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Fundraiser for ex-Garda paralysed after freak fall

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A Galway man who was involved in a tragic accident that left him paralysed has been made feel like a “bed-blocker” according to his family.

John Conneely, a 59 year old, retired Garda Sergeant from Salthill had been holidaying with his partner in Amsterdam when he felt unwell during dinner.

When he went outside to get some air, he passed out and fell down a series of steep granite stairs, breaking his neck and caused severe spinal cord damage.

After ten hours in the operating theatre, surgeons managed to save his life – but sadly it left him in a quadriplegic state.

After spending some months in hospital in the Netherlands, John was medevaced back to Ireland where he several weeks at the Mater Hospital and from there was transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire where he is currently located.

Unfortunately this is only a temporary solution for John and he has already been told he will soon need to make provisions for finding alternative care.

His family have been forced to launch a fundraising to campaign to try to meet the growing costs of such care, given that that assistance from the state will fall far short of what John needs in order to have a minimum quality of life.

Speaking of the problem, John’s brother Jarlath stated, “There is a big issue there at the moment Dun Laoghaire – they want him out but they cannot offer him any place that will meet his needs. He needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week care, and sometimes there needs to be two people with him.”

“He is basically in the terminology of the bureaucrats a ‘bed-blocker,’ but he can’t go because has nowhere to go,” added his brother.

John currently resides in a three bedroom two storey house but given the unsuitability of the building he is been forced to sell his home.

He is looking to purchase a more suitable bungalow house that can be modified to suit his needs but once again this is serious financial drain on both John and his family.

“He feels terrible, on top of all his woes he really feels rotten about the situation he’s in because this has been put to him that he’s a bed ‘block-blocker’. He has been incredibly resilient and he’s an amazing fella and he was always turns the best side out when we are up with him in Dublin,” said Jarlath.

John had only retired from the Gardaí two years ago where he was a member of Garda Sub-Aqua Unit. Before the accident he was described as a very active man. “He was such a fit man. This guy loved life and loved swimming, walking and going to the gym,” his brother told the Connacht Tribune.

John has two children Jennie and Peter and one grandchild called Erin who are all said to be “absolutely devastated” following the heart-breaking incident.

His family have launched the “Jogging for John” campaign which aims to bridge the gap between the government funding and the actual financial costs of ensuring John has a reasonable standard of life. Family and friends of will partake in the Galway Bay 10K run to be held on October 1.

Thus far there have been donations bordering on €18,000 but they are hoping to raise in excess of €50,000. To donate to this fundraiser please do so at- https://www.fundandseek.com/joggingforjohn

CITY TRIBUNE

‘Horrific’ conditions at ‘temporary’ halting site

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Mould and damp around the shower, toilet and sink area in one of the units at the Carrowbrowne temporary halting site beside the Headford Road.
Mould and damp around the shower, toilet and sink area in one of the units at the Carrowbrowne temporary halting site beside the Headford Road. [File pic]

Living conditions at Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site on the Headford Road are “truly dreadful” and “distressing”, according to four University of Galway academics.

The quartet, who visited the halting site earlier this month, called on the authorities to provide “decent and culturally appropriate accommodation” for the 13 families living at the ‘temporary’ site, “as a matter of urgency”.

The call comes in the same week a former city mayor was sharply criticised for promoting ‘anti-Traveller rhetoric’.

Galway Traveller Movement urged Fianna Fáil to suspend City Councillor Michael John Crowe, pending a full investigation into comments he made in a press statement issued on Monday and repeated on local radio, about Galway City Council buying a house in Renmore for Traveller accommodation.

As that controversy raged on social media this week, Dr John Cunningham, Director of MA History, University of Galway, said he was shocked by the “scandalous” conditions he saw at Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site.

“I was at an event on campus earlier this year where President Michael D (Higgins) gave a speech and specifically denounced conditions in Carrowbrowne and he would know some of the families, who lived in the Westside area.

“So, I was aware of the circumstances but faced with the actual reality of it was just utterly shocking,” Dr Cunningham told the Galway City Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Kissing goodbye to hated gates under pilot project

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It was agreed to start the project with the gates in the Claddagh and Terryland Forest Park.

Kissing gates at South Park and Terryland Forest Park will be removed in a pilot project to assess their impact on public spaces.

Galway City Council has agreed to trial the removal or replacement of kissing gates in the city on a case-by-case basis while waiting for the completion of an audit that will be used to develop a policy on the controversial barriers at Wednesday’s Recreation and Amenity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) meeting.

The follows anger among the cycling community that the one in South Park had been removed to facilitate a private company fun run only to be returned days later as reported in last week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway City East Councillor Owen Hanley, who attended the meeting, said it is still to be decided what barriers would be erected in their place and it would depend on the needs of the location.

“Previously I worked with Council staff on the Terryland Forest Park kissing gate along the cyclebus route and we agreed to use chicanes to slow but not stop users,” he revealed.

“Whatever goes in will allow cyclists and wheelchair users to pass. We have been given no timelines but it will be in the short-term and I will be following up on this.”

He said the Council has been discussing how to handle kissing gates since he was elected as a Social Democrat over three years ago.

“The rare instances where mopeds or motorbikes damage our green spaces does not justify the widespread use of kissing gates, in fact many times, kissing gates don’t even stop this behaviour. Kissing gates present a very real barrier to people who use wheelchairs or buggies, or cycle, preventing them for accessing public parks as well as routes to work and school.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Abuse and violence towards LGBT+ people is ‘massively under-reported’

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Fiona McDonagh-Delaney, Project Co-ordinator and Tiernan Arnup, Administration and Communications, Amach LGBT+, Westside Recource Centre. PHOTO: BRIAN HARDING.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) people in Galway continue to suffer verbal abuse, violence, and threats of violence while socialising in the city, according to advocates.

Amach, which supports the local LGBT+ community, said that homophobia and hate crimes persist despite recent legislative gains and societal change in Ireland in recent years.

A new report by An Garda Síochána highlighted that just 17 ‘hate-related incidents’ were recorded in the Galway Garda Division in 2021.

That includes hate crimes and hate-related, non-crime incidents recorded across nine discriminatory motives including age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.

But Fiona McDonagh-Delaney, project co-coordinator at Amach in the Westside Community Centre, said it was an “incredibly low figure”, that showed “massive under-reporting”.

LGBT+ Ireland reported a four-fold increase in calls to its helpline last year of people experiencing hate crime, based on their LGBT+ status, she said.

Ms McDonagh-Delaney said that was the reality on Galway’s streets too, even if the official Garda figures did not reflect that.

She said there was a “sense of normalisation” of threats of violence and violence itself, based on LGBT+ status. This had become “commonplace” in Galway and LGBT+ people avoided certain areas at weekends because of it.

“We’d know ourselves that on a Friday and Saturday night, you don’t go up around Eyre Square on a night out. You know what areas to avoid because you know you are at high risk of experiencing some form of abuse. Whether it’s verbal abuse, the threat of violence or actual violence,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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