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Busiest year in almost four decades for Samaritans

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Galway Samaritans responded to more than 1,000 cries for help every week in the past year.

The charity said that it has experienced its busiest year ever since it first opened 39 years ago, answering 56,525 calls in Galway over the last twelve months.

The issues which people contact Samaritans about have remained consistent over the last number of years including family and relationship problems; financial worries; depression and mental health problems; loneliness; and stress and anxiety all of which can lead to suicidal thoughts and outcomes.

Details of the increase in use of Samaritans service were revealed in the 2014-2015 Impact Report covering Samaritans’ work in Ireland, which was launched this week.

According to the report, over 653,161 calls for help were answered by Samaritans volunteers across Ireland in the last year.

Calls to Samaritans have increased by 60% since Samaritans launched a free to caller number (116 123) in March 2014.

A partnership between Samaritans, the telecommunications industry, Government and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) has made it possible to call Samaritans at no cost to the caller.

William Brown, Director of Galway Samaritans said: “The increase in calls shows that many people in Ireland are struggling to cope and need a place to turn for support. Removing the barrier of cost has made it easier for people to access support as they no longer have to worry about call charges.

“It is important that people know that they can talk to us at any time of the day or night about whatever is getting to them. We are here for anyone who needs to talk. It doesn’t matter what kind of problem our callers have, however big or small it may seem compared to the problems other people have.”

The Samaritans are gearing up for a busy Christmas and New Year period, he said.

“We know that many people find the Christmas period hard. Problems don’t go away just because it’s Christmas, so if you’re finding it hard to look forward to the festive season, we’re here for you. If it’s too difficult to open up to friends or family, or you feel you have no one who will listen, talk to us. We’ll keep whatever you say safe, we won’t judge and we’ll help you find a way through,” added Mr Brown.

Samaritans Galway has temporarily re-located to 12 Dock Street, Galway, while its home at No 14 Nun’s Island is under renovation. The organisation will be moving back to its renovated branch in 2016, a year it will celebrate 40 years serving Galway City and County.

Samaritans of Galway is run entirely by volunteers and relies heavily on public donations to maintain the service. Anyone who wants to help or make a donation can do so by post to Galway Samaritans, 12 Dock Street, Galway.

Samaritans volunteers will be there round the clock for anyone who feels they need to talk, in confidence, about whatever’s getting to them – on Christmas Day, Stephen’s Day, New Year’s Day, and every other day of the year.

For emotional support, Freephone 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or call in to the branch at 12 Dock Street from 9am to 6pm to talk to a Samaritan Listener, in person.

CITY TRIBUNE

Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport

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From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

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

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