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Connacht Tribune

No room for hundreds at domestic abuse refuge

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A domestic abuse refuge was unable to accommodate 441 children and 258 women last year due to the lack of space.

The 2017 annual report for Cope Galway shows the charity had the busiest year since it was set up helping homeless people and those affected by domestic violence.

The startling figures show that 214 children – over one third more than in 2016 – were supported by its domestic abuse staff along with 339 women. Some 62 children received emergency accommodation in the Cope refuge.

“It is always a matter of regret when we consider the numbers of women and children we are unable to accommodate – 258 women with 441 children, on 326 different occasions in 2017. When a woman seeks refuge with us, she is never turned away,” states the report.

“The ‘unable to accommodate’ figure indicates the number of women and their children who wished to stay with us, but for whom we could not provide a room. For these women, we work closely with other refuges in neighbouring counties, so that they can be safe in the immediate term, until space opens at ours; we also provide emergency accommodation where another refuge is not available or appropriate.”

The Cope Outreach Service saw a surge of 17% in demand across towns throughout the county as well as its Galway City base.

“The number of women dropping in for support and advice also increased dramatically (up 75% – 200 women in 2017, 114 women in 2016), evidencing the very real need that women have for information and support, when faced with an abusive, violent or coercive domestic life,” according to the report.

The homeless leg of the charity had a 44% increase in those using the service. It worked with 1,588 people who experienced homelessness in Galway, including 576 children.

A total of 164 families were provided with or placed in emergency accommodation by Cope Galway over the course of the year. This represented a 125% increase on the 2016 figure of 73.

One worker described it as a tsunami of family homelessness that hit in May 2015 and has continued unabated since.

Some 61 families moved on from emergency accommodation with 35 of these securing social housing tenancies and a further 23 moving to homes in the private rented sector. The remaining three moved into transitional accommodation.

A growth in rough sleeping in the city was a major contributing factor for the increased numbers seeking help.

“Although there have always been incidences of people sleeping rough in Galway City at any given time, the numbers were far higher in 2017. This situation placed considerable pressure on already over stretched services with the result that emergency accommodation projects operated at 100% occupancy levels throughout the year,” states the report.

The annual Cold Weather Response to address rough sleeping over the winter months, put in place by Galway City Council with the support of the HS and based at based at the COPE Galway Teach Corrib Day Centre, was expanded from 14 beds to 31 beds for the winter of 2017/18 and accommodated a total of 165 individuals between January and April.

“Another challenge Cope Galway faced in 2017 was responding to those who were rough sleeping who were without habitual residency status and so were not eligible for welfare and housing supports and services. Language and communication difficulties further added to the challenges in working toward identifying and implementing solutions to the needs of a cohort of people who were destitute.”

Cope Galway CEO Jacquie Horan said the housing crisis was having an acute impact on children and adults across all their service areas.

“Children, from aged a few weeks old to those in their teens, will be affected by any exposure to domestic abuse in their homes.

“Families experiencing domestic abuse have very limited housing options to move from a violent or abusive home and, as a direct consequence of the housing crisis, children are often exposed to the effects of domestic abuse over a longer period of time,” she said.

Dr Carol Baumann, Cope Galway Domestic Abuse Service Manager, stressed that prolonged stress at a young age over a long period of time can be detrimental to a child’s physical and mental health as they grow up.

The planned new Cope refuge in the Magdalen convent is taking longer than planned, with best estimates for completion pushed out to late 2019.

Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Mayor of Galway, Cllr Michael Smyth, turning the first sod of the new £86,000 community centre at Shantalla on August 6, 1971

1921

Treatment of women

At the meeting of the Galway Board of Guardians on Wednesday, Mr. Pk. Thornton in the chair, a discussion took place regarding the admission of women with illegitimate children.

Mr. Cooke said that it was one of those questions which the Dáil Éireann was trying to solve. The assistant clerk said that Galway was only a small place in comparison to other places.

A member said that these people were coming in month after month, and it was perfectly scandalous.

Mrs. Young said that the practice should be stopped as in England. The assistant clerk said that they had laws of their own in England in regard to this matter. Mrs. Young said that it was a matter that the guardians should go into.

Clerk: So these women assist in washing and scrubbing, Mr. O’Toole?

Master: Yes, they do.

Mrs. Young: Until you tackle the thing, you can never make much headway. The nuns were terrified by some of them who absolutely refused to work.

Mr. Cooke: They should be cleared out.

Chairman: It is not fair for any able-bodied woman to be in the workhouse at the ratepayers’ expense.

The clerk said that this question was one of the most difficult which had confronted Dáil Éireann, and they were looking the matter up.

Profiteering black spot

Galway is the blackest spot in Ireland for profiteering. It is maintaining its inglorious record in extortion – a record that all but killed the race meeting some years ago and diverted the stream of visitors from the town for nearly a decade.

If this flagrant profiteering continues, it will have the result of reducing the city ultimately to poverty, whilst the few grow rich. The economic balance must be maintained. Elsewhere desperate efforts are being made to maintain it.

Prices must come back. Labour in Galway has done absolutely nothing to bring them back, because Labour in Galway appears to be less intelligently led than elsewhere. Yet unemployment is rife amongst us, poverty is already knocking consistently at the door of not a few, wages are falling and must fall.

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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