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€3.5m homeless facility in Galway gets approval


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

€3.5m homeless facility in Galway gets approval

From the Galway City Tribune – A €3.5 million homeless services facility is to be developed on the site of the COPE Galway Day Centre on the Seamus Quirke Road.

City councillors approved planning permission for the development which will result in the demolition of the existing Teach Corrib Day Centre facility and the construction of a new two- and three-story building to include a number of services.

In the application before councillors, it was stated that the new facility would take in the existing day centre facilities with additional space for eight one-bed units.

Senior Executive Architect at City Hall, Emmet Humphreys, told councillors that these one-bed units would be utilised as “stepping-stone” accommodation for those experiencing homelessness – providing temporary accommodation in advance of securing rental accommodation.

In what he described as “a pretty innovative approach”, these units could be converted into eight three-bed dormitories for use as part of the city’s emergency cold weather response to homelessness which comes into force each winter to prevent rough sleeping.

Two two-bed units were also approved for development on the site, as were night staff quarters.

One objection to the planning application was received from Enable Ireland, raising concerns about the location of the homeless service directly beside their facility on the Seamus Quirke Road.

“Concerns regarding the location of the homeless service and risks to child safety and welfare, as it would be adjacent to their provision of services to children and parents, including pool sessions.”

Responding to these concerns, the Council stated homeless services have been provided on the same site since 1986.

“The co-location close to the hospital and A&E is a benefit to users of this COPE service. It is further stated that the new facility would have a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week staffing presence and this level of staffing would hope to reduce a number of anti-social issues raised by Enable Ireland,” it wass stated.

A proposal by Cllr Niall McNelis to grant permission by Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab) and seconded by Cllr Imelda Byrne (FF) was unanimously supported by the Council.

Director of Services Brian Barrett said the facility would enable the homeless service providers to expand the supports they offer in the city.

“This is a proposal to improve the infrastructure and improve the facilities, and to enhance the supports provided across a number of agencies . . . to deliver more services to this vulnerable group in society,” said Mr Barrett.

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