what would happen if Direct Provision did end.

“There are 4,600 households and the hoisting waiting list. If we call on the Government to end this, where will they go – are we asking for them (government) to make a decision to deport them? If we deport them what are they going back to? There are a lot tougher conditions in their own country than what they have living in a hotel in Salthill,” said Councillor Larkin.

Independent Mike Cubbard said that using the word “hotel” makes it sound like they are living in the lap of luxury, but the reality is the complete opposite. Ireland will be sued by asylum seekers in years to come, “and rightly so”, he said.

Concluding the debate, Cllr Crowe pointed out the hypocrisy of lobbying the White House for changes to emigration for the undocumented Irish in America while at the same time ignoring the plight of asylum seekers living in squalor among us in Salthill and Eyre Square.

“I don’t care if you’re black, white or pink or what plane you got off, nobody should be living in those conditions,” he added.

The motion was passed unanimously, and it was agreed to circulate it to other local authorities around the country so that they too would pass similar motions.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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