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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 5,000 students in Galway still scrambling for accommodation

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The student housing crisis continues to deepen as more and more students seek to defer their courses amid a dearth of accommodation.

The President of GMIT Students’ Union, Colin Kearney, told the Galway City Tribune that the deferral rate for courses was “way above previous years” – and raised concerns that there would be a deluge of dropouts once the deadline for payment of fees comes in October.

Up to 2,000 GMIT students were still scrambling for accommodation – and over 3,000 from NUIG – and crisis showed no sign of abating, he said.

With many students now facing a choice between abandoning their education or facing lengthy commutes with expensive hostel and hotel stays, the Government was failing young people, said Mr Kearney.

The student representative said not only was the city’s student bed capacity bursting at the seams, but areas in the county were also under pressure.

“For the first time ever, students are having problems finding accommodation in Mountbellew,” said Mr Kearney, where GMIT’s agricultural college is based.

“At our Letterfrack campus, where we do have on-campus accommodation, there are 30 names on the waiting list. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s about 10% of the student population there,” he continued.

In the city, GMIT students were reliant on private purpose-built accommodation or competing with renters in the private sector – and it was proving an impossible task for many.

“It’s all private – we have Glasán Student Village across the road [from the Dublin Road Campus] and Cúirt na Rasaí in Ballybrit – they’re both full,” said Mr Kearney of the purpose-built accommodation.

“There was another one – Tír na gCapall in Ballybrit – but that hasn’t been available to students since last year.”

There were several contributory factors making this year worse than any before, said Mr Kearney, but Covid had had been one of the most significant.

“Covid has had major implications. Digs [where students live with a homeowner] are extremely scarce this year because in many cases, people are afraid to have people staying in their homes because of Covid.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more on the student accommodation crisis – including the story of a student living in a hotel, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Salthill will NOT have one-way traffic under new cycleway plans

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Salthill will not be reduced to one-way traffic under plans for the new cycleway along the Promenade, following the intervention of the National Transport Authority in the controversy.

It was confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that a design is now being considered to “ensure the widest support possible”.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – which recently created cycleways in Dublin – will now be involved in the design process.

Last September, city councillors voted in favour of creating a two-way segregated cycle lane along the coastal side of the Prom from Grattan Road to Blackrock as a six-month trial.

However, it subsequently emerged that this would involve introducing one-way traffic along the Prom, with the outbound lane closed to make way for bicycles – this information has not been presented to councillors as they decided to vote on the cycle lane without any prior discussion.

Galway West TD and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, subsequently asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to intervene in the row.

“As a result of a meeting held last week between the NTA and the City Council, I can confirm that both parties are working to review proposals that will meet the objectives of the [City Council] motion while also looking to retain two-way traffic,” she said.

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

Criminal Assets Bureau targets two Galway families

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Garda raids at seven locations on the east side of the city earlier this week were aimed at ‘hitting in the pocket’ two families alleged to be heavily involved in the drugs trade, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Close to 100 personnel from different Garda and Customs specialist units were involved in the searches of residences in the Castle Park and Radharc na Gréine estates early on Tuesday morning.

According to Garda sources, they are confident that the raids – which also involved the seizure of a 191 Audi car worth an estimated €45,000+ in the Garryowen area of Limerick – will lead to arrests over the coming weeks and months.

Files have already started to be prepared for forwarding to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) in relation to the seizures on Tuesday which included €22,000 in cash; £4,450 in sterling; a range of high-value designer goods, as well as the freezing of €17,000 in a bank account.

Searches carried out prior to this week’s operation by specialist Garda units had resulted in the seizure of €18,680 in cash and the freezing of bank accounts to the value of €66,000. Two Rolex watches were also seized – these items have a value which can range between €10,000 and €100,000 each.

The strategy behind the CAB/Garda crackdown on illegal drugs gangs is based on striking at the finances of the local drug barons – as well as the seizure of cash/goods and the freezing of bank accounts, Revenue are closely involved in the ‘monitoring of income’ of the gang members with a view to issuing substantial tax bills.

Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins, who is in charge of crime operations in the Galway Garda Division, said this week’s searches were part of an ongoing operation aimed at tackling the sale and supply of illegal drugs across the city and county.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read more on the raids and Garda Asset Profilers, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cyberattack leaves HSE in the dark on children’s mental health in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The full extent of the waiting list for community mental health services for children is unknown because of the cyberattack on the HSE.

There were 48 young people in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon on a waiting list last March for the community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), according to the HSE.

Most of them were waiting less than 12 weeks, and seven of them were waiting between 12 and 26 weeks.

This is relatively good compared to other Community Healthcare Organisations in other parts of the country – the West made up just 2% of the 2,384 children nationally who were waiting for CAMHS referrals.

But the HSE has conceded that the data is not up to date – and so the full extent of waiting list in the West is not known.

“As a result of the recent cyberattack on HSE systems, the latest set of full data for the number of children waiting to be seen by CAMHS is from March 2021,” said Jim Ryan, Assistant National Director of the National Mental Health Services.

Mr Ryan was responding to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Galway West TD, Noel Grealish (Ind) and supplied to the Galway City Tribune.

He said that CAMHS provides specialist mental health care to children aged up to 18, “who have met the threshold for a diagnosis of moderate to severe mental health disorder that requires the input of a multi-disciplinary mental health teams”.

(Photo: The CAMHS unit at Merlin Park)

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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