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Missionary nun celebrates Centenary

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It has been something of an adventure for Sister Sarah Jordan who experienced some of the toughest conditions while working in South Africa.

Sarah spent a life of giving to others but the 60 sisters in the Franciscan Order in Ballinasloe rallied round to give her a very special 100th birthday.

Sister Sarah spent 44 years of her life in some of the most deprived parts of Africa and still has compassion for those who are awaiting a death sentence. She still prays for those on death row.

It is an incredible story of a woman who decided to take a boat to Africa in the 1940s, took a train, car and lorry before walking for two days across marsh to get to her destination.

The community in Ballinasloe rallied around to help her celebrate a milestone. She has the distinction of being the first Franciscan nun to reach the century. And still has compassion for those on death row.

Local councillor Michael Finnerty described Sister Sarah as an inspiration. He said that she came from a family of three nuns and her presence in Ballinasloe was inspirational for a lot of people.

“She went to work in Africa at one of the most difficult times. She worked with the poorest of the poor but enjoyed every minute of it. Her story is something that every young person should hear”, Cllr. Finnerty added.

Sarah Jordan entered Portiuncula Convent in Ballinasloe in 1945. She is a native of Belfast but around 40 family members were in attendance for her 100th birthday.

Five years later her desire was to bring the word of Christ to people in Africa and to work in a leper colony. She ended up in Northern Rhodesia in a mission that was run by the Franciscan sisters.

Sarah’s journey began by boat to South Africa and from there it was an epic journey by train, car and lorry to Nsombo which is a port in the lake of Banguewelo.

According to Brid O’Sullivan, Sarah then met Sr. Carmel who was the community leader at the time. Carmel had waited three weeks for Sarah’s arrival. They crossed swamps to get to the mission.

When Sarah arrived at the leprosy settlement she was enthusiastic about the work ahead of her. Food was in short supply and there was a high incidence of malaria at the time.

She and other nuns prepared children for baptism as their accommodation consisted of them sleeping on mats or occasionally on camp beds. The baptism celebration on Easter Sunday in the mission church in Kasaba was a huge celebration.

Sarah was transferred to the Mangango Mission in 1957 which was run at the time by the Irish Franciscan Capuchin Fathers. The sisters looked after a busy general hospital where they catered for a lot of patients with leprosy.

Brid O’Donnell in her tribute to Sarah Jordan said that she had cared for the sisters and welcomed numerous visitors who were on missionary duty in the area at the time.

Some described her as a mother to all she cared for including the medics who flew into the airport in Kasaba where Sarah returned to in 1977. It was a much different place to where she was first appointed.

Brid said that Sarah supervised the kitchens and bought in all the food locally which she described as a mammoth task. The nuns described Sarah as “a Godsend” who gathered the parents of starving children to say the rosary.

CITY TRIBUNE

‘Horrific’ conditions at ‘temporary’ halting site

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Mould and damp around the shower, toilet and sink area in one of the units at the Carrowbrowne temporary halting site beside the Headford Road.
Mould and damp around the shower, toilet and sink area in one of the units at the Carrowbrowne temporary halting site beside the Headford Road. [File pic]

Living conditions at Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site on the Headford Road are “truly dreadful” and “distressing”, according to four University of Galway academics.

The quartet, who visited the halting site earlier this month, called on the authorities to provide “decent and culturally appropriate accommodation” for the 13 families living at the ‘temporary’ site, “as a matter of urgency”.

The call comes in the same week a former city mayor was sharply criticised for promoting ‘anti-Traveller rhetoric’.

Galway Traveller Movement urged Fianna Fáil to suspend City Councillor Michael John Crowe, pending a full investigation into comments he made in a press statement issued on Monday and repeated on local radio, about Galway City Council buying a house in Renmore for Traveller accommodation.

As that controversy raged on social media this week, Dr John Cunningham, Director of MA History, University of Galway, said he was shocked by the “scandalous” conditions he saw at Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site.

“I was at an event on campus earlier this year where President Michael D (Higgins) gave a speech and specifically denounced conditions in Carrowbrowne and he would know some of the families, who lived in the Westside area.

“So, I was aware of the circumstances but faced with the actual reality of it was just utterly shocking,” Dr Cunningham told the Galway City Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Kissing goodbye to hated gates under pilot project

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It was agreed to start the project with the gates in the Claddagh and Terryland Forest Park.

Kissing gates at South Park and Terryland Forest Park will be removed in a pilot project to assess their impact on public spaces.

Galway City Council has agreed to trial the removal or replacement of kissing gates in the city on a case-by-case basis while waiting for the completion of an audit that will be used to develop a policy on the controversial barriers at Wednesday’s Recreation and Amenity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) meeting.

The follows anger among the cycling community that the one in South Park had been removed to facilitate a private company fun run only to be returned days later as reported in last week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway City East Councillor Owen Hanley, who attended the meeting, said it is still to be decided what barriers would be erected in their place and it would depend on the needs of the location.

“Previously I worked with Council staff on the Terryland Forest Park kissing gate along the cyclebus route and we agreed to use chicanes to slow but not stop users,” he revealed.

“Whatever goes in will allow cyclists and wheelchair users to pass. We have been given no timelines but it will be in the short-term and I will be following up on this.”

He said the Council has been discussing how to handle kissing gates since he was elected as a Social Democrat over three years ago.

“The rare instances where mopeds or motorbikes damage our green spaces does not justify the widespread use of kissing gates, in fact many times, kissing gates don’t even stop this behaviour. Kissing gates present a very real barrier to people who use wheelchairs or buggies, or cycle, preventing them for accessing public parks as well as routes to work and school.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Abuse and violence towards LGBT+ people is ‘massively under-reported’

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Fiona McDonagh-Delaney, Project Co-ordinator and Tiernan Arnup, Administration and Communications, Amach LGBT+, Westside Recource Centre. PHOTO: BRIAN HARDING.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) people in Galway continue to suffer verbal abuse, violence, and threats of violence while socialising in the city, according to advocates.

Amach, which supports the local LGBT+ community, said that homophobia and hate crimes persist despite recent legislative gains and societal change in Ireland in recent years.

A new report by An Garda Síochána highlighted that just 17 ‘hate-related incidents’ were recorded in the Galway Garda Division in 2021.

That includes hate crimes and hate-related, non-crime incidents recorded across nine discriminatory motives including age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.

But Fiona McDonagh-Delaney, project co-coordinator at Amach in the Westside Community Centre, said it was an “incredibly low figure”, that showed “massive under-reporting”.

LGBT+ Ireland reported a four-fold increase in calls to its helpline last year of people experiencing hate crime, based on their LGBT+ status, she said.

Ms McDonagh-Delaney said that was the reality on Galway’s streets too, even if the official Garda figures did not reflect that.

She said there was a “sense of normalisation” of threats of violence and violence itself, based on LGBT+ status. This had become “commonplace” in Galway and LGBT+ people avoided certain areas at weekends because of it.

“We’d know ourselves that on a Friday and Saturday night, you don’t go up around Eyre Square on a night out. You know what areas to avoid because you know you are at high risk of experiencing some form of abuse. Whether it’s verbal abuse, the threat of violence or actual violence,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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