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€1m in ocean race debts are written off

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US boat Puma wins the Volvo Ocean Race final In-port Race off Salthill.

The organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race grand finale which arrived in Galway in 2012 have written off debts totalling more than €1 million owed to businesses.
Let’s Do It Global, the company that staged the round-the-world eight-day sailing stopover which finished in the city, has written off debts of €1,055,176.
That’s according to the latest accounts that were filed with the Company Registration Office (CRO), which relate to the financial year to March 31, 2014.
A note accompanying the financial statement said: “During the year the company came to an agreement with its trade creditors to write of the balance due to them as not payable totalling €1,055,176.”
John James Killeen and Eoin Ó Coineen are listed as directors of the company.
The directors’ report notes that the company itself “was not active” in the previous 12 months.
“The principal activity of the group was to facilitate on a non-profit basis the hosting of a stopover festival for the 2011/2012 Volvo round the world yacht race in Galway. The group has also been involved in the running of various other festivals. There has been no significant change in these activities during the year ended March 31, 2014. The directors note the group loss for the year and are considering future options of the company.”
With regard ‘future development’, the directors says the, “company plans to continue its present activities”. According to the financial statements, Lets Do It Global Limited paid some €167,923 in wages and salaries in 2013; but there was no payments for salaries and wages in 2014.
Lets Do It Global, according to the accounts, has 100% share capital in Lets Do It Green Ltd and Event Explorer Ltd.
An independent report found the Volvo Stopover event was worth €60.5 million to the local economy. The state, through Fáilte Ireland paid €4 million to attract the event to Ireland, and invested other monies.
Galway City Council paid some €250,000 to Lets Do It Global, which was to be used in part to provide free entertainment at the docks during the stopover but there were complaints from performers that they weren’t paid.
Lets Do It Global had hoped to secure a Government ‘bailout’, to help pay its creditors, on the basis of the boost the event brought to the local economy.
The taxpayer-funded bailout did not materialise.
The Volvo Race was in Galway in 2009, also. There were plans to attract it to Galway in 2015 but the outstanding debts to creditors scuppered those hopes.

CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Simon reflects on impact of ‘a year like no other’

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Despite concerns that homeless people would die in the pandemic as had happened in other urban centres, Galway Simon managed to ensure there was no outbreak among clients and staff last year – even with an 85 per cent decrease in volunteers.

A year like no other was how CEO Karen Golden summed up 2020 at the launch of their annual report this week.

“How can you follow public health advice to stay at home, when you have no home?” she asked those who logged on for the virtual launch.

The charity helped 646 households in the first year of the lockdown, made up of 192 families with 464 children across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon – similar to numbers in 2019.

Within days of the lockdown, the organisation had appointed a rapid emergency response team to work out how best to protect clients, staff and volunteers. They created spaces for clients who had to cocoon and self-isolate and for all to socially distance, something that was very hard to manage in communal emergency accommodation.

They used baby monitors to oversee some clients so that staff wouldn’t have to put themselves at risk by entering enclosed spaces.

“We found that, with the pressures of the pandemic, some people’s support needs became more complex. But the response across our entire community was extraordinary, as our staff and volunteers worked extremely hard to protect both the physical and mental wellbeing of our clients,” she told the Connacht Tribune.

“We worked very closely with our colleagues in other agencies, including the HSE and Galway City Council, to ensure a comprehensive response to the pandemic for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the west.

“While some major cities across the world saw significant outbreaks of Covid among their homeless populations, thanks to the enormous team effort across our community we had no outbreak within Galway Simon services.”

One client contracted Covid, and one staff member tested positive but there was no cross-transmission within the services.

“Our frontline staff continued to support our clients every single day throughout the pandemic.  For some of our clients, the only person they saw during the lockdowns was their Galway Simon keyworker.”

Staff undertook food shopping and dropped off hampers for those experiencing food poverty and brought people to medical appointments. They helped some with addiction issues to attend AA meetings to continue with sobriety.

With their two charity shops shut, fundraising had to be reimagined in 56 virtual events, raising €1.17 million, down €100,000 on the year before. That year the Galway Simon Community benefited from the work of 450 volunteers – their number dropped to 66 people due to the restrictions and concerns about safety.

Offers from members of the public to volunteer had to be turned down.

This second year of Covid-19 restrictions has already seen a significant rise in demand for services. From January to August, Galway Simon have supported 669 households, a 28% increase compared to the same period last year. The biggest increase has been across their Homelessness Prevention Services which has had a 32% increase.

“We are very concerned about the winter months ahead. With the lifting of the moratorium on evictions and other supports, and the homelessness crisis and Covid very much still with us, we anticipate that the numbers coming to us for help will continue to increase.”

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