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Galway Samaritans have busiest year to date

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Galway Samaritans have had their busiest year to date – answering more calls than ever before.

Details of the increase in use of Samaritans’ vital service were revealed in the 2013-2014 Impact Report covering Samaritans’ work in Ireland, which was launched this week.

According to the report, over 478,200 calls to the helpline, almost 12,000 emails and over 8,000 texts were answered by Samaritans volunteers. There were also just under 8,700 face to face visits to Samaritans branches across the Republic

The increase has mostly been seen in calls to the helpline, which have increased by 52 per cent since Samaritans launched a free to caller number – 16123 – in March 2014.

Before this, Samaritans operated a lo-call 1850 number. A partnership between Samaritans, the telecommunications industry, Government and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) has made it possible to call Samaritans at no cost to the caller.

“The figures show that there is clearly a huge demand for our service and we are aware – from the nature of our calls – that many people In Ireland are struggling to cope,” said Samaritans Galway Director William Browne.

“It is now easier for people to call us and we have seen a significant increase in calls as result. Our volunteers are busier than ever and have increased the amount of listening hours they provide by over 38 per cent since the number was launched,” he added.

The issues which people contact Samaritans about have remained consistent over the last number of years. These include family and relationship problems; financial worries; depression and mental health problems; loneliness; and stress and anxiety.

“It is important that people know that they can talk to us about whatever is getting to them. Some people think that you have to be suicidal to talk to Samaritans but that is not the case. We are here for anyone who needs to talk.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of problem our callers have, however big or small it may seem compared to the problems other people have. What matters to us is how their life is making them feel,” Mr Browne continued.

“Samaritans is available round the clock, every day of the year. Many of our callers have told us that Christmas is a tough time for them, which is why our volunteers will be available throughout the Christmas period, for anyone who is struggling to cope, including on Christmas Day and New Years.

We’re incredibly grateful to the inspirational people who keep our service running every single day of the year when many others are closed,” he added.

Samaritans’ helpline number in the Republic of Ireland is 116 123.

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Taste of Galway at ‘Flavours of Ireland’

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Joanne Nunn, Kuoni Tumlare; Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland; and David Keane, DK Connemara Oysters, at Flavours of Ireland 2022.

Some 60 tourism companies from Ireland attended ‘Flavours of Ireland’ 2022 in London last week – including Connemara Wild Escapes, DK Connemara Oysters and Killary Fjord Boat Tours.

‘Flavours’ is Tourism Ireland’s annual B2B tourism workshop, where tourism companies from Ireland meet and do business with top global inbound tour operators.

Now in its 20th year, ‘Flavours’ took place in the Guildhall, in the City of London, and was attended by around 100 global inbound tour operators who deliver business from all over the world, including the United States, Mainland Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa.

‘Flavours’ provides an excellent opportunity for the participating tourism providers from Galway and Ireland to highlight and sell their tourism product and build valuable relationships with the key decision-makers in attendance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Planning Regulator wants Galway City Council U-turn on Development Plan

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From the Galway City Tribune – The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has asked Galway City Council to roll back material alterations to the new City Development Plan proposed by councillors.

In July, elected members voted through a raft of changes to zonings in the Draft City Development Plan 2023-29, which went out on public display.

But the Planning Regulator has now warned City Hall that many of the proposed changes do not comply with the OPR’s recommendations, and are contrary to national planning guidelines.

The OPR specifically highlighted problems with proposals to rezone as residential land deemed at risk of flooding.

Anne Marie O’Connor, Deputy Regulator, wrote to the Council’s Planning Department outlining the OPR’s fresh advice on the changes to the draft plan proposed and approved by councillors.

The draft plan will come before elected members again this month.

Councillors will be asked to row back on some of their previous material alterations, which ran contrary to advice of the OPR.

Ms O’Connor said the OPR welcomed many of the changes made by the City Council in its draft plan. She said, however, that the OPR “has a number of outstanding concerns relating to the response of the planning authority to its recommendations and to a number of proposed material alterations relating to the zoning of lands”.

These relate to changes that conflict with national and regional objectives for compact growth; with legislative requirements regarding climate action and core strategies; and with rezoning land at risk of flooding.

The OPR highlighted a dozen or more material alterations by councillors that are “not consistent” with the National Planning Framework for compact growth.

These include re-zoning of land from agricultural or recreational and amenity to residential.

The changes voted on by councillors, the OPR noted, were done against the advice of the Council’s Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.

The OPR said the changes proposed by councillors represented a “piecemeal approach” to zoning and were “inconsistent” with national policy.

These comments related to proposed rezoning of land at Rahoon; Dublin Road; Quarry Road, Menlo; Ballindooley; off Circular Road; Menlo village; Roscam and Barna Woods.

The OPR also raised “significant concerns” over five material alterations proposed for residential zonings of land at Western Distributor Road; Terryland; Menlo Village; Headford Road and Barna Woods which are located within flood zones.

The approach by councillors “may place people and property at unnecessary risk from future flood events”, the OPR warned.

Ms O’Connor told planners that if the draft plan ignores the OPR advice or is at odds with its recommendations, the Council Chief Executive must inform the OPR in writing the reasons for doing so.

Save Roscam Peninsula in a 33-page submission to the draft plan echoed many of the concerns outlined by the OPR.

The Council has pencilled in four dates in November and December to approve the plan.

It will meet on November 21, 24 and 28 and December 1 when material alterations will be voted on individually.
This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, November 4. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

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The show goes on . . . for the 183rd time

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At the launch of The Irish Draught Horse Society Show were: Seán McGuirk, Chairman; Elizabeth Dean Coogan, Council Member; Margaret Buckley, Treasurer; John Harney, Chairman Ballinasloe Horse and Agricultural Show; Cllr. Dermot Connolly and Maeve O'Meara, Secretary.

JOHN HARNEY from Mountpleasant first joined the Ballinasloe Horse and Agriculture Show Committee, all of 60-years ago, on April 24, 1962. Both John and the show are still going strong as they celebrate their 183rd event on this Sunday. Here, he looks back on his involvement with this iconic show through the years.

THE Ballinasloe Show back in the early 1960s was going well with both the Showgrounds and Duggan Park both used for running the competitions.

My first introduction to the show was stewarding the pony competitions in the Mountpleasant end of the Duggan Park with the rest of the GAA field being used for trade stands.

At that time, it was a very big show with horses, ponies, cattle and sheep, pigs and fowl – also there was a big garden and farm produce section as well as a home craft and baking section with flowers and plants supported by a very large women’s committee.

At that time, showjumping took place in the afternoon with the top riders in the country taking part.  I was elected Chairman at the AGM in 1975, a position I held for ten years.

During that time, the Duggan Park Committee approached the Show Committee for a piece of the showgrounds behind the GAA Stand for dressing rooms.

This was brought up a number of times at our committee meetings, and at first, the view was that the Duggan Park Committee would buy the ground.

However, after much deliberation it was decided by the Show Committee to ‘give the ground’ for the sum of £1 with the proviso that the dressingrooms could be used on show days by the local ICA to do catering for the event.

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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