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Connacht Tribune

Mortgage struggle cuts deepest for Galwegians

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Homeowners in Galway are struggling with their finances more than those anywhere else in the country, according to the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation.

And people at risk of losing family land along with their homes are amongst the biggest cohort approaching the IMHO for help.

David Hall, the ‘mortgage crusader’ who founded the IMHO, told the Connacht Tribune that by a 2:1 ratio, those pleading for help are from Galway.

He warned that without Government intervention, people will continue to lose their homes – repossession courts in Galway regularly have listings of more than 200 cases.

“We’ve done a couple of visits to Galway, and on one of those occasions we were there until 3am offering advice to people who were in trouble.

“Last weekend, I was in Galway socially, and people were approaching me. Out of everywhere I go, I find the highest number of people interacting is in Galway and the West. It’s a slam dunk by a 2:1 majority,” said Mr Hall.

At the moment, the IMHO – a not-for-profit debt solution organisation – is helping 97 clients in Galway.

But he said many more are ‘teetering on the brink’ and could face serious financial trouble if the household suffers a cut in income, or if the European Central Bank raises interest rates.

Mr Hall said he believes there are three reasons for Galway people’s struggles with their mortgage lenders – including the heavy concentration of banking ‘hubs’ here during the Celtic Tiger boom.

“Some of the banks had the heavy concentration of banking ‘hubs’ here during the Celtic Tiger boom.

“Some of the banks had major branches in Galway where they had lending independence, and with that authority came people borrowing a lot more than they could realistically afford to repay.

“People also waited a long to time get themselves organised, come forward and ask for help.

“Then we have the complication of houses with land around them, and the cross-securitisation of that land. This might be family land which is now set to be taken along with the house.

“I’ve been doing this for seven years, and one thing I’ve found is that people who are deeply in debt are under serious pressure and are not thinking straight, and asking for help is not always their first response.

“There may have been a job lost in the household, overtime payments may be gone, and arrears accumulate.

“Now consider what will happen if and when the European Central Bank increases interest rates. Those who are on the edge will be in serious trouble,” said Mr Hall.

He explained that people who lose their homes put further pressure on social housing demands and leads to further increases in homelessness.

Mr Hall suggested the Government needs to urgently identify those at risk of losing their homes and take over the property as a form of social housing.

Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man

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Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.

Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.

He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250,  the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

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