The slipway at the Docks – which provides access to Galway Bay for recreational boat users – has been closed by the Harbour Company in the wake of the Buncrana tragedy.
Sailing clubs which use the slipway were told by the Harbour Company last Thursday morning, that they no longer have open access – just as the water sport season is set to begin.
The slipway has been locked, and can only be used with the permission of the Harbour Company between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or on Saturdays by appointment, to avoid any “risk to life”.
The decision has been branded “ridiculous” by one club member who uses the slipway.
“What happened in Buncrana was a terrible tragedy, but there should have been a more measured response and consultation with the clubs. We all have insurance in place, and people are trained in how to launch and recover boats.
“We’re coming into the prime water sport season. It’s ridiculous, nobody ever thought about the impact this would have on the clubs.
“We don’t want to lose momentum at the start of the season – last year was rotten and you couldn’t go out on the water,” one club member told the Galway City Tribune.
Clubs including Galway Sub Aqua Club, Galway City Sailing Club, Galway Sea Scouts, Bádóirí an Cladaig, Galway Kayak Club and NUIG Sailing Club regularly use the slipway, as well as other pleasure craft users.
Eamon Bradshaw, CEO of the Harbour Company, said the morning after the Buncrana tragedy, he instructed the Harbour Master to close the slipway.
“The issue I have is one of life and death. It’s pretty steep, it’s remote and it goes down into deep water. I just could not take that risk of anybody being in danger. The repercussions would be too severe.
“We are acutely aware that Galway should have a slipway and the facility should be made available and we’re trying to find a solution. If anyone wants to come to me with a solution, I’d be delighted to hear it.
“For the first week after we closed it, we gave the code to specific people – within a matter of hours, everybody had the combination, and other people didn’t bother closing it after them.
“Until such time as we can formulate a solution where the danger is taken out, or regulated, or we can involve the local authority, it will be closed. I’m not prepared to risk human life.
“If anybody wants to use it, they can come to the Harbour Company from 9 to 5 or make arrangements with a member of staff for a Saturday,” said Mr Bradshaw.
Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.
Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.
The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.
As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.
Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow: collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.
In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.
As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.
Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.
Park fun to mark Africa Day
On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.
Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.
Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.
Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.
Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.
In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.
Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.
The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.
Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.
Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’
BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON
A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.
Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.
The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.
The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.
Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.
“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.
“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.
“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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