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Number of Galway families made homeless doubles in a year



The most vulnerable in Galway City have been hit hard by the recession with the number of homeless families doubling in the space of a year.

 There has been an overall increase of 17% in the number of homeless people availing of emergency accommodation in the city, according to COPE Galway’s annual report,

 That increase was reflected across all household types but the most notable hike was in the number of families seeking emergency accommodation in 2012 – 24 families, up from 11 the previous year.

 The increase in the number of men was 12% (up to 226) and 15% in the number of women (up to 77).

 “This increase is not surprising, but is of great concern,” says Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO of COPE Galway.  “The impact of cuts in social welfare and other public services year on year is taking its toll, and the most vulnerable in our society are being impacted.

 “Reductions in secondary welfare benefits including rent supplement, changes to eligibility criteria and delays in the processing of applications for a range of welfare benefits are just some of the factors which have contributed to an increasing number of marginalised people in our community experiencing financial hardship and so being at risk of or becoming homeless,” he explained.

 Mr O’Connor said the reduction in rent supplement levels introduced in January 2012 combined with a shortage of affordable good standard rental housing and increasing rent levels in Galway City further compounded matters for individuals and families already struggling to get by.

 “A further knock-on effect of this was that people were remaining in emergency accommodation for longer periods of time as they struggled to find rental accommodation within the reduced rent supplement cap levels.”

 COPE is a Galway based charity which provides services for people who are experiencing and are at risk of homelessness, for women and children experiencing domestic violence, as well as Senior Support Services.

 Some 10% of single people who presented as homeless to COPE Galway in 2012 were aged under 25 years.

 COPE Galway, in their annual report, highlight that the shortage of affordable good standard housing in Galway City was an ongoing challenge throughout 2012 for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Rent levels continued to increase during 2012 in the city and this in turn resulted in people remaining in emergency homeless accommodation for longer periods of time.

 2012 also saw a 20% increase in the number of women and children provided with support by COPE Galway Domestic Violence Services, up from 500 in 2011 to 600 in 2012. 

Services also responded to over 750 crisis calls from, or on behalf of, women experiencing domestic abuse. Due to lack of space the refuge in Woodquay was unable to accommodate 214 women with 319 children over the course of the year with all families being offered referral to other refuges elsewhere in the country.

 Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel



Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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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