A long-serving Labour city councillor said his party’s record on social housing in Government was shameful.
Billy Cameron, a traditional socialist Labour Party member, said “I’m ashamed” that no social housing was built by the coalition government.
Councillor Cameron that “one of my major regrets of (Labour) taking part in Government is that we didn’t get a social housing programme”.
Councillor Cameron said that the party subsequently secured a commitment for a multi-billion-euro housing investment programme and it was now a matter of implementing that blueprint.
He made the comments during a debate on a motion calling on Government to release funds to build new social houses in Galway City, which was defeated.
Just four city councillors – the three from Sinn Féin and Mike Cubbard – backed Independent Collette Connolly, whose motion deplored successive governments for not investing any capital funds for social houses between 2009 and December 2015.
Councillor Connolly also called for the return of land purchased by the local authority and handed over to the State under the land acquisition scheme.
She said it was a “crying shame” that Government was relying totally on private sector to solve the housing crisis.
There are 4,600 households on the city’s housing waiting list, amounting to 15,000 people; and nationally there are some 90,000.
What was needed was a programme to begin development of social houses.
Labour’s Niall McNelis, whose colleague and deputy leader, Environment Minister Alan Kelly is responsible for housing objected and said €28 million had been pledged for social housing.
Independent Declan McDonnell wondered “what planet” Councillor McNelis was living on.
He said the housing shortage was so acute in Galway that it was actually worse than Dublin, proportionate to both cities’ populations.
Even allowing for the new houses that have been promised to be built, the city’s housing waiting list will swell to 6,000 households by 2018, he warned. Councillor McDonnell said there was “no money – not a bob” for the incoming government to spend on housing.
Sinn Féin Councillor Mairéad Farrell said it was an excellent motion and shocking that not a penny was spent on social housing since 2009. Her party colleague Cathal Ó Conchúir said social housing estates were built in the 1950s and 1970s when the country was suffering economically and the current recession shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to invest in a social housing programme now.
Mayor Frank Fahy said he was one of only three Councillors who objected to the transfers of lands some years ago under the land acquisition scheme, and “we’re still paying for it now”.
He said the average worker couldn’t afford the rents in Galway City. “Look at Daft.ie – a three-bed in the city is now €1,200-€1,300. There’s no way you could pay that.”
Director of Services Tom Connell said the Government has given approval for the Council to build 69 new social houses in Knocknacarra.
Councillor Connolly’s motion was defeated by 12 votes to five
US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots
An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.
Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.
The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.
Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”
One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.
“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.
“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”
Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.
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
Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists
The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’
At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.
It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.
Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.
As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.
It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.
Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.
Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star
It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.
On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.
He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.
Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.
“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.
“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.
Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.
But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.
The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.
See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie