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CITY TRIBUNE

GAA players coming together to help out the homeless in Galway

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A homeless man sleeping rough in a doorway on Shop Street this week. Roscommon hurler Alan Moore is organising the ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’ sleep-out in Galway City on December 16 to highlight the homelessness crisis.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

FORMER and present GAA players from around the country, who have come together to form a group called ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’, are to take part in a mass ‘sleep-out’ at various locations around the country, including Galway, in a bid to highlight the homelessness crisis.

As it stands, over 250 GAA players have signed up to the ‘sleep-out’ on Saturday, December 16 in 11 locations across Ireland – along with New York – and it is hoped even more will come on board in the coming week or so, particularly in the West of Ireland.

To the fore in organising the event in Galway is Roscommon hurler, Alan Moore, who is a member of a steering committee that also includes Dublin’s Michael Dara McAuley and Eamon Fennell, Wexford’s Diarmuid Lyng and Tipperary quartet Brendan Maher, Patrick Bonner Maher, Seamus Hennessy and Timmy Hammersley, the latter a former GAA coach at newly crowned county champions, Liam Mellows.

Supported not only by the GPA, the social action group has also the backing of the Women’s GPA and so a number of camogie players and ladies’ footballers have also pledged their support. Among them are Dublin’s Sinead Finnegan, Cork’s Valerie Mulcahy, Tyrone’s Gemma Begley and Clare’s Chloe Morey.

As noted, in Galway, Moore is heading up the initiative. Along with his Roscommon team-mates – and Roscommon footballer Niall Kilroy – they will be joined by former Portumna player and new Roscommon hurling boss, Ciaran Comerford and Portumna goalkeeper Joe Keane, who in 2018, will be lining out for the Christy Ring Cup side.

Moore, though, hoped other former and current inter-county players based in Galway – be it whatever county they are from – would come along and he encouraged them to sign up to the venture which has been in the planning since last September.

“Basically, the GPA (Gaelic Players Association) called a meeting and it was kind of like a call out to players to see if they wanted to be community leaders. From that, a steering group came out of it and myself and Pat Nolan (Roscommon hurler) were involved in that.

“So, we looked at the social charity side of things first to see if there was anything that was affecting our communities at home or, generally, anything impacting on our society that we wanted to help with. We brainstormed and from that the majority around the table decided on homelessness. So, we said we would look at that for this year,” he explained.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service

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The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Park fun to mark Africa Day

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Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’

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At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon

BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON

A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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