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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Samaritans answered more than 900 calls per week this year

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Galway Samaritans answered more than 900 calls every week of this year; the charity’s newly renovated city office at Nun’s Island responded to 47,219 cries for help over the past twelve months.

“The number of calls received has certainly increased in the past two years since we got the freephone number,” said Anne Wynne, Director of Samaritans Galway.

Nationally, Samaritans received some 700,000 calls from people who need help. People don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans.

“The nature of the calls varies. They could have mental health issues, depression and anxiety. There could be relationship issues. There could be abuse, be it physical, mental or sexual. There could be financial problems.

“Bullying is another issue. It could be historic or current bullying. And every other issue that you could think of. You mightn’t see it as much of a problem, but for the person on the other end of the line it could be a huge problem,” said Ms Wynne.

Samaritans Galway offers a 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year service. The charity has a loyal band of about 100 trusty volunteers, none of whom are paid, including the director.

This time of year, is a particularly busy one for Samaritans.

“Loneliness is a big issue at Christmas and New Year,” said Ms Wynne.

“People who are on their own, and who wouldn’t hear a human voice from one day of the week until the next, can feel awful lonely. It’s so dark at this time of year, too. It’s dark when you get up in the morning, it’s dark when you’re coming home, and then the weather the way it is, it’s dull and dark all day. That has an effect on people.

“If you walk through town and you see people are having a great time at Christmas parties. They mightn’t actually be enjoying it but for someone alone or who is lonely it might appear that way.

“If you’re dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings, the festive season can make everything seem worse. Whether you’re on your own or feeling alone in a crowd, we don’t want anyone to struggle. So, remember you can call Samaritans for free from any phone and, if you’re expecting to have a good Christmas this year yourself, have a think about those around you who may not be as lucky and give them the gift of listening.”

Galway Samaritans will be working round the clock this festive season, to respond to calls for help. The new offices at 14 Nuns Island will be open from 9am to 8pm, on Christmas Day, also, for people who wish to drop-in.

It costs roughly €75,000 to run the Galway branch yearly, and less than 10% of that is funded by Government, with the rest coming from donations from the public. They also run an outreach programme to highlight the work of Samaritans in places like Loughrea and Glenamaddy and elsewhere in the county.

Proceeds from Galway Christmas Market this year went to the Samaritans, and it also helped to raise awareness of the charity. Proceeds from the Christmas carol service of GMIT’s choir went to Samaritans this year, as did a third of the proceeds of the St Nicholas’ Church service over the weekend.

“There has been a lot of goodwill and support for Samaritans. People have been generous,” said Ms Wynne.

Samaritans will be providing over 12,500 hours of listening at its 20 national branches all over Ireland this Christmas.

Yesterday, volunteers invited the public to join them at 6pm at 14 Nuns Island for a candle-lit walk to Eyre Square for carol singing to mark the Winter Solstice.

The Samaritans free phone number is 116 123, it is free to call and will not appear on your bill. Alternatively, you can text 087-260 9090 or visit Samaritans website.

CITY TRIBUNE

Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport

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From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Pamela’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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