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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Helping you cope when the person you love dies



Date Published: 09-Jun-2011

They say that lightning never strikes twice, but for Peggy Costello, it did. When she was 13 her father died, leaving his widow to rear five children, with Peggy being the second youngest. Then, just after 11 years of marriage, Peggy too was widowed, left alone to bring up four children aged between 10 and seven.

Even today, over 30 years later she gets upset as she talks about her husband’s death and the impact it had on her life.

But, mostly it’s her lively, sparky personality that shines through as she talks about her family and the group she helped to establish in Galway 25 years ago for widowed people.

The Galway branch of the Widowed Persons Benevolent Society of Ireland was set up as a support for men and women, she explains. At that time, there was already a society for widows, but “men need support too” and the aim of the widowed person’s group was to assist anybody who had lost a spouse, whether they were male or female.

The group will mark its 25th anniversary next Thursday, June 16, when a memorial tree will be planted in Salthill’s Millennium Park at 4pm, followed by Mass in the Galway Bay Hotel and a dance later on that evening.

In its 25 years, the group has provided a social outlet for some 400 people who have lost spouses, as well as providing financial assistance and practical advice for widowed people and their families.

Peggy and her fellow members share a common bond – all of them know the loneliness and darkness that comes with being left on your own when the person you love has died. She is a strong woman – and given the knocks she has suffered, it’s just as well.

Peggy’s family came to Galway from Dublin when she was five, after her father who worked with the Board of Works, now the OPW, was moved here.

Then, eight years later her father died. Peggy was one of five and they were like steps of stairs, with the oldest being 16 and the youngest 12. At the time, money was very tight – her mother got £1 a week in a pension.

Peggy, who had been boarding in Kylemore, had to leave school early. She got a job working in the administrative area of building and construction and she worked there until she got married to Vincent Costello from Grange, Turloughmore.

“I was 32 when I got married. I’d never wanted to,” she explains. “He changed my mind for me. He had a lovely personality and a great sense of humour.”

Her husband Vincent worked in the ESB as a truck driver and they met in the long defunct Talk of the Town (on the Headford Road) on the one night she ever went there. They had four children – twins followed by a boy and a girl with about three years between the oldest and youngest.

Vincent’s death was totally unexpected, making Peggy’s loss even more difficult to bear.

On December 15 1980, he came home for lunch and returned to work afterwards.

Three hours later a representative from the ESB called to her door to tell her he had been killed in a work accident, she recalls, visibly upset at the memory. It takes no effort to imagine what their Christmas must have been like that year. It was awful, she says, and it has never been the same, even 31 years’ later.

When Vincent died their children were 10, nine and seven

The family lived in Renmore at the time and she was lucky enough to have good back-up, especially from her mother and sister who lived in Furbo.

Financially she was fine, because there was a government pension and an ESB pension. The personnel officer from the semi-state organisation advised her on her entitlements and what she needed to do.

The Costellos had a Corporation loan on their Renmore house – it was in her husband’s name because, at that time, that’s how things were. But Peggy had always been used to managing the family finances and, so handling those kinds of things presented no problem. But she was lonely.

“I don’t know how I coped. I suppose the kids kept me going, they were small and with me all the time after they’d come home from school.”

But she was the only person responsible for them, and that was stressful. “I had to make every decision for them, to do with school and what have you and it was very traumatic at the time.”

Eventually her doctor recommended counselling for both Peggy and the children and that was “terrific”.

“It gave the kids an insight into what I was going through, as well as what they were going through after their father died.”

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

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Tuam receives second UK hay import as fodder crisis continues



Date Published: 07-May-2013

Tuam has secured it’s second import of hay from the UK this afternoon in a bid to address the ongoing fodder crisis in the west.

A load of between 40 and 50 bales arrived at the Connacht Gold store in Airglooney for distribution throughout the county.

It follows a similar load last Thursday to the Tuam outlet.

The co-op also took a load of imported hay to the mart in Maam Cross over the weekend, however most of the bales had already been pre-assigned to farmers.

Further loads of hay are expected to arrive across the west and north west tonight and tomorrow morning.


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Galway Bay FM News Archives

46 social housing offers refused across city and county



Date Published: 09-May-2013

281 offers of social housing were made by the city and county councils last year.

Figures provided by the local authorities show that 46 of these were refused.

Galway city council made 193 such offers in 2012 with 41 of these refused.

The majority didn’t like the area they were offered or disliked the property itself.

Galway county council made 88 offers of social housing last year with 83 of these accepted.

Reasons given for refusing five properties focused on the location or that the property itself did not meet their needs.


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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway Senator calls for more action on combatting domestic violence



Date Published: 13-May-2013

Galway Senator Trevor O’ Clochartaigh has called on the government to provide more support for victims of domestic violence.

Figures provided to the Sinn Fein Senator show that domestic violence support group COPE accompanied over 80 women to court in Galway last year, but a further 214 women were unable to avail of such assistance.

Senator O Clochartaigh told Galway Bay fm news that more needs to be done to support victims of domestic violence.

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