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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Rape Crisis Centre plans move to new building

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A computer-generated image of how the new centre at the Claddagh will look.

A visitor to the Galway Rape Crisis Centre once remarked to its Executive Director, Cathy Connolly, that he didn’t like its location, tucked away in a corner of the Forster Court estate.

The well-known Galway sportsman, who was helping the charity with a project, felt it was ‘like you’re hiding away’.

Ms Connolly, while very grateful to COPE Galway for allowing GRCC to base itself there for the past seven-plus years, understood what he meant.

“It all ties in with the shame and the guilt around sexual violence,” she said, while chatting from a physical distance at the Centre.

But the Centre will be moving to a much more public and prominent position in Galway City, conditional on planning permission being granted by Galway City Council in July.

It’s a homecoming of sorts because the Galway Rape Crisis Centre is returning to its roots at Claddagh Quay, overlooking the Claddagh Basin opposite Long Walk.

The organisation has lodged a planning application to knock and rebuild a three-bedroom house it owns beside the Fire Station and Judo Club on the western side of the quay, which it outgrew before moving to Forster Court.

“We can’t pretend it’s (sexual violence) not happening but we are very conscious of people’s privacy,” said Ms Connolly when asked about the increased visibility of the planned new purpose-built centre for clients and 30-strong staff, including counsellors.

“Our core service is counselling victims or survivors of rape and sexual violence and abuse. There’ll be no problem with privacy. No big sign outside, clients will be let in discreetly; there’ll be a side-entrance if anyone wants to use it, and we wouldn’t let people out if they’re upset anyway. We had 4,000 appointments last year; they’re not coming in throngs, we can spread it out over five days,” she said.

GRCC was founded in 1984 by a group of Galway women concerned about the lack of services for survivors of sexual abuse and rape.

It was initially based at Mary Street, and subsequently Claddagh, and now its current base adjacent to the former Magdalen Laundry building.

“COPE has very kindly let us stay here for as long as we need to. We’re very grateful for the support and we’re looking forward to moving because they need the building. We are here until we have our new home built,” said Ms Connolly.

The project will cost about €1.3 million and GRCC already has a head-start.

“We have about €250,000 or €300,000 of it from Lifes2good Foundation, James and Maria Murphy, who founded it, and their CEO Maurice McQuillan, from Athenry, have been very good to us. We basically have to fundraise €1 million plus. It really is the people of Galway who we’ll be relying on,” she said.

Mark Flanagan, MD of the electrical and mechanical engineering Kirby Group, will supply services without charge when building starts.

Eugene Mulcaire and Owen Coughlan of urbanARQ Architects have designed the new three-storey building, also free of charge. “It’s sympathetic to the surroundings,” said Ms Connolly.

“The building is needed to house the service. We own the site. We’re knocking the building and trying to build a brand-new purpose-built building to house a counselling service. We operate regular hours, we’re quiet, it won’t put anybody out, it’s respectful of the neighbourhood. We’re just putting a better building in,” she said.

GRCC is the second busiest in the country after Dublin, and supports survivors from all over Galway, as well as North Clare and South Roscommon. It has outreach services in Ballinasloe, Oughterard and Gort.

“We’re spreading our tentacles but we want a home base,” she said. “I think a fresh, clean, bright purpose-built place where counsellors could make it our own would be good for survivors. It’s there forever then, belonging to the people of Galway.”

Ms Connolly, who has already contacted Claddagh residents and shared the plans with neighbours, said the beautiful setting would be uplifting for clients.

“We deal a lot with historical abuse. I was on the radio one day and this man came to the door afterwards and said ‘I heard you on the radio, it’s taken me fifty-something years to get the courage to come in’. He had been abused as a young lad. A lot of the historical abuse is people my age, who didn’t deal with it and it’s taken forty or fifty years to come in and they’re getting counselling.

“All they’re doing is coming in to talk; it’s nothing that anyone should be afraid of. We’re run as a professional service and we want a professional purpose-built building that really suits the clients.

“These are sons and daughters of Galway people – they’re not from out of space, they’re people’s brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grannies, mums and dads,” she added.

