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Connacht Tribune

Country’s first Traveller Mayor backs housing rules

Declan Tierney

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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

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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