Teach Solais, the only LGBT+ resource of its kind in the west of Ireland, has closed its doors with immediate effect.
AMACH LGBT Galway, the group who ran Teach Solais, announced on Friday that it was closing the centre citing a lack of funding to continue its operations at its Victoria Place location in the city.
In a statement published to its social media channels, the group said; "Over the last five months, AMACH LGBT Galway understand that it has been very challenging times for all community groups. AMACH and our resource centre Teach Solais are no exception to this. We have been faced with some very difficult decisions due in part to Covid-19 but mainly due to the lack of a sustainable funding stream affecting our capacity to manage the work we are doing.
'This has not been an easy conclusion'
"We wish that AMACH are able to inform you that we had achieved our vision of sustainable funding and long term Government support but unfortunately that is not the case. Our lease in Teach Solais comes to an end on August 31 2020. Without sustainable funding and government support we do not have the means to continue to finance the space we currently occupy and sadly, we are not in a position to extend our time in this venue.
"This has not been an easy conclusion to come to and we struggled immensely with this decision but we must focus on the future and continue to work hard for our community with the resources we currently have."
'Over the last three years, the community made it our second home. For some it was the only space where they could breathe easy'
Its closure has been described as heartbreaking for the local LGBT+ community by Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley.
Cllr Hanley said; "The community is heartbroken by the loss of Teach Solais, the only LGBT+ resource centre of its kind in the west of Ireland. Over the last three years, the community made it our second home. For some it was the only space where they could breathe easy, arrive without explaining who they are, and be accepted without question.
'The only community centre of any kind in the city centre of Galway'
"Teach Solais was the only community centre of any kind in the city centre of Galway. It acted as a base for a range of LGBT+ services, events, and outreach. But it also served the wider Galway community as a welcoming space for community and charity groups.
"The board of Amach and LGBT+ activists have achieved political consensus among every party and none on the need for this centre. That consensus must now become action. I have written to Minister Joe O'Brien, responsibility for community development and charities, urging him to prioritise the creation of a dedicated LGBT+ resource centre fund to ensure the LGBT+ community in Galway can get the hub they need. I hope the Government acts on this to ensure a lifesaving centre can live on."
AMACH will continue to facilitate its services over Zoom every Saturday and via its phone line 089 235 8476 from Monday to Friday between 12 noon and 3pm and hopes to relocate the Westside Resource Centre in the coming months.