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Political and campaigning reaction to latest report on Tuam Mother and Baby Home

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Galway Bay fm newsroom:

A legal expert has given the go-ahead to collect DNA from the survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in an effort to identify their relatives.

Family law expert Geoffrey Shannon says this won’t breach privacy laws.

The Department of Children will have to draft legislation to pave the way for biological samples to be collected.

It’s hoped that human remains can be returned to relatives.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for children, Anne Rabbitte, says Dr Shannon’s report must be backed up with immediate legislation.

Meanwhile, the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance has provided the following statement to FYI Galway:

Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance

We
are particularly pleased to see that Dr. Shannon proposes the
opportunity to take DNA samples in a timely fashion via a voluntary
administrative scheme.  Such biological samples from relatives would
then be stored securely until legislation is in place.  This is
essentially what our members, namely  Sana Tansey and Emer Quirke
proposed and which Taoiseach Varadkar admitted was a reasonable request.

It
is comforting to note that no DNA profiles can be constructed arising
out of the samples until  legislation  is in place and we are assured it
is possible to generate DNA from the remains of the lost children.  The
DNA is being collected for that sole purpose.  The safe storage of DNA
is paramount and we are provided with an assurance it  will not be
available or used for any  purpose other than matching.  If the
possibility is not there to match for any reason, then the DNA will be
destroyed.  It is valuable data and must be treated as such.  Advises we
have received suggest the possibilities of advancing technologies
providing new opportunities all the time; only a couple of months ago
another victim of 9/11 was identified some eighteen years later.

DNA
collection being  voluntary, open to the individuals concerned who
will  provide informed consent.   Ownership rights and compliance with
GDPR legislation underpin the process – with ownership of their own DNA
as recommended by Dr. Shannon  remaining  the property of the
participant who has the authority to withdraw consent and therefore from
the process at any stage.  This is a most welcome suggestion.  Further
the opportunity for the participant to nominate a person in the event
that they pass away prior to completion of the process ensures the
opportunity for matching continues for a period.

The
Minister on speaking to us yesterday mentioned that she would request
her Department officials to put in place a voluntary administrative
programme.  Our Alliance with two experts working in the field  who
initially  proposed this model  hope  to  contribute in an advisory
capacity as we suggested this to the Minister.  Also advised and welcome
is the recommendation to communicate throughout the process  with those
most affected.

Finally,
we are grateful to Dr. Shannon for  this report, which looks favourably
on our request to begin the process of banking DNA from concerned
family members and survivors without the necessity of awaiting a lengthy
legislation process  and thank him for the  person-centered approach he
has undertaken, advocating for those who are the most vulnerable.  

– Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance

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259 domestic violence orders granted in Galway last year

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Judges granted domestic violence orders to 259 people in Galway last year.

Figures obtained from the Courts Service through freedom of information show 227 such applications were refused in Galway for the period.

43 percent of applications for domestic violence orders in Dublin and Cork last year were refused.

More at 9 as Sarah Benson, the Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, says the statistics are a concern…

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Galway 2020 set to host 1900 events next

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The city and county are set to play host to 1,900 events across 154 projects as part of Galway 2020’s European Capital of Culture.

The programme was officially launched in Eyre Square last evening with a colourful performance spectacle.

In recognition of Ireland’s historic traditions, the programme will be based around the four fire seasons of Ireland’s ancient Celtic calendar.

Galway 2020 will begin on February the 1st with what organisers describe as a week-long of fiery celebrations erupting in towns and villages across the county.

This will culminate in a large public ceremony and spectacle on February 8th in Galway city.

Other highlights include Druid Theatre which will take Ireland’s greatest 20th century one-act plays to towns and villages across the county.

Connemara landscape will also be illuminated as part of the programme in a spectacle by Finnish light artist Kari Kola.

Galway will also join with Boston, Belfast and Nashville to host concerts by transatlantic stars of country, blues, gospel, folk and bluegrass.

The European Capital of Culture which began in 1985 aims to provide Europeans with opportunities to learn more about each other’s cultures, to enjoy their shared history and values and to experience the feeling of belonging to the same European community.

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Crowds gather at Eyre Square for performance spectacle to mark to beginning of Galway 2020 journey

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Crowds are gathering in the Autumn sunshine at Eyre Square this evening as Galway prepares to officially mark the beginning of its 2020 journey with a performance arts spectacle.

The city centre will host the launch of the 2020 programme of events for Galway’s year as European Capital of Culture from 6pm.

Organisers will reveal over 1,900 events set to take place throughout next year across the city, county and islands of Galway, with 30 projects celebrating the Irish language.

The Galway 2020 programme will focus on the themes of language, landscape and migration, and is designed to celebrate the diverse cultures around Europe.

As crowds gather, a large crane is visible with an acrobat suspended, while earplugs are being distributed to the crowd.

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