Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Country’s first Traveller Mayor backs housing rules

Published

on

The first Mayor in Ireland to come from the Travelling community has stated that anyone who refuses accommodation because of preconditions should be booted off the housing list.

And former Mayor of Tuam, Martin Ward, made it clear that he was referring to both Travellers and members of the settled community.

His reaction follows Presidential candidate Peter Casey’s comments on the Travelling community – and particularly in relation to the situation in Thurles when he claimed that Travellers had refused houses because there was no stables attached.

However, Martin Ward believes that the former ‘Dragon’ was mis-informed about this situation and that the Travellers concerned were quite happy with their existing accommodation.

He has also issued an open invitation to Peter Casey to visit Brú Bríde, the Western Traveller and Intercultural Development Association in Tuam, to see first-hand the work they do in training and development.

The Tuam Traveller representative said that while he believes that Mr Casey was being mischievous and attention-seeking, he did agree that anyone who refused a home should be removed from the housing list immediately.

“I don’t believe that anybody is entitled to put preconditions in place before accepting a house. They should be damn glad to get one.

“But if someone does refuse a house, Traveller or settled, because certain requirements have not been met, then that is not acceptable and they should be taken off the housing list for good,” Mr Ward added.

He said that if Mr Casey wanted an insight into the supports and courses that Travellers participate in, he was welcome to visit the Tuam centre to meet both the supervisors and the participants.

“We cater for both Traveller and settled members of the community where they integrate in a very positive and friendly atmosphere. Many of our participants are now in gainful employment.

“So it was wrong for him to give the impression that all Travellers are in receipt of social welfare but I am very strong when it comes to the allocation of houses and particularly in relation people refusing them and waiting for a better option to come along,” Mr Ward added.

Works are currently progressing on an €8 million redevelopment of Gilmartin Road in Tuam which had been mainly occupied by members of the Travelling community.

But when the 40 new houses are completed, it is the intention of Galway County Council to have more of a mix of residents.

Connacht Tribune

Unauthorised developments in County Galway go unchecked for months

Published

on

The Planning Enforcement Section of Galway County Council is so understaffed that complaints of unauthorised developments are not being investigated for months, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

In one case, a complaint alleging a house was under construction in a picturesque and environmentally sensitive part of Conamara without planning permission was not investigated by the Council for at least six months.

And it can be revealed that there is a ‘large’ backlog of complaints of unauthorised developments in the county, which the Planning Enforcement Section at County Hall has blamed on staff shortages, according to correspondence obtained by the Connacht Tribune under Freedom of Information (FOI).

In response to repeated requests by a concerned member of the public to intervene and investigate an allegation of unauthorised development in an environmentally protected area of Conamara, the Council’s Planning Department indicated it was too stretched.

“Unfortunately, the planning enforcement section is experiencing a period of prolonged staff shortages and consequently there are a large number of files awaiting investigation/review,” it said.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Access Centre provides pathways to University of Galway for the disadvantaged

Published

on

Photo of Imelda Byrne

Great leaps have been made in recent years to make access to tertiary level education a realistic prospect for once marginalised groups in society.

With the deadline for CAO applications approaching next week, the Access Centre at the University of Galway is aiming to reach as many underrepresented groups as possible ahead of next academic term.

Head of the Access Centre, Imelda Byrne (pictured), said research has shown that those who once felt third level ‘wasn’t for them’ are increasing their presence at UG, and bringing a richness to the sector that had for a long time been missing.

In the five years up to 2021, there was a 100% increase in the number of students registering for the Disability Support Service at the university, while those coming from Further Education and Training courses in institutes like GTI had surged by 211% over four years.

“The message that we really need to get out there is that the CAO is not the only route into third level. There are a number of pathways,” says Imelda.

“There are loads of places set aside for students coming from a place of disadvantage,” she continues, whether it’s national schemes such as the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) for socio-economic disadvantage; or the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE); or the university’s own programme for mature students.

Those places are there to ensure those from all backgrounds get an opportunity to reach their education potential, tapping into hugely talented groups that once may have missed that opportunity.

“What we have seen is that when they get that opportunity, they do just as well if not better than other students,” continues Imelda.

For HEAR and DARE scheme applicants, and for those hoping to begin higher education as a mature student, next Wednesday’s CAO deadline is critically important.

But beyond the CAO applications, the Access Programme will open up in March to guide prospective students, whatever challenges they are facing, into third level.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council ‘missing out on millions’ in derelict sites levies

Published

on

Photo of Cloonabinnia House

Galway County Council is missing out on millions of euro in untapped revenue due to a failure to compile a complete Derelict Sites Register.

That’s according to Galway East Sinn Féin representative, Louis O’Hara, who this week blasted the news that just three properties across the whole county are currently listed on the register.

As a result, Mr O’Hara said the Derelict Sites Levy was not being utilised effectively as countless crumbling properties remained unregistered – the levy amounts to 7% of the market value of the derelict property annually.

The former general election candidate said Galway County Council was ill-equipped to compile a proper list of derelict sites and called on Government to provide the necessary resources to tackle the scourge of dereliction across.

“There are still only three properties listed on Galway County Council’s Derelict Sites Register . . . anyone in Galway knows that this does not reflect the reality on the ground and more must be done to identify properties, and penalise owners who fail to maintain them,” said Mr O’Hara.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the Council failed to collect any of the levies due to them in 2021.

“This is deeply concerning when we know that dereliction is a blight on our communities. Derelict sites attract rats, anti-social behaviour and dumping, and are an eyesore in many of our local towns and villages.”

“The Derelict Sites Levy should be used as a tool by local authorities to raise revenue that can then be utilised to tackle dereliction, but they are not adequately resourced to identify and pursue these property owners,” said Mr O’Hara.

(Photo: The former Cloonabinnia House Hotel is on the Derelict Sites Register).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending