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New domestic violence refuge gets go-ahead

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The old Magdalen Convent in Forster Street: to house new domestic violence refuge.

BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM

Plans to convert the former Magdalen convent building on Forster Street – for use as a €2.5 million domestic violence refuge – have been given the green light by Galway City Council.

COPE Galway has been granted permission for modifications to the existing building, which is a Protected Structure, and extensions to provide nine self-contained residential units, staff accommodation, offices, outreach facilities, meeting rooms, playrooms and a childcare facility.

COPE provides a range of services for women who are victims of domestic violence and the proposal is part of a planned replacement for the existing facilities at Waterside House which are no longer fit for purpose.

Planners approved the application, although they ordered that a conservation professional, an archivist and an archaeologist be employed on the site to monitor works, records items of significance and advise on how to proceed with works.

Construction and demolition work has been restricted to between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

A traffic management plan for the construction phase must also be submitted to the Council, as well as access arrangements for the public to the church and graveyard.

The ground floor will include independent living units, offices, meeting rooms and training rooms, while an extension will be built to house a teenage day area and playrooms. Outdoors, there will be a secure play area and a covered play area.

The first and second floors will include further independent living areas.

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Tuam students have warm welcome for Eddie, the Labrador who is already top of the class

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Eddie the dog, Tuam's Mercy Convent newest addition.

A North Galway school has unveiled their newest member – Eddie, the three-year-old Labrador dog.

The new canine recruit works as a therapy, or education, aid for students in Mercy Secondary School, Tuam – and he has already been a huge hit with students.

Scoil Bhride Principal Gearoid Leen has described the dog as an essential part of the learning process within the school.

The pure-bred Labrador is one of just eight community dogs that have been assigned to schools across the country.

This week, the new arrival was introduced to students and parents as part of the learning process. The presence of the dog relaxes students and, apparently, helps with their concentration.

Eddie’s fourth birthday is on March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day – and, such is his instant popularity, the students have a special celebration in mind.

The newest addition to the secondary school has been trained by the Irish Guide Dogs Association and Eddie, along with his trained handlers Sarah Molloy and Catherine Murphy, now becomes part of the essential learning process within the school.

The Labrador and his handlers work alongside the teachers and educational staff in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions.

Together, Eddie and his handlers participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Parents have responded positively to the new arriva, saying that more schools should try and apply for the scheme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Claregalway traffic plan is still stuck in neutral

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Stuck...another setback for Claregalway traffic calming scheme.

The long-awaited traffic calming scheme in Claregalway has suffered yet another setback – with engineers now looking at an ‘alternative solution’ amid a dispute over land acquisition.

A meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District heard the Council was seeking to acquire privately-owned lands to progress a surface water drainage scheme at the bridge – but despite protracted negotiations, the Council had hit ‘difficulties in finding a solution’.

Until the surface water issue was sorted, the long-approved traffic calming scheme could not progress and because of the delays, the local authority was now looking at an alternative plan.

Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind) hit out at what he called ‘inordinate delays’ to progressing the scheme and said it was almost three years since Councillors approved planning permission for the traffic calming scheme.

“People can only put up with so much and this is a national primary road,” said Cllr Cuddy.

“Claregalway seems to be a forgotten area – an area totally neglected by the Council and by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).”

Regular road flooding outside Centra in the town meant a drainage scheme was required and Senior Engineer Damien Mitchell said the traffic calming scheme would not go ahead until that was completed.

“We are still having trouble acquiring the land at the bridge. It is quite sensitive at the moment and we are looking at alternatives because it is taking so long to find a solution.

“We thought we were reaching a solution recently but the situation has changed again,” said Mr Mitchell.

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.

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

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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

Domestic violence hits Covid heights

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Galway saw a 43 per cent hike in the number of Garda call-outs for domestic violence last year compared to before the pandemic.

But experts have warned the worst may be yet to come – with predictions that people fleeing domestic violence are more likely to present now that restrictions are lifted and services resume.

That’s the fear of Dr Carol Baumann, head of the domestic abuse service at Cope Galway which runs Galway’s refuge Modh Eile House. The service has seen a twelve per cent increase in demand in the last year compared to pre-pandemic times.

It corresponds with an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents responded to by Galway Gardaí in 2021.

Figures released by the Aontú party found there were 1,792 domestic violence incidents reported to Gardaí here, a jump of 285 compared to 2020 and a hike of 539 incidents on the figures for 2019. That’s an increase of 19 and 43 per cent respectively.

Dr Baumann believes these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the situation on the ground.

“In general women only go to the guards where physical abuse has taken place or there is a risk of it, but abuse is much more pervasive. At the moment life is feeling abnormal and when the world is not feeling stable, you’re not going to destabilise it more by seeking help,” she opined.

“I think the real increase will come after the pandemic not during it.

“When you don’t feel safe, when you feel you have no control, you don’t have autonomy over your choices, that’s domestic violence. The pandemic aggravated that, but it didn’t cause it. What the pandemic did was unmask intimate partner abuse – urging us to limit our contacts, limit our movements, that was music to the ears of somebody who wanted to abuse a partner.”

She fears that many will be coming to the end of their tether after a long two years of restrictions being imposed and lifted.

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.

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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