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Only one quarter of women and children in Galway get refuge



Accommodation shortage for those seeking shelter

Only 200 of the almost 800 women and children who sought safety from domestic violence could be accommodated by County Galway’s leading homeless charity last year.

In its annual report, COPE Galway said that the limitations of the current refuge services in the city and county seriously affected the organisation’s ability to respond to demand.

A significant rise in demand for domestic violence services, up 11% on the 2012 figure, is one of the most startling aspects of the report as the organisation provided safety and supports for 669 women and children throughout the year.

“More people were looking for a service, but we were able to accommodate less,” said COPE Galway CEO Jacquie Horan yesterday.

“The really big problem was that people were not able to move on from refuges or temporary accommodation.”

COPE Galway accommodated 346 single people and families who were homeless last year, and provided support for over 650 people who were affected by homelessness.

“While this represents an overall increase of 12%  in the numbers of people presenting for help in our homeless services, the numbers we were able to accommodate in emergency hostels were less than in 2012 (down 9%),” said Ms Horan.

“The reason for this is that a lack of affordable move on accommodation meant that people stayed longer in emergency accommodation (on average 50% longer) because they could not find suitable accommodation to move into.”

She said many people in Galway faced the threat of being made homeless last year after their landlords issued notice to quit, either to raise the rent or to sell properties.

“Rising rents, notice to quit and an inability to secure alternative accommodation are causing an ever increasing number of families to become homeless, many for the first time,” she told the Connacht Tribune.

She said the situation had reached “crisis point” due to rising rents and the lack of construction of new homes. Many properties available for rent in Galway were not accessible to those on social welfare and in recent of rent allowance.

As recently as last month, there were 45 families and 20 single people seeking accommodation with COPE’s assistance, yet effectively there was only one house available.

However, there was also good news for COPE Galway last year when the Sisters of Mercy donated a convent on Forster Street for use by the homeless charity.

Although the new refuge will not be available until 2016, Ms Horan said it would provide a massive boost to the organisation with the development of ten self-contained units.

“This will be renovated to provide a state of the art refuge which will cater for demand and offer much improved facilities in a location which is ideal both in terms of safety and access to local services and supports.”

Throughout last year, COPE also helped older people across Galway, supporting healthy aging at home and lunch clubs which allow people to come together.

Ms Horan thanked all of the people who support COPE’s work across the city and county.

“With ongoing support, COPE Galway can continue to highlight and address the issues facing the most vulnerable in our community,” she added.


Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway



Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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Connacht Tribune

Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time



A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.

Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.

Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.

So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.

The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.

Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.

He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.

Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.

Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.

Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.

His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.

This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.

The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.

It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.

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Connacht Tribune

‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting



A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.

At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.

“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.

This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.

One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.

“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.

None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.

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