A team of eight NUI Galway students are just back from a mercy mission to Zambia – where they combined their talents to build homes that will change the lives of two extended families forever.
The students – working with housing charity, Habitat for Humanity Ireland – spent two weeks in the community of Twapia, Ndola, helping Cecilia Soko and Malita Kapapila each build safe and decent homes for their families.
Chelsea McGowan, Emma Nolan, Grace Nihill, Jimmy McGovern, Niamh Finn, Shauna Healy, Shane Hughes and Sharon Murray also worked with locals on an advocacy programme to help them establish rights of succession – a massive problem in the poorest of African nations.
But it was in constructing the houses for the families of Cecila and Malita – both widows in their sixties – that had the lasting effect, according to one of the team, law student and NUIG Habitat for Humanity volunteer Sharon Murray, from Ballina, Co Mayo.
“The two Habitat homeowners were both widowed women, who were the caretakers of their grandchildren. We got to work alongside Cecelia and Malita on a daily basis. We weren’t just building houses alongside two families we had never met. We were building alongside people we had developed a unique bond with,” said Sharon.
Along with building two homes, Sharon and her teammates held a ‘Law in Action’ Will Writing workshop for Habitat homeowners in the Twapia community.
“I was truly blown away by the Habitat homeowners’ reactions towards the Will Writing presentation and their desire to learn more. The community’s hunger to learn about matters such as how to prevent property grabbing in the event of a homeowner’s death was something that could only be described as infectious,” said Sharon.
After recently returning home, Sharon would like to thank everyone in Galway who has supported her throughout the fundraising stage of her trip.
“None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for every single person who supported me in my fundraising. Without all of the generous donations, I could not have done this. I will never forget the time I spent in Zambia and I really hope I can return there someday.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me, Habitat for Humanity, my fellow team members and most importantly the people of Zambia. It truly was an experience I will remember and cherish forever,” said Sharon.
Habitat for Humanity has been building homes in Zambia since 1984. It provides holistic results focusing on the issues related to gender and vulnerable groups, such as secure tenure and inheritance rights.
Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped 6.8 million people to improve their housing conditions. It works in Ireland and 70 countries around the world.
In Zambia, two-thirds of the population live on less than US$1 a day. An estimated 74 percent of urban residents live in slums, where shelter is highly overcrowded and children face acute housing deprivation.
To date, Habitat for Humanity Zambia has served or affected a total of 99,558 vulnerable people in five out of ten regions in the country.
Habitat for Humanity Ireland’s Overseas Volunteering programme is open to members of the Irish public. No construction experience is necessary.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Cycle plans for Galway City get bumpy ride from councillors
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A €24 million plan to transform the greater urban area into a cycle friendly zone got a bumpy ride when introduced to city councillors at a meeting this week.
Councillors were presented with four consultants’ report outlining a framework for the narrowing of many city roads to facilitate cycle lanes and better pedestrian access.
However, several councillors hit out at the way the cycling proposals which were presented to them just hours before their scheduled meeting.
Former Mayor of Galway, Cllr Frank Fahey (FG) said that it just wasn’t good enough to have to consider such detailed proposals on city transport issues after only being emailed the details that morning shortly after 11am.
Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind), said that there was no joined-up thinking as regards the proposals and he asked if the residents of the east side of the city were consulted about what was being proposed.
“There is a real issue here with communication and consultation. We have businesses in Salthill that are down €25 million in terms of their business turnover and yet there was no consultation with them. It’s absolutely crazy going forward with no consultation,” said Cllr McDonnell.
Independent Knocknacarra councillor, Donal Lyons said that he had only received these detailed consultants’ reports just four hours before the meeting – he also wanted to know why Salthill was being treated differently to other areas.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the proposals, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Four-storey apartment block planned at Renmore cottage site
Planning permission has been sought to construct a four-storey apartment block and three two-storey homes on a 0.8-acre site off the Renmore Road.
K King Construction Ltd is proposing to demolish the existing cottage at 78 Renmore Road to create access to the site, which backs onto Nolan Park.
The plans include 19 residential units in all, consisting of three detached four-bed houses to the south of the site, adjacent to Dún na Mara; 10 two-bed apartments and six one-bed apartments, to be accessed by a new vehicular entrance road where the cottage currently stands.
According to the planning application, the development would provide “a positive net gain of new residential units on an under-utilised infill plot” on lands which are zoned ‘Residential’ in the City Development Plan.
Some 22 car parking spaces are to be provided on-site – two for each detached house and one space per apartment unit; in addition, 34 covered bicycle parking spaces are provided for.
Each apartment will have a balcony while a children’s playground is proposed for an area south of the apartment block.
The materials and finish of the buildings are to be similar to those used in the adjacent Dún na Mara development that was completed in recent years by the same developer.
The development would include provision for new pedestrian access for residents to Nolan Park/Renmore Playing Fields by utilising “previously inaccessible” recreation and amenity lands.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.