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Recession forcing more to flee home violence in Galway



Date Published: 10-Dec-2012


By Dara Bradley


The ongoing recession has contributed to a surge in the numbers of Galway women fleeing the family home with their children to escape domestic violence.

A Galway-based charity said that financial hardship caused by the recession was adding to tensions within marriages, and increasing incidents of women seeking refuge from abusive husbands.

COPE Galway said that its refuge is too small to accommodate the sheer volume of women fleeing an abusive partner – in a minority of cases, women are forced to return to the home in which they are abused due to a lack of suitable refuge space.

In fact, demand for its women’s domestic violence accommodation centre in the city is in such great demand that COPE has had to refer almost as many women and children to services outside of Galway as it has assisted because of a lack of space.

COPE released startling figures yesterday, which showed that 108 women with 175 children were supported through the Waterside House Domestic Violence refuge located near Galway Courthouse, a ‘safe house’ for women and children getting away from a violent partner.

But it can only accommodate six women and up to 15 children at any one time and COPE confirmed that a further 199 women and 300 children were referred to other counties because of the lack of space. “We would refer them to Athlone or Limerick, but that’s not always practical, or we might put them up in B&Bs,” said COPE’s director of development, Fintan Maher.

Mr Maher said families’ financial woes were heightening tensions within the home and leading to domestic violence. Years ago, during the good times, couples would separate but that might not be an option now, he said, when explaining the possible reasons for the increase.

COPE’s two other services for women have also experienced increases in the numbers of women with children presenting.

Osterley Lodge, in Salthill, designed mainly to accommodate single women, experienced a 100% increase in the number of women with children using the service in 2012, the charity said. Some 22 women with 32 children were accommodated at the hostel for homeless women in the first 11 months of 2012.

Teach Corrib Homeless Day Centre, on the Seamus Quirke Road, which is a non-residential facility for homeless women or women on the verge of homelessness, worked with 74 families this year with 167 children, which is an increase of 30% on last year.

The three COPE services combined, Osterley Lodge, Teach Corrib and Waterside House, provided accommodation and assistance to some 374 children this year.

Mr Maher said the Government’s “short sighted” cuts to child benefit in the Budget would drive more women and children into crisis and into seeking COPE’s help.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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