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From pain ridden to art of healing

Judy Murphy



Ronah Corcoran, Dolores Andrew Gavin, Ruth Baguskas, Andrew Marmion in relaxation mode at the Amara Yoga and Wellbeing Hub. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets Ronah Corcoran, the woman behind a new yoga and wellbeing hub

Watching Ronah Corcoran nimbly bound up and down on yoga mats and cushions on the floor of her new wellness centre in the City’s Westside Enterprise Park, it’s difficult to believe that she once suffered from back pain so badly that she had to be taken by ambulance from her home because she couldn’t move.

A ten-year back problem was the reason that Ronah turned to complementary medicine after conventional methods, including muscle-relaxing drugs and physiotherapy failed to solve the underlying cause of a condition that had left her debilitated for a decade.

Reiki was the specific treatment that worked for her when it uncovered an emotional issue that needed to be addressed, she says.

Other factors in her life at the time were causing stress, and stress is a major factor in back problems but in Ronah’s case, there were more deep-rooted causes.

“It sounds corny but it worked,” is her claim for the Reiki.

Now, this woman, who has made Galway her home for more than 10 years after a lifetime spent abroad, is eager to share her knowledge via a new centre, the Amara Yoga and Wellbeing Hub, which opened just over a month ago in the Fiontarlann at Westside, just behind Dunnes Stores.

One of her aims is to help improve people’s mental health by offering a variety of therapies and workshops at affordable prices as she comes from a social services background, working with children and adults in crisis.

Ronah had always wanted to work in social care, she recalls; an early memory is of wanting to go to Africa to help the poor.

That desire may have stemmed from her own past, which sounds fascinating and also difficult.

Born outside of marriage, she was adopted as a child and lived in Dublin for her early years until the family moved abroad in 1978, to her mother’s homeland of Germany so that her father, the well-known composer Frank Corcoran, could take up a position in Hamburg – work for modern composers wasn’t exactly plentiful in Ireland at the time.

After some years there, they moved to America and then to Italy, where, as a young adult, Ronah based herself for almost a decade.

Constant travelling might sound exotic, but it made difficult for her to put down roots. In addition, her mother suffered from mental illness. And Ronah’s twin brother died when she was 15, although she says the loss was tempered by the fact that she was away at boarding school at the time.

All in all, it was an event-filled youth and when she eventually decided to attend UCD in her 20s after spending time working in restaurants and bars in Italy, she opted to study Psychology and Sociology. After graduating in 2000 she was employed by the HSE in Dublin, working with children in care, a job she loved but which was incredibly challenging, she says.

In her 20s, Ronah had begun to suffer back problems, which began with a slipped disc and became progressively worse.

She was on a lot of painkillers, she says, but not very successfully and so she began exploring other therapies.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Galway City Council turns down Mad Yolk Farm site

Dara Bradley



An application to retain farming-related development on a site in Roscam has been turned down by Galway City Council.

The local authority has refused to grant retention permission to applicant Brian Dilleen for subsurface piping to be used for agricultural irrigation at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ on Rosshill Road.

It also refused permission for the retention of a bore-hole well, water pump and concrete plinth; and two water holding tanks for 6,500 litres; and other associated site works.

In its written decision, the Planning Department at City Hall said: “The proposed development, would if permitted, facilitate the use of the site for the provision of sixty 15.5m high seed beds, which have been deemed by the planning authority not to be exempted development.

“Therefore a grant of permission for the proposed development would facilitate the unauthorised development and usage on the site, contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The site has been the subject of enforcement action by the local authority.

A lengthy Appropriate Assessment Screening report, submitted with the planning application, concluded “beyond reasonable scientific doubt, in view of the best scientific knowledge, on the basis of objective information and in light of the conservation objectives of the relevant European sites, that the proposed retention and development, individually or in combination with other plans and projects, has not and will not have a significant effect on any European site”.

A borehole Impact Assessment Report concluded that the proposed retention development “on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer is considered negligible”.

It said that there was “no potential for significant effects on water quality, groundwater dependent habitats or species associated with any European site”.

Six objections were lodged by neighbours, including one from the Roshill/Roscam Residents Association, which argued the Further Information submitted by the applicant did “little to allay our concerns” about the impact of the development on an “extremely sensitive site”.

The applicant has until June 29 to appeal the decision to An Bórd Pleanála.

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NUIG student accommodation firm records loss

Enda Cunningham



The property company which operates student accommodation on behalf of NUI Galway recorded a €3.4 million increase in turnover in 2019.

However, Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company), which is owned by the university, recorded a loss for the year of €6,300.

Accounts for the company for the year ended August 31, 2019, show that while there was a loss, retained profits are at more than €1.6 million. The accounts are the most up to date available from the Companies Registration Office.

The previous year, the company made a profit of more than €460,000.

Atalia Student Residences operates the 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex and the 429-bed Goldcrest Village.

The figures show that the company’s overall turnover jumped by 52% – from €6.4m to €9.8m.

Turnover for accommodation services was up from €5.2m to €8.4m; and from conferences and events was up from €850,000 to €1.1m. Turnover from shops was down from almost €328,000 to €290,000.

Outside of the academic year, both complexes are used as accommodation for conference delegates, while Corrib Village is also used for short-term holiday lets.

The accounts show fixed assets – including fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery and office equipment – valued at €1.5m. Its current assets were valued at more than €7m, including ‘cash at bank and in hand’ of almost €6.9m (up from €5.6m last year).

The company owed creditors €6.9m, including €5.2m in deferred income.

It employed 38 people (which includes its five directors) last year, up from 31 the previous year.

As well as operating the student accommodation complexes, the company also markets conference facilities and services on behalf of the university.

It pays rent to NUIG but the figure is not included in the company accounts. In 2018, the rent figure was just over €2.25m.

In Corrib Village, a single bedroom with a private en suite for the academic year costs €5,950. For Goldcrest Village, the figure is €6,760.

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Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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