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Cathriona’s remarkable story of hope

Francis Farragher

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Cathriona Coleman

A YOUNG woman who had a near miracle escape from death after a suicide attempt in the River Corrib two years ago, has spoken to the Connacht Tribune this week about the need to ‘reach out’ when feeling down.

Just over two years ago, as Cathriona Coleman (35) from Knock lay motionless and brain dead in the Intensive Care Unit of University Hospital Galway (UHG), her family were told that she ‘would not make the night’.

On the evening of March 5, 2014, shoving up to 6pm, Caithriona – who had been drinking cans of cheap beer through the day – made the walk down to Claddagh Quay and threw herself into the waters of the Corrib. For her, this was to be the end and it almost was.

At the same time a local fireman, Ciaran Oliver, spotted something in the water through the fading March evening light and initially thought it was a seal. He took a closer look and identified the shape of a body – there seemed little sign of life.

He knew the drill: the emergency services were contacted and a Fire Brigade member performed emergency CPR on Cathriona . Things did not look good through the night and at UHG, there was talk of bereavement counselling and organ donation.

“I had drank that morning. I remember this – I had decided this would be D-day. I had texted my loved ones to say my goodbyes and that would be it,” remembers Cathriona.

Now two years on from her time of abject hopelessness, Cathriona has turned her life around.

She knows that she’s the luckiest woman in the world to be alive, and appreciates every second of it. Only in the days, weeks and months after her horror ordeal did she realise her problems with depression, panic attacks and alcoholism.

“My biggest regret to this day is not having reached out. I felt that mentally I was weak, a mess, no one or anything would have the ability to fix me. I was gone beyond fixing,” she says.

For more on this story, see the Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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