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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Penny-pinching’ HSE slammed for attitude to care for elderly

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The HSE has been accused by Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish of encouraging families of older people to use day care centres as a money-saving alternative to nursing home care.

He told the Dáil that people with alcohol addiction problems were also being similarly diverted from hospital in Galway to an addiction treatment centre in the county run by a voluntary rehabilitation organisation.

Speaking in favour of a motion tabled by Independent TD last week seeking greater homecare supports for older people, Deputy Grealish paid tribute to the work done by day care centres, like the one in Claregalway, to help older people continue to live independent healthy lives.

But, he claimed that more and more, and especially over the past number of months, the HSE were actually telling older people to go out there rather than go into residential care.

“They tell the families, that it’s actually cheaper to put them into the day care centre than to put them into the nursing home.

“They are actually using the day care centres now as nursing homes and they are not giving one iota of money to the day care centres to provide that service.

“I think that is an absolute scandal, there’s health care workers doing that, and it’s going on around the country,” said Deputy Grealish.

He said the same practice was happening in relation to Cuan Mhuire, the charitable drug, alcohol and gambling rehabilitation organisation which operates a centre in Coolarne, Turloughmore.

“A person who goes into a hospital with a drink problem is told to get there. The hospital pays a taxi out to Cuan Mhuire … and they tell Sister Consilio ‘that is your problem now, not our problem’.

“That is what is going on out there and that has to be addressed urgently.”

Deputy Grealish also made an appeal for a new day care centre for older people in Claregalway, to replace the current facility, which opened in 2012 after a group of local people got together to provide a day care service for people of the village and surrounding area.

“They have got planning permission for a new day care centre in Claregalway, an elderly retirement village. The land was given free of charge by a local farmer, to build this new day care centre and to build nine or ten independent living units.

“And fair play to the Department of the Environment, they are providing the funding to build the independent units, but nobody wants to give funding toward the construction of the day care centre.”

He urged the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, to look into the matter and see could funding be provided by the State for the facility.

The Galway West TD said that the current centre was supported by fully qualified staff and care assistants, and a wheelchair accessible bus service was available to bring people to and from the centre.

But while it did get funding from the HSE, it was barely enough to pay for even one month of services provided throughout the year.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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