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CITY TRIBUNE

Plans still in pipeline for ‘Bish’ move to Dangan

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The move of St Joseph’s College (the Bish) from its current site in Nuns’ Island has once again come into focus, as plans are made for the regeneration of the entire area.

Since the early 2000s, a site on NUI Galway-owned lands has been earmarked for a new school – and in the current City Development Plan, councillors approved a material alteration to make way for the school’s move.

Funding for a new build has been secured from the Department of Education, but as yet, final approval has not been granted by officials.

That’s according to Chairperson of the school’s Board, Myles McHugh, who confirmed that it was still their intention to move westwards.

“The Bish needs a new school and it is our intention to apply for planning permission for a school at Dangan – on what are currently grounds owned by the University.

“That would involve a land-swap but it is all subject to planning permission and subject to Department of Education approval,” said Mr McHugh.

The proposal involves the Bish handing over its site in Nuns’ Island to the University in return for a four-acre site between NUI Galway’s hockey pitch and the N59 Moycullen Road, opposite Dangan Heights.

The University has also granted permission for the school to utilise its sports facilities – with the current site in Nuns’ Island is too small to provide any room for most extra-curricular activities.

Plans had been put on hold while the route of the N6 Galway City Ring Road (commonly referred to as the ‘outer bypass’) was still under consideration.

But now that plans for that project have been finalised, the way has been cleared to progress with the school’s move.

According to Mr McHugh, once the Department has given the go-ahead, the Board of Management will move to apply for planning permission.

“It is our wish, at St Joseph’s, that we will move to planning permission in the near future and be able to apply the funding already set aside by the Department of Education for a new school.

“We hope to apply for permission this year to build the new school at Dangan – that is the intention of the Board of Management. After that, our interest in Nuns’ Island will no longer exist,” said Mr McHugh, adding that a move in the near future was crucial to ensuring the school’s over 750 students had the best facilities available to them.

President of NUI Galway, Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh confirmed that the University was still open to the move and that the site where the Bish currently stands would be included in the master plan for Nuns’ Island.

CITY TRIBUNE

Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service

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The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Park fun to mark Africa Day

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Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’

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At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon

BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON

A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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