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Connacht Tribune

Minister demands acceleration on social building programme

Dara Bradley

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Galway’s two local authority chiefs have been told to accelerate the delivery of social housing in the county and city.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has written to Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive of Galway County Council, and Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council demanding that the drive for more social housing units “intensifies in the coming months”.

Minister Murphy has also published “detailed minimum social housing targets” for both local authorities requiring them to deliver around 1,000 new social housing units in Galway this year.

The Minister’s target for Galway County Council is to deliver 532 new social housing in 2018. This includes 64 new builds, 14 through acquisition, and 40 through leasing agreements. The remaining 414 are to be delivered through Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP).

The Minister’s target for Galway City Council is to deliver 399 new social housing in 2018. This includes 96 new builds, 14 through question, and 35 through leasing. The remaining 254 are to be delivered through HAP and RAS.

The targets for new builds – 64 in the county and 96 in the city – does not necessarily mean the two local authorities will be building that amount of social housing units.

Those targets are likely to be met through the Part V planning law whereby a certain percentage of units in new private housing estates is reserved for social and affordable homes. Bringing homes that have been unoccupied for a long time or ‘voids’, back into use, will also be a way of meeting the ‘build’ target.

Minister Murphy told both local authority chiefs in Galway that the “shift in focus from acquisition to build delivery is intended to accelerate in 2018”.

In his letters to Mr Kelly and Mr McGrath, Minister Murphy said: “As the programmes across all delivery streams intensify, I am requesting that as Chief Executive, you ensure that your local authority has appropriate oversight and project management systems in place to keep projects on track. It is absolutely critical that the delivery pipeline that is in place for 2018, is delivered in 2018. Delivery teams in my Department, including the Housing Delivery Office, will work in partnership with local authorities to assist with accelerated delivery, and to source and drive additional opportunities where appropriate.”

The targets for 2018-2021 are 1,089 for the County Council and 926 for the City Council, through a range of delivery options.

Ciaran Cannon, Junior Minister for Diaspora and International Development said Galway will benefit from the “significant progress made to date” in advancing the construction pipeline, as well as social housing delivery targets for local authorities for the next three years.

The Galway East TD added: “In 2017 we saw 1,332 social housing solutions delivered across Galway city and county. This includes 1,077 delivered through the HAP and RAS and 255 houses built, acquired and leased by the local authorities. One of the key outcomes of the second Housing Summit with local authority Chief Executives held earlier this year was a commitment to drive greater transparency and accountability at individual local authority level on the delivery of the targets under Rebuilding Ireland.

“In the latter part of 2017, Minister Murphy secured significant additional funding to increase the overall level of ambition under Rebuilding Ireland in the period to 2021, and also signaled a rebalancing of the strands of delivery towards construction projects.

“Overall, the Government has now committed €6 billion to support the accelerated delivery of 50,000 additional social housing homes by end 2021, through build (33,500), acquisition (6,500) and leasing (10,000) programmes.”

Connacht Tribune

Cherish every moment; hug and kiss your loved ones every night

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Happier days…Geraldine Mullan with her husband John and their children Tomas and Amelia.

Last August, GERALDINE MULLAN (née Connaughton) endured an unfathomable nightmare, losing her husband and two children in a crash that she herself was lucky to survive. Here the Williamstown native writes of life since – and how the support of so many has helped her over the last three months.

My husband John was a fan of Bruce Springsteen. In normal circumstances he would be currently enjoying Bruce’s latest album “Letter to You” and taking particular interest in the songs, especially the one entitled “House of a Thousand Guitars” (given John’s love of that instrument).

But these are not normal days and instead it is me appraising the new offering from The Boss and taking poignant note of some of the other lyrical melodies on the album, particularly those entitled “One Minute You’re Here” and “I’ll See You in my Dreams”.

These two songs in particular speak to my situation and have become musical reminders of my beloved departed, my husband John and our children Tomas and Amelia, who were cruelly taken from this world in late August of this year.

Since the tragedy unfolded, I have been surrounded by many wonderful people and wrapped up in their familial and communal embraces, all united in offering me solace, comfort, assistance and no end of love, understanding and compassion.

I stand each day and get through it, in no small part, due to the continuous support you provide to me.

Such is the outpouring and swell of sympathy and empathy alike, and many are the calls, messages, cards, letters, flowers, gifts, acts of service and human kindness which have reached my Moville doorstep, that I am truly overwhelmed, very much humbled and ever-grateful.

I am genuinely appreciative of it all and your love and caring has taken root in my heart and in my head. That being said, I am unable to respond to everyone individually, therefore this is my “Letter to You”, my simple way of acknowledgement and sincere thanks.

You can read Geraldine’s full, heart-breaking letter in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Early Christmas box for 13,500 Galway farmers

Francis Farragher

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CLOSE on 13,500 Galway farmers should be getting an early ‘Christmas Box’ this week with the final tranche of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) monies being paid out – ‘bang on schedule’, according to Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue.

Back in October, farmers got the 70% advance payment in BPS with a commitment given at the time that the balance would be paid out in early December – balancing payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme are scheduled to commence next week.

Total BPS payments to Galway’s 13,500 farmers come to just over €82 million, according to figures released by local TDs this week, with the average individual payment per farmer working out at just over €6,000.

East Galway TD and Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte, said that the final tranche of the BPS payments was a most welcome one for thousands of farmers across the county after a most difficult year.

“The really important thing about these payments is that they are being made on schedule and they will help a lot of farmers to ‘balance the books’ for 2020,” said Minister of State, Rabbitte.

The Minister for Agriculture also confirmed this week that payments under the 2020 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme will also commence alongside payment of the 2020 BPS balancing payment – this will also benefit a significant number of Galway farmers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Baby born in a hurry outside Ford garage – and he’s called Henry!

Denise McNamara

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Baby Henry Dyar with proud parents Lisa and Robert, and big brother Darragh.

There was only one choice of name for a new arrival born in a hurry outside a Ford garage, almost in the passenger seat of a Ford Mondeo – he was always going to be Henry after that.

And after his speedy arrival in the middle of a nationwide go-slow, little Henry Dyar is thriving – despite arriving three weeks ahead of schedule.

Mum Lisa McCauley was thankfully on alert as she had been caught out before; her first born son Darragh had arrived a month early two years ago.

So when she began to feel the first twinges of labour at 6.30am on November 17 – and after contacting the maternity ward in University Hospital Galway – she and husband Robert Dyar organised a babysitter for Darragh and headed out on the motorway from their home in Loughrea.

As they were approaching Oranmore and the traffic was beginning to build, Lisa was hit with the realisation that she would not make it as far as the hospital.

So the quick-thinking Garda called Mill Street Station requesting an escort to bring her the rest of the way.

She was met at the top of Bothar na Treabh by a patrol car, who had pulled in off the Kirwan roundabout beside Sheil’s Motorpark garage.

But by then things had progressed beyond the point of no return.

Read the full happy ending in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. 

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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