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‘Homeless’ families turfed out of hotels for Races

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Some city families are allegedly being be ‘turfed out’ of their temporary hotel room homes this week to free up capacity for the lucrative Race Week market.

It is understood up to 22 homeless families living in emergency accommodation in city B&Bs, hotels, hostels and holiday units will be ‘moved out’ this week as race-goers take priority.

The homeless in hotels, in particular, are being forced to leave because the hotels have been pre-booked months in advance due to soaring demand during the city’s busiest time of year, Galway Race Week. This is the latest twist in the ongoing housing crisis that continues to worsen in Galway.

Galway City councillor, Mike Cubbard says the situation is a disgrace.

“These families have nowhere to go. Some of them haven’t a clue where they will go. I know one mother with six children who has to leave a hotel – she’s been told to go live with her family out the country. I know several people in this position.

“The homeless people who are living temporarily in B&Bs, hotels and hostels were on the RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme) but the landlords pulled out and either left the scheme, sold up or moved back in themselves. They are in the temporary accommodation like hotels while they wait to get into two houses the Council has for people who are waiting to get a permanent Council house.

“But there’s only two – you could have 10 of them at least. And it’s like a conveyor belt. The problem is there are not enough houses. We need more houses,” said Cllr Cubbard.

The City Council pays for people’s hotel rooms as emergency accommodation and it is reimbursed by Government. Cllr Cubbard says the money would be better spent by bringing the scores of vacant Council houses back into use.

Meanwhile, Independent City Councillor Catherine Connolly has new figures, which confirm the housing crisis is real and worsening. There are some 4,474 households on the city’s housing waiting list, which equates to around 15,000 people. Some applicants for house on the list are waiting as long as 15 years for two-beds; and yet Galway City Council has plans to build just 13 houses over the next year, said Cllr Connolly. The waiting list figures do not include the 472 households who are on a Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) or the 117 households on Long-Term Leasing.

These two schemes will be replaced by HAP (Housing Assistance Payments) later this year, a policy, according to Cllr Connolly that “copper fastens reliance on the private sector” to provide housing.

Cllr Connolly said it is the, “most fundamental shift in social housing policy since the foundation of the state”.

“This HAP scheme will mean that as a matter of housing policy any tenant renting a private house and receiving this payment will be considered adequately housed and their name removed from the housing waiting list. In reality what has happened is that with simply a stroke of a pen, without any discussion and under the pretence and illusion of providing social housing, a housing applicant’s right to a local authority house has been removed,” she said.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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