CITY TRIBUNE

City Council’s contempt for the public it serves

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A City Council picture showing an aerial view of work on the new pedestrian bridge. The local authority has not covered itself in glory when it comes to informing the public about road closures to facilitate the project.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway City Council appears to just do what it wants when it wants.

Last Friday, it officially closed a road at Newtownsmyth. It will be closed until October 28.

The closure, which was to commence last Friday, September 23, was to facilitate construction works on the new bridge at Salmon Weir for pedestrians and cycling.

It is essential work and the closure is necessary for health and safety purposes.

The City Council, as is only right and proper, advertised the closure in advance, online and in a free-sheet newspaper. So far, so good.

Except, as anyone who knows Newtownsmyth is aware, that road has been closed for weeks and even months prior to the September 23 official closure start date.

Trying to find the City Council’s closure order, and public notice, for closing the road at Newtownsmyth prior to September 23 has proved as difficult as sourcing the Third secret of Fatima.

Requests to City Hall’s communications department to confirm whether the Council had a legitimate closure order prior to September 23 have not shone any light on the subject.

And so, in the absence of an adequate response, is it reasonable to conclude that the Council did not have permission to close Newtownsmyth prior to September 23?

And if that’s the case, can the Council now just go around closing roads willy-nilly, without notice and without allowing input from residents and users of the road?

Maybe it was a mistake. If it was, why not say so? The Galway public is forgiving. Maybe they had gone through proper procedure, but why not just show us the notice if that’s the case?

For too long now, though, City Councillors have been treated with contempt by the unelected executive at City Hall and the suspicion is this closure without notice was just another manifestation of that contempt spreading to the public too.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

City sides will fancy chances of advancing as champions face Corofin

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Bearna's James Kennedy hits the deck in Ballinasloe on Tuesday as Annaghdown's Frankie Burke and Darragh Meehan try to chase down possession. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The battle for this year’s county Senior Gaelic football club title looks to be wide open after the quarter-final draw was made this week following the delayed conclusion of the group stages on Tuesday night.

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who finished second in group 2, have been handed a last eight tie with a Tuam Stars side that finished third in group 1; while St Michael’s, who topped Group 3, will face an Annaghdown side that nabbed the final quarter-final spot in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.

They went into their game with Bearna knowing they needed to win by a minimum of 12points to pip Milltown to the final qualifying spot as the second best of the teams that finished third in the group stages.

They looked to be coming up just short until they were awarded a late free, which goalkeeper James Healy converted, to snatch that remaining quarter-final slot on socring difference form Milltown.

The 2020 champions, Moycullen, will take on Claregalway in the last eight; while the pick of the ties is undoubtedly the clash of defending champions, Mountbellew/Moylough, with a Corofin side that was denied the five-in-a-row by Moycullen two years ago.

At the other end of the equation, St James’ are in a relegation battle, and face a clash with An Spidéal in the preliminary play-offs. A win will secure their senior status for another year, but a defeat will see them join Oughterard, An Cheathru Rua, and the losers of the other preliminary play-off between Caherlistrane and Monivea/Abbey in a round robin league, with the bottom two sides in those play-offs dropping to the intermediate ranks next year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Play-offs dress rehearsal facing Utd against Treaty

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Former Galway United player Enda Curran celebrates his recent hat-trick for Treaty United in their FAI Cup quarter-final win over UCD. The in-form Mervue native will be facing the Tribesmen in a First Division clash on Friday.

GALWAY United head to Limerick this Friday evening for what is looking like a dress rehearsal for the end-of-season play-offs as they take on Treaty United in the Markets Field (7.45pm).

This is United’s game-in-hand over league leaders, Cork City, and a win will see them close the gap on the Leesiders to four points with three games remaining, and while a win would give the slightest of hopes of a late challenge for league honours, it is more likely to serve as a further boost to confidence ahead of the protracted play-off series that kicks-off at the end of next month.

United need to win their final four games to have any hope of snatching the title, and given the goal difference between the sides, they also need to hope that City don’t pick up more than four points from their last three games, if they are to finish top of the pile.

United’s last three games after this weekend are at home to Athlone, away to Wexford, and home to Longford Town; while City are home to Wexford, away to Athlone, and home to Bray, the easier of the two run-ins, so for United it is all about building momentum ahead of the play-offs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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