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CITY TRIBUNE

More sleeping on city’s streets as emergency beds close

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Around half-a-dozen more people have been forced to sleep on the streets over the past fortnight, because they do not meet Galway City Council criteria for homeless service provision.

The city’s homelessness crisis has worsened since the closure of the 14 additional ‘Cold Weather Response’ beds at the beginning of April, when that service had been scheduled to end.

Already, the city’s Chief Executive has admitted the problem is worse in Galway that any other city in the country.

The Galway City Tribune understands that on Sunday, April 2 – the final night of the ‘winter beds’ – there were 14 homeless people accommodated at the centre on Seamus Quirke Road.

The following night, nine of those people showed up at the Fairgreen Hostel – five were given blankets and the others were forced to sleep rough.

A source within the homeless services told this newspaper they are aware of “at least six” new faces sleeping rough as a result of the closure of the emergency beds.

To qualify for emergency homeless accommodation, a person must first be assessed by the City Council.

“A person must show that Galway is a ‘centre of interest’ – that they have a reason to be here – if they are to be eligible for emergency homeless accommodation. But the reality for a lot of people who are homeless is that they don’t have a centre of interest.

“The winter beds have been a specific initiative for the past eight or nine years, and every year this comes up when they close. People are aware the beds will be closing, but a case worker should be appointed a few weeks beforehand to ensure there is a transition to other accommodation.

“There is a guy in Galway right now who was in a bed on the Sunday night, and he now hasn’t a place anywhere. And there are at least five other people wandering around looking for a squat.

“Ultimately, the buck stops with the City Council, as it is their Housing Department which decides if you are eligible for emergency homeless accommodation,” the homeless services source said.

COPE’s Fairgreen Hostel accommodates 26 men, and its women’s hostel at Osterley Lodge in Salthill houses up to 13 single women and women with children.

Galway City Council said it could not comment on individual cases, but issued the following statement: “I wish to confirm that Galway City Council’s Homeless Unit are working proactively with service providers and other statutory agencies in implementing the actions in the Homeless Action Plan both locally and regionally to meet the needs of the those who have become homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“As part of its implementation, the cold weather response is a winter initiative that is put in place nationally every winter to meet the needs of those people with high or complex needs. Work is ongoing with the various service providers to encourage and support people to progress out of homelessness,” the statement reads.

A spokesperson subsequently said the closure of the winter beds would obviously have consequences, but the Council’s Housing Section and COPE Galway do not have any new site identified.

“Anyone who is in danger of homelessness will be accommodated and dealt with by COPE Galway on our behalf,” he added.

At a meeting of the City Council in January, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said that pro-rate, homelessness is a bigger problem in Galway than in other cities, but said “anybody who needs a bed will get one”.

He added that nobody on the streets of Galway City needed to be there, because there was an offer of a bed for them, but some people had chosen not to engage with the homeless services or take up an offer of a bed.

CITY TRIBUNE

City Council’s contempt for the public it serves

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A City Council picture showing an aerial view of work on the new pedestrian bridge. The local authority has not covered itself in glory when it comes to informing the public about road closures to facilitate the project.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway City Council appears to just do what it wants when it wants.

Last Friday, it officially closed a road at Newtownsmyth. It will be closed until October 28.

The closure, which was to commence last Friday, September 23, was to facilitate construction works on the new bridge at Salmon Weir for pedestrians and cycling.

It is essential work and the closure is necessary for health and safety purposes.

The City Council, as is only right and proper, advertised the closure in advance, online and in a free-sheet newspaper. So far, so good.

Except, as anyone who knows Newtownsmyth is aware, that road has been closed for weeks and even months prior to the September 23 official closure start date.

Trying to find the City Council’s closure order, and public notice, for closing the road at Newtownsmyth prior to September 23 has proved as difficult as sourcing the Third secret of Fatima.

Requests to City Hall’s communications department to confirm whether the Council had a legitimate closure order prior to September 23 have not shone any light on the subject.

And so, in the absence of an adequate response, is it reasonable to conclude that the Council did not have permission to close Newtownsmyth prior to September 23?

And if that’s the case, can the Council now just go around closing roads willy-nilly, without notice and without allowing input from residents and users of the road?

Maybe it was a mistake. If it was, why not say so? The Galway public is forgiving. Maybe they had gone through proper procedure, but why not just show us the notice if that’s the case?

For too long now, though, City Councillors have been treated with contempt by the unelected executive at City Hall and the suspicion is this closure without notice was just another manifestation of that contempt spreading to the public too.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

City sides will fancy chances of advancing as champions face Corofin

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Bearna's James Kennedy hits the deck in Ballinasloe on Tuesday as Annaghdown's Frankie Burke and Darragh Meehan try to chase down possession. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The battle for this year’s county Senior Gaelic football club title looks to be wide open after the quarter-final draw was made this week following the delayed conclusion of the group stages on Tuesday night.

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who finished second in group 2, have been handed a last eight tie with a Tuam Stars side that finished third in group 1; while St Michael’s, who topped Group 3, will face an Annaghdown side that nabbed the final quarter-final spot in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.

They went into their game with Bearna knowing they needed to win by a minimum of 12points to pip Milltown to the final qualifying spot as the second best of the teams that finished third in the group stages.

They looked to be coming up just short until they were awarded a late free, which goalkeeper James Healy converted, to snatch that remaining quarter-final slot on socring difference form Milltown.

The 2020 champions, Moycullen, will take on Claregalway in the last eight; while the pick of the ties is undoubtedly the clash of defending champions, Mountbellew/Moylough, with a Corofin side that was denied the five-in-a-row by Moycullen two years ago.

At the other end of the equation, St James’ are in a relegation battle, and face a clash with An Spidéal in the preliminary play-offs. A win will secure their senior status for another year, but a defeat will see them join Oughterard, An Cheathru Rua, and the losers of the other preliminary play-off between Caherlistrane and Monivea/Abbey in a round robin league, with the bottom two sides in those play-offs dropping to the intermediate ranks next year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Play-offs dress rehearsal facing Utd against Treaty

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Former Galway United player Enda Curran celebrates his recent hat-trick for Treaty United in their FAI Cup quarter-final win over UCD. The in-form Mervue native will be facing the Tribesmen in a First Division clash on Friday.

GALWAY United head to Limerick this Friday evening for what is looking like a dress rehearsal for the end-of-season play-offs as they take on Treaty United in the Markets Field (7.45pm).

This is United’s game-in-hand over league leaders, Cork City, and a win will see them close the gap on the Leesiders to four points with three games remaining, and while a win would give the slightest of hopes of a late challenge for league honours, it is more likely to serve as a further boost to confidence ahead of the protracted play-off series that kicks-off at the end of next month.

United need to win their final four games to have any hope of snatching the title, and given the goal difference between the sides, they also need to hope that City don’t pick up more than four points from their last three games, if they are to finish top of the pile.

United’s last three games after this weekend are at home to Athlone, away to Wexford, and home to Longford Town; while City are home to Wexford, away to Athlone, and home to Bray, the easier of the two run-ins, so for United it is all about building momentum ahead of the play-offs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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