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CITY TRIBUNE

New Galway clinic for male domestic abuse victims

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An organisation that provides aid for men suffering from domestic abuse is introducing a monthly outreach clinic in Galway City.

Amen Support Services’ outreach clinic programme will commence on Tuesday, October 10 at Westside Resource Centre, Seamus Quirke Road.

This will be the first time Amen will be in a position to provide support in person to male victims of domestic abuse in the Galway area.

Information will be provided free of charge on a one-to-one person basis in relation to their rights on family issues such as domestic abuse, guardianship, access, maintenance, custody, separation etc.

Manager of Amen Niamh Farrell has been working for the charity for ten years and she says that the new service will offer an additional route for victims to get help.

“The problem with having only the helpline is that it puts certain people off ringing us because they assume that a service that’s based a couple of hundred miles away can’t help them.

“We would have a good few clients ringing from Galway and this is a step further for them. It will give them more of a connection with us if they can meet somebody face to face.

“The hope is as well that it will encourage more people to come forward who currently are put off by the fact that our base is in Meath,” Niamh added.

Recently, there have been advertisements on the radio and the television to encourage victims of domestic abuse to come forward but there is still a stigma surrounding abuse against men.

“Much of it is around misinformation and lack of understanding of the issue so if we can get into communities and encourage people to break down that stigma then hopefully the people will come forward,” Niamh said.

Niamh admits that another problem for male sufferers of domestic abuse has been the lack of awareness surrounding the services on offer to them.

“Of course, first they have to identify with themselves the need for support whatever the case may be but even when they do that, they just assume that there are no services for them because they only ever hear about services for women.

“If they do identify as a victim and then realise that there are supports available for them then it says: ‘Well it must be okay to look for help because there are services there’,” Niamh said.

The problem with many charities is a lack of manpower and funding available to them and Niamh says that Amen is no different in that regard.

“Up until this year we only had three full-time staff and we now have four full time staff and four part-time staff.

“We certainly know that we are not reaching the masses of people that we could be reaching had we more physical people but hopefully these outreach clinics are a start,” Niamh added.

In the ten years that Niamh has been working at Amen, this is the first year that she has seen brand-new additional funding for projects like the outreach clinics and she hopes this support can continue.

“If we can go to Galway and we can encourage people to come to the clinics then we can go back to funders and say look there are a lot more services needed in Galway, for example, or wherever, and look for additional funding to address the needs of those people,” she said.

Something Niamh has noticed recently is that some callers seem to be of a younger age, which can actually be a positive thing in terms of finding a solution.

“It’s good to see because they can be helped at an earlier stage in the problem, if they come to us in their 20s they may not have bought a house with their partner or they may not be married to this person at that time so it’s a different solution.”

■ For further information or to make an appointment, contact the Amen helpline on 0818 222240.

CITY TRIBUNE

Cost of new Emergency Dept in Galway jumps to half a billion euro

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The projected cost for the new Emergency Department and maternity unit at University Hospital Galway (UHG) has now reached half a billion euro.

And the bureaucracy involved in getting it off the ground means its expected completion has been pushed back until 2027 at the earliest.

The project – described by the head of the Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan, as the single largest infrastructural health project ever to be built in the West – still has some major hurdles to overcome before a shovel is put into the ground.

In an update at this week’s HSE Regional Health Forum West meeting, Councillor Declan McDonnell (IND) remarked that 2026 was the predicted opening for the new facility, yet the planning application had not even been submitted.

“Could it be ten more years?” he asked.

Councillors heard that a new Public Spending Code was brought in for projects predicted to cost over €100 million after the Saolta group had submitted a cost benefit analysis review which they were required to do under the old rules.

As a result of the change, management had to belatedly prepare a Strategic Assessment Report and a ‘Preliminary Business Case’ report. The first had been submitted to the national HSE last month and the latter was almost ready to send to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Assistant National Director of Estates in the HSE, Joe Hoare, said the final figure for the project would be “four to five times the €100m figure”.

(Photo: The temporary Emergency Dept under construction at the moment at UHG)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the May 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Street closures for outdoor dining in Galway challenged to An Bord Pleanála

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – An appeal has been lodged with An Bórd Pleanála challenging the legitimacy of road closures to facilitate hospitality businesses in Galway City this summer.

Galway City Council, following on from last year’s trial of on-street hospitality, introduced street closures again this year.

It is part of the Council’s ‘outdoor living’ strategy to encourage more footfall and to boost businesses – in particular pubs and restaurants – in the city centre.

The local authority has closed Small Crane, Raven Terrace, Dominick Street Upper, William Street West, Forster Street and Woodquay during certain hours in the evenings from May to October.

But a resident of Munster Avenue has referred the closures to An Bórd Pleanála and asked that it determine whether the closures constitute development and whether or not it is ‘exempted development’.

Exempted development does not require planning permission. If the Board finds that the closures are development and that the development was not ‘exempted’, then the street closures and the process they were introduced under, could be undermined and deemed to be contrary to planning laws.

An Bórd Pleanála confirmed the case had been referred to it for adjudication but it said it does not comment on ‘live’ cases. It is due to make a decision by September. The appellant who referred the case could not be contacted for comment.

Johnny Duggan, owner of Taylor’s Bar, member of West End Traders’, and chair of the Galway City Vintners’ Association, insisted the street closures were exempted development did not require planning permission and it was all above board.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the May 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Two tonnes of waste in canal – ‘the cost of outdoor living’ in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two tonnes of waste removed from the Claddagh Basin and Eglinton Canal during a clean-up last weekend is the cost of the pandemic transition to outdoor lifestyles, according to a Galway City Council official.

“Unfortunately, there has been an environmental cost to the outdoor lifestyles adopted during the pandemic. From the recent clean-up, we took out a huge amount of pint glasses, beer and wine bottles, bikes and even shopping trolleys. We all need to do our bit and use the bins provided in the city and not throw anything into the watercourses,” said Tiarnan McCusker, Environmental Awareness Officer for the Council.

Mr McCusker said that during the pandemic there was a “huge increase” in litter across the country, including in Galway City.

In response to this, the Council installed more bins in locations across the city and increased the size of the bins.

Mr McCusker attributed the amount of waste to the groups gathering outdoors during the pandemic.

“A lot of people were out drinking and congregating in the canals and generating a huge amount of waste by throwing things into them,” he said.

Councillor Niall McNelis – who is also chair of the Galway Tidy Towns Committee – said: “We want to make sure that these areas are well cleaned, and it’s not just a matter of the magicians that come in every morning and clean up the city when were all asleep in bed and clean up the mess from the night before. It takes a speciality to go into the water to clean up what they’ve done, and they’ve done an amazing job.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the May 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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