Galway’s designation as European Capital of Culture in 2020, “will end in tears”, a former city mayor has predicted.
City Councillor Pádraig Conneely (FG), chairman of the influential Arts and Culture Strategic Policy Committee, said he was concerned about the capability of the company set-up to deliver on its promise of a year-long series of cultural events.
Speaking at a City Council meeting, he said a recent recruitment process by Galway 2020 was “botched”, which highlighted management deficiencies within the company.
Cllr Conneely said he also had concerns about funding for the project.
“Galway 2020 was supposed to appoint a business manager, and he was to raise €7 million from the private sector. They botched that appointment. Every dog on the street knows that was botched.
“We’re putting up money, where’s the rest coming from . . . It was a botched appointment . . . where is the oversight and the accountability? There is no accountability and you know that . . . it will end in tears,” he fumed.
Cllr Conneely said he had very real fears that Galway County Council will not follow through on its funding commitments to Galway 2020. He claimed the City Council have paid out €2.65 million already, but the County Council has only paid €0.5m. “We ponied up, but the County Council won’t,” he said.
Chief Executive of the City Council Brendan McGrath said ECOC 2020 would be the best thing that ever happened to the city and county.
Galway would be representing Ireland on the European and international stage, and it would leave a lasting legacy.
There would be an increase of one million visitors to Galway in 2020 – 30% more than ‘normal years’.
Some 500,000 extra visitors would come here in the decade after 2020 as a direct result of the designation.
Galway 2020 had a budget of €45 million which was being pumped into arts and culture in the city and county.
Mr McGrath said he is on the board of the Galway 2020 company and Mayor Pearce Flannery is an ex officio member. He said Galway 2020 was a positive news story but added: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”
He said the City Council has pledged €6 million to Galway 2020, €2.25m of which has already been drawn down. The balance of €3.75m would be paid between now and 2020.
Cllr Niall McNelis agreed with Cllr Conneely regarding accountability, and he asked that the Galway 2020 company should come before the City Council every quarter, as was promised soon after the designation was won by in July 2016.
This was agreed.
Titans return to the national league for coming season
TITANS BC is returning to the national league for the upcoming 2020/21 season, one of four new teams that will compete in the Men’s Division 1 this year.
The city side will play in the Northern Conference of the league alongside fellow new sides, Drogheda Wolves and Malahide, along with Ulster University from Belfast; LYIT from Donegal; Sligo All-Stars; and Dublin Lions and Tolka Rovers from Dublin.
That looks to be the easier of the two conferences: Dublin Lions were relegated from the Super League at the end of last season, LYIT finished 5th in Division 1, Sligo finished 8th, Ulster University finished 9th, and Tolka Rovers finished 10th in a 12-team league competition that ran as a single league, rather than split into two conferences.
With four new teams for the coming season – Team Kerry are the 4th new side – Division 1 is returning to a split conference format, and all the heavy-hitters would appear to be in the Southern Conference.
Team Kerry will be joined by fellow Killarney side, St Paul’s, which finished second in the league last season, as well as Cork’s Fr Mathews and IT Carlow, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Limerick Celtics and Limerick Eagles, who finished 6th and 7th, are also in the Southern Conference, as well as last season’s bottom two, WIT Waterford and Portlaoise Panthers.
Titans took a one-year hiatus from the league last season, having endured a torrid 2018/19 campaign when it finished with the worst record in the league, winning just two of its 23 league games to finish bottom of the Northern Conference.
Maree and Moycullen will once again represent Galway in the Men’s Super League, which is also being split into a two-conference format, with six teams in each conference. However, while Titans will be looking north for their main opposition, Maree and Moycullen will be looking in the opposite direction as both have been placed in the South Conference.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Group hurling ties to be restricted to supporters of participating teams
NO neutrals will be allowed to attend the opening round of the revamped Galway senior hurling championship which is scheduled to start in little more than a fortnight’s time.
A gathering of 500 – likely to also include the rival players and mentors – will be restricted to each group game, with the participating clubs set to be allocated around 200 tickets each for sale/distribution ahead of the fixture.
A mechanism has still to be sorted for this process, but matches will be restricted to Galway’s three county grounds: Pearse Stadium, Kenny Park, Athenry and Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, along with Loughrea. Killimor was the fifth venue in consideration for hosting senior games, but redevelopment work at the ground has ruled out that prospect.
The full round of 12 group ties will go ahead on the weekend ending July 26, but there will be no double headers. Instead, games at the same venues will be staged four hours apart to allow sanitisation of the various grounds.
Only people with tickets will gain entry to the games and there will be no cash taken at the turnstiles.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.