COPE Galway’s Modh Eile refuge wins national community housing award

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Galway Daily news COPE Galway's Modh Eile wins national community housing award

COPE Galway’s newest domestic abuse refuge, Modh Eile House has achieved national recognition for its great social significance.

The refuge for woman and children fleeing domestic abuse in Galway has won the Irish Council for Social Housing Allianz Community Housing award for 2021.

Modh Eile opened in May of 2020 after a decade long search for a replacement for Waterside House, which the charity had been utilising for over 40 years.

The project was a huge investment by COPE, and the people of Galway, who contributed large amounts in donations for the construction and fitting out of the refuge.

“The building we have at Modh Eile House today would not have been possible without the support of the people of Galway’, said Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO of COPE.

“Many individuals and businesses were involved throughout the planning for and funding of this project, and its design, construction and fit out. There are too many to mention here but they know who they are and we want to say a heartfelt thank you.”

The award was given at the Biennial National Social Housing Conference, held by the Irish Council for Social Housing, which took place between September 22 – 24.

Modh Eile House is on the site of the former Mercy Convent on Forster Street in Galway city centre, which formed part of the Magdalene Laundry in the city.

The Sisters of Mercy donated the former convent to COPE in 2014, specifically for the purpose of creating a new domestic abuse refuge, which was brought together over the next six years.

The house has nine units for individuals and families seeking a safe space, with units ranging in size between one and three bedrooms.

It offers extensive facilities for children of all ages, with a strong focus on facilitating therapeutic supports to address the trauma of experiencing and being witness to violence in their own homes.

There are office and meeting room facilities where women staying in the refuge receive support, and where support is offered to women who continue to live in their own homes in the community.

“Delivery of this new building was a significant achievement for COPE Galway on behalf of the people of Galway,” continued Martin O’Connor.

He praised the city council for raising 60% of the cost through the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, and the “donations and contributions” from various individuals and philanthropic organisations which is continuing to make up the other 40% of the cost.