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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s homeless stats are ‘just the tip of the iceberg’

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Official Government figures for homelessness have come under fire from local charity COPE Galway, which has branded them “inaccurate” as they fail to include rough sleepers and those sleeping on sofas and floors.

The charity claims that in reality, the most recent figure for homelessness in Galway in June – put at 263 by the Government – should actually be far higher.

In fact, the ‘real’ figure could be more than double the Government figure, which does not include people sleeping rough, the ‘hidden homeless’ staying on sofas and floors and people being housed in transitional or longer-term homes owned by local charities and Travellers who are living on unauthorised sites.

The true figure for homelessness in Galway is not known but could be in the region of 600 adults and children.

The Department of Housing’s ‘Homelessness Report’ for June 18-24 – the most up-to-date figure available – recorded 263 people for Galway.

However, Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO of COPE Galway, said the figures (officially called ‘Details of households accessing local authority-managed emergency accommodation) are only a sub-set of the actual situation, and do not include rough-sleepers and the so-called ‘hidden homeless’, who are at imminent risk of being on the street and are living on floors or sofas with friends or family.

He pointed out that on one day last month, the charity took a ‘snapshot census’ in Galway, which found 160 households (including 221 children, 73 single people and five couples) were directly accommodated by COPE Galway or placed in various forms of other emergency accommodation, including B&Bs and hotels.

However, a further 16 people were sleeping rough (although they were aware there may have been up to 20 others), who are not recorded.

There were also a further 15 families (including between 40 and 45 children), and five single people who were staying with friends or family due to non-availability of emergency accommodation. These people were not included in the official statistics.

The Government figures do not include Travellers living on sites which are not authorised hardstands.

Nor do they include more than 100 individuals who are being housed in transitional or longer-term homes owned by Galway Simon.

Mr O’Connor told the Connacht Tribune this week that the Government figures are “not accurate” and are effectively only a count of people who are in emergency accommodation which is funded through the Department of Housing.

He said that unless the Government has clear and accurate statistics on homelessness, it will not be able to design or fund a response to the crisis.

The Government June figures show that 263 of the 292 homeless adults in the West were in Galway; 25 were in Mayo and four Roscommon.

There are 207 homeless children in the West which is an increase of 50% on the same month last year. They do not give a county breakdown but at least 80% of the homeless children in the West are in Galway.

Youth homelessness (aged 18-25) in the West grew by 30% between June 2017 and June 2018, while the national average grew by 13.7%.

Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon, said under 25s now account for almost half the number of people living in emergency accommodation in the West.

“Youth homelessness has been on the rise in Galway for a number of years now and this is something we see directly through the demand for our services. In 2016, we set up a dedicated Youth Service to respond to this need and already this year we have housed 15 young people experiencing homelessness and supported others who are at risk of homelessness,” she said.

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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