Victims of domestic violence are to find a new sanctuary on the site of a former Magdalen Laundry after an agreement was reached between the Sisters of Mercy and the housing charity Cope to gift the building on Forster Street.
Cope Galway has been operating a refuge in Woodquay since 1981 but because of increased demand for places and limited facilities on site for families, Waterside House had become unfit for purpose.
Over the last five years the charity had been actively searching for an alternative premises to accommodate women and children; earlier this year they approached the Sisters of Mercy about the site, which had closed as a Magdalen Laundry in 1984.
The Order responded by donating the property on a 99-year lease to facilitate a refuge with up to double the capacity of the current premises.
In 2012, there were 100 women and 130 children accommodated at Waterside House. The refuge had to turn away a further 214 women with 319 children who were experiencing a domestic violence emergency because no rooms were available.
The building offers ‘bedsit’ style accommodation, which forces families to live in one large room without access to basic cooking facilities during their stay.
CEO of COPE Galway, Jacquie Horan, said the current refuge offered safety and security to women and children escaping an emergency situation but the living arrangement is totally unfit for purpose.
“Families in a state of distress deserve better,” she said.
Cope approached the Order as they believed the building –- which up until last week was used as a residential convent – ticked all the boxes. Its location in the city centre, the fact that it was a gated, secure site and the potential to renovate to provide greater space for families and build a playing area for children all made it a good alternative to Waterside House.
The Rape Crisis Centre currently offer counselling services in an adjoining building on the site.
Cope are currently undertaking a technical examination of the building and are hopeful of opening the new facility by the end of the year. They have not yet decided the future of Waterside House, which they own.
The capacity of the Magdalen Laundry in Galway was approximately 110 residents and the occupancy varied from 110 in 1951, 73 in 1954 and 18 in 1984, the year it closed.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to email@example.com or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!
Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.
A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.
Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.
Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down.
The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.
Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.
Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.
However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.
“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.
Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.
Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.
“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.
There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.