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New Galway domestic violence refuge to open in 2016

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Plans to completely renovate what was formerly a Magdalen Laundry residential quarters in Galway City and turn it into a state of the art domestic violence refuge were unveiled yesterday.

Work is due to start on the project in March and it should be completed and fully operational by early 2016, replacing the current facility at Waterside, Woodquay, being run by COPE.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who attended the event, said it was unfortunate that reality demanded such a refuge but praised COPE for providing the service and the Western Branch of the Sisters of Mercy for donating the building on a 99 year lease to be used by women and children, the victims of domestic abuse.

As a symbol of new beginnings for the women and children – 625 women and children were catered for last year in Waterside and as many were turned away due to lack of space – Taoiseach Kenny planted a Silver Birch on the grounds before addressing an attendance of over 100.

The new refuge at 47 Forster Street will have nine self contained units, two of them duplexes for bigger family units, a children’s play area both inside and out, a communal kitchen and living room as well as offices and staff rooms.

They will be able to cater for more, according to Jacquie Horan, CEO of COPE Galway, as Waterside can only cater for six families in confined rooms with no outdoor play area and no kitchen at all following a fire at the premises in Woodquay over three years ago. It has long been declared not fit for purpose and had to turn people away from its doors at the weekend.

One in five women in Ireland are affected by domestic violence – two words, said An Taoiseach, which did not belong together.

“Home is where people come together, where you expect to let your guard down with your family, who expect to be protected in their own home. The idea that violence could invade that sacred space is something that should not only worry us but shock us,” he said.

He said society could no longer, if it ever did, accept domestic violence and he praised COPE Galway for having provided a refuge since the early Seventies.

“Galway is a magical city, according to COPE’s own brochure but there are women and children living in fear of their lives but COPE has provided services for them in a sensitive way protecting the privacy and dignity of these women and children.

“I want to commend all of COPE and its volunteers and the Sisters of Mercy for following in the footsteps of their founder, Catherine McCauley and moving forward in her spirit. I know this will be a haven for the future,” he added.

It will take at least €2.5million to redevelop the building – the Government has already approved funding of €1.6million by way of a Capital Assistance Grant from the Department of the Environment. An application for planning permission will be lodged with Galway City Council, located next door, this week.

A fundraising campaign is expected to raise the balance.

John Concannon, Chairman of COPE Galway said: “The community of Galway have been hugely positive and supportive towards this project and we are very appreciative of all the help we have received so far.

“I now invite the public to help in any way that they can, either by making a donation to the project or offering their services and expertise to complete the project and deliver this new Domestic Violence Refuge for women and children of Galway.”

Sr Elizabeth of the Western Branch of the Sisters of Mercy said they were delighted to get involved in the project following a request from Ms Horan almost two years ago if they would be interested in leasing or renting some space.

Read more in this week’s Connacht Sentinel

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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

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