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Homeless family forced to sleep in garden shed



A Galway TD has highlighted two cases to underline the county’s housing crisis – one couple forced to sleep in a garden shed while another lived in their parked car on the street.

Galway East TD Colm Keaveney said he’d dealt with both cases in recent weeks which he described as ‘a disgrace to our society’.

“Both cases involved families with children. In both cases the children have been left sleeping on the couches and floors of relatives’ houses while the parents sleep where they can. For one couple that means a car parked on the street; for the other it means sleeping in a garden shed,” he said.

His demand for action on a national basis comes as Councils across the country struggle to deal with the problem.

Galway county needs to deliver at least 500 social housing units by 2021 – but Council officials have already admitted that current funding levels will see that fall short by around twelve per cent.

The current local authority housing stock in Co Galway – excluding the city – stands at 2,316; that’s down from 2,366 from 2011.

At present ten of those units are derelict and 72 are in need of refurbishment – but according to Galway East TD Colm Keaveney, over half of all units, 47 in total, in need of refurbishment are in the Tuam area alone.

He has called on the government to prioritise housing in Budget 2016, insisting that the crisis needs a national solution to avoid the burden falling on local authorities alone.

“Local authorities around the country are struggling to deal with the wave of homelessness that is sweeping the country,” he said.

There are over 4,000 applications on the housing list. Many of those applications are from families and couples, so the numbers of people affected by the search for a secure and stable home far exceeds the number of applications.

“That 47 housing units are in need of refurbishment in the Tuam area should not be taken as a criticism of the county council. I know from working with officials to address individual cases of homelessness that they are doing their best within highly constrained budgets.

“The government parties simply have to admit to the scale of the housing crisis in Ireland and provide monies towards refurbishing housing units and building new ones,” he added.

Figures released to Fianna Fáil under an FOI request show that numbers on the housing list nationally is almost one and a half times as great as had been previously admitted by the government parties.

The party claimed that the social housing waiting list now at 130,000 – not the 90,000 figure from 2013 that government policy is based on. The figures have been disputed by the Government parties.

But Deputy Keaveney said that his experience on the ground indicated that the situation is now reaching ‘crisis levels’

“Galway County Council and its officials are doing all that they can to address the housing crisis but are struggling in the face of a raising demand for services and the refusal of central government, and in particular Minister Alan Kelly, to provide adequate funding to Galway and other local authorities to enable them to address the deteriorating housing situation.

“Budget 2016 is approaching. It is being framed as an election budget and it appears that Fine Gael and Labour are going to prioritise tax cuts over public services. While many would welcome a cut in taxes, it must be remembered that the small cut received will be paid for by the further degradation of public services, in health, education, and in housing.

“If neglected for much longer, the housing crisis will turn into a social crisis, one that will take a generation to solve and even longer to heal,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

Transplant man’s gratitude for new lease of life



The Kenny family from Laurencetown, Ballinasloe who are organising a fundraiser for the Irish Kidney Association (back – from left) Olivia, Megan, Kenneth, Pauline, Lorna, with (front) dad Jimmy, transplant patient Liam, Liam's son Zak, donor James and mum Patricia. Photo: Gerry Stronge.

A Galway electrician and father-of-one is embracing his new lease of life after his brother donated one of his kidneys – and now his family want to show their appreciation by raising funds for the charity that helped them through their darkest days.

Liam Kenny (31) from Laurencetown had a serious kidney condition that saw him require dialysis eight hours a day, three days a week prior to his operation – a reality that was impacting on his life and work.

But since he received a kidney from his 33-year-old brother James, he hasn’t looked back – and in gratitude the family has now organised a special day on Saturday, October 1, with the highlight a charity barn dance in the village.

It was back in 2014 when Liam Kenny, who works with an electrician, was diagnosed with chronic kidney reflux, resulting in only one functioning kidney at 15%. Liam’s quality of life deteriorated as he fought this disease.

This led to Liam receiving dialysis eight hours a day, three days a week and his ability to work was impacted.

Liam’s family volunteered to be tested for compatibility for a transplant – and fortunately, his older brother James, who is employed in an abattoir, proved a match.

In October 2017, after a long and emotional journey, Liam and James attended Beaumont Hospital to undergo a mammoth surgery.

Although this surgery was a success, there was always a possibility that Liam’s body could reject the transplant.

During this time, the Irish Kidney Association supported the entire family to ensure they were close to the lads by providing free on-site accommodation.

This, his sister Megan Kenny says, was pivotal in supporting their family through the surgery’s worry, stress and financial strain.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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

Long-lost video shows Galway faith healer enjoying trip back home



Faith healer Mary Malone...back home in Mountbellew.

Long-lost video footage of a County Galway ‘faith healer and visionary’ has been discovered after more than two decades.

The video diaries of Mary Malone, a faith healer from Mountbellew, have been released on social media platform, YouTube. One of the videos shows Ms Malone, and her husband Malcolm, returning on a visit to Mountbellew in 2000.

As well as offering a unique view of the North-East Galway town at the turn of the millennium, it features several local people who are filmed speaking with Mary Malone as part of the documentary.

It portrays a village in more innocent times. Footage of a market in full-swing, old cars lining the streets, and interviews with locals welcoming Mary Malone home offer a glimpse of rural Ireland at the time.

In one section of film, a young Mountbellew man on a bike, reminisces with Mary Malone about life growing up, which included collecting call cards.

“I love coming back to Mountbellew,” she declared in the film, and joked with another man: “I’ve put ye on the map!”

They discuss how Mountbellew was a fine tourism town and all that it needs was a hotel.

Over the course of the half-hour footage, locals ask Mary Malone for help to heal their sick relatives.

Among those interviewed was Joe Noone, a cousin of hers, and mechanic and businessman. “It’s great to see you,” he said. They chit-chat about her home in England, their familial links, and her husband’s love of fishing, and Mary Malone’s ‘healing’ of his mother.

It also features footage of the couple in her cousin’s house a mile outside Mountbellew, where they stayed before they embarked on a healing tour of Ireland.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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

Draft fishing bye-laws are just watered down



Lough Corrib

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) stands accused of a policy climb-down over the protection of non-native species such as pike on Lough Corrib.

Last year, IFI admitted that fishing bye-laws that afford non-native predatory species equal protection to native salmon and trout, were ‘contrary to the aims of the Habitats Directive and fisheries legislation’.

But in a new draft policy document issued last week, IFI stops short of recommending that the bye-laws be repealed.

Instead it has published a plan that’s described as advocating a ‘mixed fishery’ model, contrary to the wishes of salmon and trout anglers in the west.

IFI published a 50-page draft plan last week called the ‘Long Term Management Plan for the Great Western Lakes’.

The organisation invited feedback from the public on the plan, and the consultation period is until September 20, the deadline for public submissions.

Already, however, the plan is causing disquiet among fishing organisations who are galvanising support against it.

Local angling groups want the Great Western Lakes, including Corrib, to be maintained as salmonid fisheries.

They claim this new draft plan keeps the current ‘unacceptable’ position, which protects predatory pike and coarse fish on the Corrib system, which is an SAC (Special Area of Conservation).

Anglers in Galway and Mayo want the pike and coarse byelaws repealed, so that removing pike and coarse fish from the Corrib is not a criminal act.

Campaigner Mike Donnellan, a member of Oughterard Anglers, urged people to make their opposition to the draft plan known through the public consultation process that has commenced.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from 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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