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Connacht Tribune

Call for ‘family-friendly’ meeting hours at County Hall

Dara Bradley



Starting and finishing times of Galway County Council plenary meetings should be family friendly, a newly-elected member has said.

Councillor Aisling Dolan (Ind) asked that the policy towards meetings should be family friendly and should not dissuade women from getting into local politics.

Cllr Dolan, one of only a handful of women elected to the Council in May’s Local Elections, said she was the first woman in 40 years to represent East Galway on the local authority.

Cllr James Charity (Ind) said a number of elected members on the previous Council did not put their names forward for re-election, and part of that was due to the demands of their day jobs, and having to take annual leave to attend County Council meetings.

He agreed with a suggestion from Cllr Donagh Killilea (FF), that start times should be brought forward to 1pm, as opposed to 11am, but he stressed the change would only work if the Municipal Districts were used properly.

Cllr Charity said there was no point discussing matters at full Council meetings that should be dealt with in each local area Municipal District meetings.

Cathaoirleach Malachy Noone (FG) concurred and warned elected members that he will rule their contributions out of order if they raise matters that should have been dealt with at Municipal District level.

A suggestion from Cllr Joe Byrne (FG) that not every member had to make a contribution to every topic, and that one or two people could speak on behalf of each grouping, drew an angry response from Cllr Killilea, who accused the new ruling rainbow pact of Fine Gael and Independents of trying to introduce ‘censorship’.

Cllr Killilea said each councillor was elected by the people and was entitled to speak at each meeting on matters affecting the people who elected them to represent their needs.

Cllrs Mary Hoade (FF) and Tom Welby (Ind) said they had no problem with meetings starting later, so long as they had a set finish time. Cllr Hoade, the Fianna Fáil whip, said that in the past the Council didn’t have a quorum later on in the evening because members often had other engagements in the evenings. Cllr Welby accused former colleagues of his – whom he did not name – of coming into the chamber, making statements at the start of meetings that would be picked up by the Press, and then they would leave having got their ‘soundbite’.

It was agreed the next meeting – on Monday, July 22 – would begin at 1pm and finish at 6pm.

Chief Executive of the Council, Kevin Kelly, said a Corporate Policy Group would look over the Summer at how Council and Municipal Districts conduct their business, including the length and frequency of meetings. This will report back in September, he said.

Connacht Tribune

Two arrested in Galway over spate of burglaries

Enda Cunningham



Two men in County Galway have been arrested as part of a Garda investigation into a series of burglaries in businesses in Limerick and Tipperary.

As part of the operation, three houses were searched yesterday (Saturday) morning in Co Galway and two men in their 20s were arrested. They were brought to Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda stations in Limerick, where they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

During the search operation, two vehicles were also seized for technical examination.

The eight burglaries were carried out in the Limerick and Tipperary area in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

As part of these investigations, an operation was put in place by detective Gardaí from Henry Street Garda station with the assistance of the Armed Support Unit in the Western Region and Gardaí from Tipperary, Limerick and Galway.

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Connacht Tribune

Branar reaching for skies at former airport

Judy Murphy



Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí.

Lifestyle – The disused terminal at Galway Airport is being transformed for Sruth na Teanga, an immersive journey through centuries of Irish language and culture. Created by theatre company Branar, it was commissioned by Galway 2020 and will use puppetry, music, video and live performance to give audiences a fresh insight into the oldest vernacular language in Western Europe. Its creator and director, Marc Mac Lochlainn talks to JUDY MURPHY.

Entering the terminal of Galway Airport is like visiting the place that time forgot.

The desks for Avis and Budget Travel are still in place, exactly as they were when the facility closed nine years ago. So too are signs saying ‘Departures’ and ‘Garda and Customs only’, while the yellow pay-machines for the empty car-park stand abandoned by the main door and wind howls through the deserted building.

At the reception desk, a dog-eared copy of Dan Brown’s novel, Deception, is a lonesome reminder of the days when people thronged through this airport, carrying reading material for their flights.

“It’s a bit like the Mary Celeste,” says Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí with a mischievous grin. He’s referring to the American shipwreck that was found abandoned off the Azores in 1872, with everything perfectly intact but its crew missing.

At the height of Storm Brendan, with the rain lashing and wind howling, the space does feel eerie, but from March 2-29, thanks to Branar, it will become home to magical forests, streams and islands for one of the main events of Galway 2020 – European Capital of Culture.

Branar’s new show, Sruth na Teanga, was commissioned by 2020 as one of its flagship productions.  Now the theatre company has just over a month to transform the abandoned terminal building into a space for an immersive journey capturing the evolution of Western Europe’s oldest written, and still spoken, language. That language is Irish – a subject which caused so many people so much angst at school.

Marc is aware of this difficult legacy, but points out that Irish language and its culture far predates what has happened to it in the 20th Century at the hands of the Irish education system.

And that’s what Sruth na Teanga – based on the metaphor of a river – is all about. With puppetry, music, video mapping and live performance, it’s for children and adults and Marc hopes it will give people a fresh appreciation for Irish and its ongoing role in shaping us as a nation, through our place-names, our stories, our songs and the way we view the world.

Transforming the deserted airport terminal for this production will be no small feat but then Branar have never been short of ambition, as anyone who has seen their magical productions, such as How to Catch a Star and Woolly’s Quest, will be aware.

Sruth na Teanga has been evolving since 2015 when Galway first sought the European Capital of Culture designation and invited people such as Marc to dream big.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin stand 60 minutes away from club football crowning glory

John McIntyre



Corofin's Colin Brady is tackled by Paul Kerrigan of Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland club semi-final. The reigning champions face Kilcoo of Down in Sunday's showdown at Croke Park.

IT’S a date with destiny like none other in the history of club Gaelic football. A team from Galway trying to go where no parish team has gone before.

Protecting a remarkable 35-match unbeaten run, Corofin stand on the threshold of becoming the first team to win three All-Ireland club senior titles on the trot.

It would represent a phenomenal achievement and the crowning glory for the Galway champions who have been such a compelling force over the past decade.

Standing in their way are All-Ireland final debutants, Kilcoo from Down, and while Corofin are red-hot favourite, the biggest occasion on the club GAA calendar has been littered with upsets down through the years.

It’s not in the nature of Kevin O’Brien’s charges to take anything for granted, however, and if they bring their A-game to Croke Park for the third year running, Corofin will have secured a cherished place in the record books on Sunday night.

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