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Homelessness reaching crisis levels in Galway city

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There is an increasing demand on homeless services in Galway, with more people being pushed out of the rental sector due to rising rents and a lack of rental properties coupled with a massive lack of social housing.

While there are no up-to-date figures currently available for the level of homelessness as services are managed by different agencies as well as Galway City Council, it is the perfect storm according to those working in the field.

After five years of recession, many people are to the pin of their collar with their household budgets. There is no social housing being built, the council has been depleted of funding to bring empty properties back up to scratch for letting to local authority tenants and it is a landlord’s market when it comes to the rental sector.

Rents have gone up 6% in the city compared to last year according to the latest data from the property website daft.ie, with one-bedroom apartments starting at €600. The total rent supplement for people on social welfare is €480. Social welfare rates have been cut to €100 for those under 25.

“What people are forced to do is eat into their income for food, heating and other bills. We have a case here recently where a man helped by our outreach team hadn’t turned on a light in his house for a month. That shouldn’t be happening in 2014 Galway,” insisted CEO of Galway Simon Community Bill Griffin.

See full story in today’s Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Patients vent their spleen over ED chaos

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The new ED at UHG.

Complaints about the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway (UHG) jumped by 55% last year, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

During 2021, when strict Covid-19 restrictions were in place at UHG, a total of 80 official complaints were lodged about the West’s main public Emergency Department.

But in the following year, official complaints about the Emergency Department at UHG totalled 124.

It represents an increase of 44 complaints, or a year-on-year jump of 55%. It does not include complaints made to frontline staff that were resolved soon after they were made, and only refers to complaints formally assigned to a complaints officer.

A further 13 complaints were lodged but are not included in the total over the two years because the complaints were withdrawn, or consent was not given to progress them.

The increase in complaints to Saolta University Healthcare Group came in 2022, when medical activity returned to pre-pandemic levels, and overcrowding at UHG’s ED dominated the headlines.

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

Connemara pride in teenager just pipped at the post for Eurovision

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Jennifer Connolly on stage at Eurosong.

Connemara singer Jennifer Connolly was basking in the pride of her community this week – even though she was pipped at the post for the chance to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision in Liverpool.

Going by the stage name Connolly, the 19-year-old from Leitir Mealláin was the bookie’s favourite going into the Eurosong contest to pick the Irish contestant on RTE’s Late Late Show.

Her atmospheric number, Midnight Summer Night, scored 32 points, losing out by just two points to the Dublin band Wild Youth’s anthemic We Are One.

She scored highest with the international jury with twelve points, compared to Wild Youth’s ten points – but she lost out by two points from the Irish jury and two points on the public vote.

Wild Youth had the edge in the familiarity stakes, having previously supported Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan and The Script on tour. Their hit Can’t Move On has been a firm Irish radio hit since its 2018 release.

They certainly appeared very confident onstage last Friday. But few could fault Connolly, who after an initial shaky start blew it out of the park with her strong voice.

This is the first year that the winner was chosen by a combination of an international jury, a national jury and a televote.

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

White House hopeful boasts Galway roots

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Galway roots...Steve Laffey.

You wait an eternity for one US President with Galway roots to come along – and then a potential second Galwegian in the White House emerges in quick succession!

Because with earlier confirmation of Joe Biden’s roots embedded deep in Ballinacourty, outside Oranmore, now the first official challenger to Donald Trump’s planned renaissance turns out to be a direct descendant of a North Galway native.

And while Steve Laffey, the former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, might not make it to the final shake-up, he has officially declared his intention this week to seek the Republican nomination to run for the White House next year.

Mr Laffey, who lives in Colorado, is the great great grandson of Michael Laffey from Sunhill, Menlough, according to Mountbellew genealogist Martin Curley, who also established President Biden’s Galway credentials – despite the higher-profile claims of Mayo and Louth to his roots.

Mr Laffey served as mayor of Cranston, a city just outside of Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2007. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2006.

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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