A proposal to live stream Galway County Council meetings almost ended in this week’s meeting being abandoned – even though the councillor who submitted the motion was not even in the chamber.
The County Cathaoirleach Peter Roche took the motion by Cllr James Charity (Ind) to broadcast meetings to improve the transparency of Council meetings and the accountability of elected members to voters despite the proposer being absent at the time – a move only deemed to be out of order after debate raged on it for nearly an hour.
Cllr Eileen Mannion (FG) said this same motion had twice come up for debate and twice the proposer was not present – she proposed it move off the agenda for good.
This prompted Cllr Noel Thomas (FF) to quip that the councillors could not blame Cllr Charity as he was educated and did not want to there listening to their bullsh**t, referring to Cllr Charity’s recent insistence that elected members should have professional qualifications or training in planning before standing for office.
County Secretary Michael Owens reminded councillors that under standing orders if a councillor is not present they must request in writing for somebody else to table their motion.
He also said he had informed Cllr Charity in writing that tenders had been sought for live streaming and it could cost in the region of €14,000, with additional cost associated with broadcasting it with a delay for data protection reasons.
Cllr Tom Healy (SF) said the meetings could be streamed live on audio only, which was very basic technology and would not require additional staff. His motion for the Corporate Policy Group to further examine the issue was unanimously agreed.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Radio series a first for new An Spidéal production company
A host of Ireland’s finest musicians gathered in Galway’s new intimate arts space – and recorded ten weeks of special programmes that will go out on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta every Thursday, starting tonight.
Cuan an Cheoil is the first radio series produced by Stiúideo Cuan, the new arts venue and production company in the heart of An Spidéal.
The new ten-part series, kicking off tonight at 7pm, will feature ten of the country’s best-known musicians, who will join Hot House Flower Liam Ó Maonlaí each week to play and to chat with him about various aspects of music and life.
Liam describes the programmes as ‘a musical conversation’ between himself and his guests.
They were recorded in Stiúideo Cuan in An Spidéal in a relaxed and open atmosphere, an attempt to recreate the informality of a group of musicians playing together at home, as opposed to a concert setting. The idea is to allow the musicians the space to be creative, to improvise and to compose on the spot, and the musicians who took part in the series got great satisfaction and enjoyment out of the process.
Síle Denvir and Barry Kerr will join Liam for the first programme of the series on January 20. Síle, from Conamara, is a member of the group Líadan, and has also performed with the Chieftains. Barry Kerr, musician, composer and painter, is originally from Armagh but now living in Conamara.
Other musicians taking part in the series include Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh & Nia Byrne, Peadar Ó Riada & Mick O’Brien, Mary Bergin & Conor Connolly, Johnny Óg Connolly & Liam O’Connor, Róisín Chambers & Maitiú Ó Casaide, Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich & Niamh Varian-Barry, Rónán Ó Snodaigh & Myles O’Reilly, and Caoimhe & Séamus Ó Flatharta.
A visual stream for this programme will also be available online every week.
Stiúideo Cuan is a new creative arts and music centre based beside Ceardlann an Spidéil craft village in An Spidéal.
Founded by composer, fiddle-player and pianist Charlie Lennon and his daughter, fiddle-player Éilís Lennon, the studio has recently been redeveloped to enhance the facilities there which now include a performance venue, with rehearsal and production space, as well as recording and audio-visual post-production facilities.
Cuan an Cheoil will be broadcast on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta every Thursday from 7pm to 8.30pm, starting tonight. See www.rte.ie/rnag for further information or to listen back.
Athenry student makes wheelchair waves to create unique artwork
A young Athenry student has been making waves after his artistic endeavours endeared him to the nation.
Joshua Whelan, a First Year pupil at Clarin College in Athenry, has cerebral palsy – and a passion for art, which was revealed when he joined Serena Joyce’s art class a few months ago.
And he has now produced his first large artwork – an abstract interpretation of the Athenry town map, which he produced by using the wheels of his wheelchair to apply the paint.
It was testimony to Serena’s determination to find a way for him to make his mark – and she found inspiration from other wheelchair artists, like American artist Tom Hollenstein.
Serena enlisted the help of Martin O’Connell, Joshua’s special needs assistant, to produce the painting which now hangs proudly in Clarin College for all to see.
Martin steers the chair, but at Joshua’s direction as he tells Martin how he wants the wheelchair to move across the canvas.
When the painted was posted on social media, it drew a huge reaction and led to Joshua featuring on RTÉ News last week.
And Joshua’s mother Ingrid was understandably proud of her son.
“He’s amazing. It’s a credit to the school and Serena and Martin, and the support he’s had to help realise his skills and abilities,” she said.
NUIG distributing Covid test kits to students
Tens of thousands of antigen test kits are being provided to NUIG students alongside Project UniCoV as part of public health efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19.
From Monday 17 January, students will be able to collect packs at four locations across campus.
Professor Breda Smyth, Chief Investigator of Project UniCoV and HSE West Director of Public Health, urged students to avail of the kits as well as additional testing, by signing up to take part in Project UniCoV.
“Everyone attending campus needs to adhere to the basic public health measures in the first instance – including not coming to campus if you have symptoms and are supposed to be self-isolating or restricting movements.
“Being able to offer free antigen test kits on campus at NUI Galway and giving students the opportunity to take part in Project UniCov demonstrates how we can take a layered approach to public safety and the welfare of students and staff.”
Students can collect five tests at a time. They are being advised to test twice a week, three days apart. They are also being advised to self-isolate if they test positive or develop symptoms and to follow public health advice.
Students are also being encouraged to avail of the option for further free antigen and/or salvia PCR testing for twelve weeks in semester two. A special QR code is being made available to students to support the research.
NUI Galway students are also encouraged to get the vaccine booster, to continue to wear face coverings and sanitise hands. The University saw high levels of compliance from students with public health guidelines during the academic year and we thank them for that.
The distribution of free antigen test kits is funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.