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Connacht Tribune

Charities benefit from court’s poor box

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Judge Patrick Durcan

A host of deserving groups and individuals will have a brighter Christmas this year – thanks to the distribution of the €6,900 collected by Gort’s court poor box over the last twelve months.

That’s after Judge Patrick Durcan, helped by Court Service staff, decided on the amount to be allocated to each recipient with Gort.

St. Vincent de Paul, Gort Social Services, Gort Cancer Support, Kinvara Christmas Lights and Young at Heart Kinvara Alive are all benefiting this year from the much needed financial support of the court poor box.

Judge Durcan also decided that a single, undisclosed payment be made to one struggling Gort family deemed worthy of the court’s help.

Most District Courts around the country operate a court poor box system, whereby a judge has discretion to order a guilty person to make a specified donation in lieu of a conviction.

Most defendants jump at the chance to make a donation if it means they avoid a criminal record.

Depending on the mood of the presiding judge, some defendants are even given the opportunity to nominate a charity of their choice.  More often than not though, the judge or the prosecuting Garda will nominate a charity or community group.

The judge will decide on the amount a defendant donates.  Most defendants make the donation straight away in court if they have the money on them, but others are given time to pay the sum involved.

And it’s a boost for charities on a national basis, with €1.74 million gifted from the court poor box system nationwide to various groups in the run-up to Christmas last year.

The poor box system has no basis in law and there are moves afoot to abolish it with some arguing that it facilities people who can afford to buy their way out of a conviction while punishing those who cannot afford to do so.

The Government is also concerned that statutory fines are not being paid or convictions recorded.

The Department of Justice and Equality published the General Scheme of Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill in 2014.

This Bill proposes to abolish the court poor box and replace it with a statutory Reparation Fund that will apply to minor offences dealt with at District Court level.

The good news is that until the Bill is passed, the court poor box will continue to be a welcome feature of rural courts, while bolstering local charities and community groups at this most pressing time of year.

Connacht Tribune

Tristan’s Ciúnas nominated for award at Dublin Film Festival

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Tristan Heanue shooting Ciúnas in Connemara.

Connemara filmmaker Tristan Heanue has been nominated for the Discovery Award at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival for his short Irish-language film Ciúnas (Silence) which was shot around Connemara. The winner of the award will be announced at the closing ceremony of the festival on Sunday, March 8.

Previous recipients include Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar and John Connors.

Ciúnas won the Físín Script Award at the 2018 Dingle Film Festival and that festival came on board as co-executive producer on the finished short, which Tristan wrote, directed and produced,

The plot centres on a couple embarking on a journey in the midst of a family crisis and it stars Gary Lydon (The Guard, Calvary, Pure Mule, The Clinic) Ally Ní Chiaráin (The Drummer and the Keeper, Michael Inside) and rising star Hazel Doupe (Float Like a Butterfly, Michael Inside, Calm with Horses).

“I’m hugely honoured to be nominated for this award among such an incredible list of Irish talent,” says the Letterfrack man. “I am so happy with how people seem to have connected with the film since we screened at the Galway Film Fleadh last July.”

Ciúnas has already won the Grand Prix at the 64th Cork Film Festival in November, which means it’s now on the Academy Awards longlist for 2021.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Eclectics aim for a musical smorgasbord for all tastes

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Eclectics success…Liam Ó Maonlaí and Me Auld Flower.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

There’s a hint in the name as to what you might expect from the night – and it’s that diversity of styles that helps explain how, right through the second half of 2019, Eclectics emerged as one of Galway’s premier nights for original music.

Curated by David Boland, the showcase gained huge support by prioritising quality and putting artists first. In the Black Gate, Eclectics has a venue that matches its own ethos – it is the city’s most intimate venue not just because of its size but because, invariably, its patrons are intent on listening to the act on stage.

The 2019 programme began and ended with Cavan songstress Lisa O’Neill but it featured a long list of talented Irish musicians in between.

On a Galway scale, local artists including Jack Lee, Maija Sofia and Dead Horse Jive all played headline shows in the latter stages of the year. There were performances too from experienced Irish musicians like John Spillane and Hothouse Flowers’ Liam O Maonlaoi.

Eclectics is a place for artists at the start of their careers as well as those that have long established themselves in the industry. There are no set criteria for the acts David books.

While the venue may lend itself to a quieter sound, the Black Gate hosts musicians from all styles and genres.

Invariably, the shared trait among Eclectics performers is originality. As the name suggests, the showcase champions diversity and authenticity.

Galway’s arts community is one of the best and most vibrant in the country. There is something of a disparity, however, between the number of quality artists we have in the city and the number of venues that encourage their work.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin’s history makers return to a heroes’ welcome

Declan Tierney

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Gary Sice with his daughter Sadhbh after Corofin defeated Kilcoo to win the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship final at Croke Park last Sunday.

Bonfires blazed and hundreds lined the route as the classy Corofin champions made their way home to a rapturous reception on Monday evening following their historic All-Ireland success the previous day.

The stage was set in Dr Duggan Park, as supporters of all ages dressed in their saffron and green colours waited patiently for the team bus to arrive in the village – and when they eventually did, they were greeted by one of the most energetic homecomings ever witnessed.

This was their fifth All-Ireland club success and by far the most special – not just because the side achieved three-in-a-row, but because of the manner in which they pulled away in the first period of extra time.

Many of those loyal Corofin supporters were convinced that the reception might not have been as ecstatic, had they snatched victory in normal time.

Indeed, the huge Corofin support witnessed their side doing what they do best in that opening period as sub Conor Cunningham sneaked a goal from a rebound and heroes Ronan Steede, Dylan Canney, Liam Silke and Gary Sice put daylight between the sides.

Monday’s homecoming began as the team bus crossed the Shannon in Athlone around mid-afternoon and were even treated to a warm welcome in Ballinasloe along the route.

But it was when they arrived at around 6pm in Abbeyknockmoy that the celebrations began in earnest, as players disembarked from the bus with the Andy Merrigan Cup to the delight of the local GAA club and well-wishers.

See full coverage of the homecoming and that historic win in Croke Park – all in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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