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Walsh tops local Dáil register of interests

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Outgoing Galway West TD Brian Walsh will be retiring from politics to an extensive property portfolio which includes apartments, retail and industrial premises, according to the latest Dáil Register of Interests.

Mr Walsh – who announced his resignation as a TD on health grounds last January – has listed his occupation as being income derived from rental properties.

The Register – published last week – lists occupations; share ownership; directorships; land ownership (including property); gifts; property supplied or lent or services supplied; travel facilities; remunerated positions and contracts.

Mr Walsh owns a house in Mervue, as well as apartments in Wellpark, the Docks, in Sligo, and one at Foley Street in Dublin. He also owns a retail unit and two apartments at Briarhill Shopping Centre in Galway and a 5% share in an adjacent site.

He has a 10% share in industrial premises at Parkmore and Mervue Industrial Estates and a one-quarter share of a commercial property in Briarhill Business Park. He also owns a quarter-acre site in Merlin Park and a half-acre site in Roscam which is intended for family use. There is planning permission for one house on each site.

Mr Walsh is listed as a director, in a voluntary capacity, as a non-executive director of Mervue Community Childcare Group Ltd and Mervue Creche Ltd, both non-profit childcare groups. He is also a voluntary director of Galway Premier Car Sales Ltd, with an address at the Tuam Road Retail Centre. Mr Walsh is also a director of BTW Mortgages and Investments Ltd., which is dissolved.

His former party colleague, Ciarán Cannon, is the only Galway TD who owns a holiday home. The property is in the small village of Banyuls-dels-Aspres in the Languedoc-Rousillon region in the south of France, which is close to the border with Spain.

He is an executive director of Gate Lodge Properties Ltd in Carrabane Athenry (which operates the Gate Lodge pub) and is listed as an executive director of the Carrabane Community Development Company Ltd.

Independent Deputy Noel Grealish has declared a house in Cregmore, Claregalway and an apartment in Dublin, which are rented, as well as 15 acres of farmland in Carnmore. He also owns an unoccupied 8,800 square foot unit in Briarhill Business Park. He also owns 100% of GCC Galway Glass Centre Ltd, which has been in liquidation since 2012.

Seán Kyne (FG) has declared his wife’s home in Athlone which is currently rented out, while his father’s company in Moycullen has contracts to supply sand and gravel to the City and County Councils, Inland Fisheries, NUI Galway and Údaras na Gaeltachta.

Fine Gael’s John O’Mahony – who failed to win a seat in Galway West – owns an apartment on the Sean Mulvoy Road in the city for rent or family use. He also owns a non-habitable house and two hectares at Magheraboy, Mayo which is not used; a two-bed bungalow in Ballaghaderreen and a quarter-share of a shop in Claremorris which is rented.

He receives an income as a landlord, a Department of Education pension and from writing newspaper columns.

Paul Connaughton Jnr (FG) – who lost his seat in Galway East – declared farmland in Mountbellew.

Retiring Galway East Fianna Fáil TD Micheál Kitt declared 630 shares in Irish Life & Permanent and 131 shares in Vodafone. He is a retired teacher, but was not in receipt of a teacher’s pension when the Register was compiled. Michael Fitzmaurice, the Independent TD in the new Roscommon-Galway constituency, has listed his occupation as agricultural contractor, plant hire, turf contracting and farming.

He has one share worth one euro in the Kilcolm Co-op Water Scheme (a voluntary group water scheme where he is also chairman) and is Chair of the Turf Cutters and Contractors’ Association representative group.

“Although we set out our stall to Government, this is a voluntary representative group. The position is not paid nor expenses. There is no financial reward, in fact it costs me money,” Deputy Fitzmaurice noted in his filings.

He owns farm land at Strangeforth, Keelogues and Curragh in Williamstown.

Deputy Fitzmaurice also noted that he borrowed water pumps, a dumper and a digger to help save houses from flooding in his constituency.

His Independent colleague in the new constituency, Denis Naughten, has declared his constituency office on Abbey Street, Roscommon, as well as a one-acre site at Drum in Roscommon.

TDs from outside the Galway constituencies with interests here include Eamon Gilmore, who is joint owner of 37 acres and his former family home in Caltra; Sean Kenny (Dublin North-East), who owns a rented property at Willow park in Ballinasloe and Michelle Mulherin (Mayo) who owns a rented apartment at Cúirt Seoige in Bohermore in the city.

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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