Buskers and street performers fear draft proposals to introduce permits for busking could bring the curtain down on Galway’s long and proud tradition of street entertainment.
Musicians and entertainers, who work on city centre streets, have also voiced alarm about proposed restrictions on the sale of items such as CDs will have on their livelihoods.
The concerns were raised at a meeting at the Galway 2020 hub in the Cornstore on Tuesday, which was organised by Galway City Community Network (GCCN).
As many as 60 buskers, street performers and people who described themselves as their audience, attended the meeting.
The group has now vowed to meet again at a workshop to formulate an official submission to the draft bylaws, which are due to go out on public display in the coming weeks.
Under the proposed bylaws, which are still at an early draft stage, every performer will have to apply annually for a street performance permit, which faces outright opposition.
“It is fair to say that there was consensus at the meeting against a permit system. Nobody in the room spoke in favour of it. There were buskers and performers who have experienced the permit system in other cities and what they said was that a permit system tends to kill the practice of busking. They said that busking tends to die out in those cities,” said Ms Irwin.
The draft by-laws also propose restrictions on the size of amps, and the complete prohibition of drum kits, along the ‘protected streetscape’ which is defined as Quay Street, High Street, Mainguard Street, Shop Street, William Street and Williamsgate Street.
Ms Irwin said many of those who attended Tuesday’s meeting said they had no problem with restrictions on noise levels but curtailing the size of amplifiers was not the correct way to achieve it.
There was a “mixed response”, she said, to the proposal in the draft bylaw that states that, “After one hour, the performer will have to relocate to a different place not within 35 metres of the previous place and not return until the following day.”
For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
City Council’s conference call ‘eavesdropper’
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley
Galway City Council, like the rest of us, is adapting to the new reality of life under Covid-19 restrictions.
There haven’t been any face-to-face City Council meetings, be they full meetings or committee meetings, since the crisis really hit.
But that doesn’t mean elected members and management are twiddling their thumbs. Far from it – they’re busier than ever, just a different sort of busy.
Last Wednesday evening, city councillors held a conference call with Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.
Members of his management team were also involved in the meeting, which was conducted using technology that allows people to ‘attend’ a meeting online from the comfort of their own homes.
Each member is invited to the virtual meeting through a link sent to their email account. They click into this and then they are ‘in’ the meeting and can speak and see the others, also attending remotely.
A reliable deep-throat who participated in Wednesday’s chat informs us that the meeting had to be stopped – at the behest of McGrath – and restarted, over fears someone was eavesdropping.
The suspicion is that the link to join the meeting was sent to someone it shouldn’t have been, and this person attempted to listen in.
“Brendan halted the meeting and we had to hang up and start again because a mystery man was listening-in on the teleconference. It was hacked but Brendan has the number and can find out who it was,” said one source.
If the standard of debate at the tele-conference was anything like some of the drivel you can get at some ordinary Council meetings, then the conference-blocked hacker didn’t miss much!
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune
Salthill’s ‘Heart of Hope’ a beacon of light for frontline workers
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A giant illuminated heart has been erected on the Big Wheel at Curry’s Funpark in Leisureland as a poignant symbol of hope and expression of gratitude for the country’s healthcare workers.
Last month, preparations got underway to set up the fun fair, but it became yet another casualty of Covid-19. Owner Owen Curry got to work on constructing a blue ‘Heart of Hope, An Croí Gorm’ with LED lights to attach to the 120-foot wheel overlooking the Prom.
Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, he had the heart in place on the axle of the Big Wheel within a day.
“I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab technicians and everybody working in the health service how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis.
“When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid air over the Prom,” he said.
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ICU consultant reveals intensive planning ahead of peak Covid demand
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A consultant in critical care at Galway’s biggest hospital has assured the public that there is still significant capacity for very ill patients fighting Covid-19.
But to help University Hospital Galway best cope with the expected surge in numbers within the next two weeks, Consultant Intensivist John Bates has pleaded with the public to follow the strict public health guidelines about staying at home.
“There’s been a lot going on – a lot of retraining, a lot of redeployment, a lot of up-equipping. We normally have twelve ventilator beds and we’re up to 24 at this stage and have significant capacity. We’re working to get beyond that but we certainly have capacity at the moment,” he told the Galway City Tribune.
Asked if the hospital would be able to cope with the peak of the pandemic – tipped to hit in the next fortnight – he said there were no guarantees.
“It depends on the size of the surge. We can’t say for sure how big the surge will be. It’s a new disease and models of how it will go are different – in some we will be okay and others we will struggle,” Dr Bates said.
“The curve appears to be flattening. Dublin is starting to come under pressure accessing critical care beds. It’s likely we will at some stage here too. But we have good capacity at this stage.”
The number of healthcare workers who will likely be affected by the pandemic has been factored into the hospital’s readiness plans. In China, ten per cent of critical care staff were out of action while in Italy it has reached 20 per cent.
Despite the high risks facing hospital staff, Dr Bates believes morale at UHG is good.
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