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€1.2m funding boost for new Galway women’s refuge



Funding boost for Galway women's refuge

Minister of State for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan has announced that COPE Galway will receive €1.16m capital funding aid towards the provision of a new domestic violence refuge in the former Magdalen Laundry building on Forster Street.

COPE Galway announced the donation of the property by the Sisters of Mercy Western Province in 2013. Since then the focus has been to secure the necessary funding to deliver on this project which it is estimated will cost in the region of €2.5m in total.

Welcoming the announcement as excellent news for Galway, Jacquie Horan, CEO of COPE Galway said: “There has long been a need for a new refuge in Galway to accommodate women and children fleeing their homes because of domestic violence.

“Today’s announcement of €1.16m capital funding from the Dept of Environment is a major step on the road to ensure there is a fit for purpose domestic violence refuge for the city and county.”

Violence against women is pervasive and extensive across the EU states according to a survey carried out by the EU Fundamental rights agency in 2012.  26% of Irish women have experienced physical and /or sexual violence by a partner or non partner.

Organisations working with survivors point to low levels of disclosure by Irish women, a societal resistance to speak out about violence, and a poor response to victims in desperate need of practical, physical and emotional supports.

This funding is a strong endorsement of the need to improve our response locally, says Ms Horan.  “When women take that very brave step to leave their home with their children and to seek refuge it is only right and fitting that the accommodation they avail of is of the highest standard, and space is available when they come to our door.”

The existing refuge at Waterside House, which comprises of six bedsit type accommodation units and can accommodate up to six women and 15 children at a time, has been in operation since 1981.

In 2013 the refuge accommodated 94 women with 104 children but there were a further 215 presentations of women with 359 children who it was not possible to accommodate due to lack of space.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune


Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!



Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.

Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.

Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.

The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.

Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.

“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.

*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune 

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Connacht Tribune

Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison



A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.

The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.

A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.

At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.

They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.

Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.

The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.

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