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CITY TRIBUNE

City Hall statement helps spread Coronavirus panic

Dara Bradley

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Cllr Owen Hanley’s photograph of the City Council meeting in The Galmont on Monday shows how elected members were separated by at least two metres

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

You’ve got to wonder about the wisdom of the statement issued by Galway City Council last Monday.

Galway, like the rest of the country, and the world, was and is on edge about coronavirus Covid-19. And rightly so – it is deadly.

But far from putting the public at ease, City Hall’s email about switching venues for its meeting fuelled fears.

The statement read: “Following a risk assessment of the Council Chamber in relation to the current guidance regarding Covid-19, this afternoon’s ordinary meeting of Galway City Council will now take place in the veranda lounge of The Galmont Hotel, Fairgreen Road, Galway from 3pm.”

That was it; a one-liner that posed more questions than it actually answered.

The public, if the reaction on social media is an accurate gauge, was panicked.

Why the hell are they moving from the Council Chamber; is it infected, everyone wondered?

We hear that the statement even caused confusion among staff working for the local authority – was there a case of coronavirus in their midst that they hadn’t been told about?

Alas, the explanation was simpler and less dramatic. The reason for the change of venue was this. The Council Chamber is small. It is so small that councillors and Council staff sit close together, shoulder to shoulder. The HSE had issued advice to all employers that workers sitting next to each other for periods of 15 minutes or more should be separated by two metres, as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. In order to comply with this advice, the Council decided to move to The Galmont, which could seat 18 councillors, several staff members and media the required two metres or more apart.

The problem wasn’t necessarily that the Council was engaging in social distancing – although it did spark fears in other workplaces that are tight for space and don’t have the luxury of moving to a hotel. The problem was that the statement was so sparse on detail, it inevitably aroused suspicion and caused unnecessary panic.

Meanwhile, once the hullaballoo online died down, and the real reason for the change of venue became apparent, the meeting proceeded at The Galmont. There was one problem, though. They only had one microphone, unlike in City Hall where each councillor has their own mic. And so, the mic was passed around to each speaker, who made their contribution, inevitably slobbering and spluttering into the device before passing it on. Coronavirus risk assessment how do.

 

Will and Kate bring out the Shoneens!

‘The most Shoneen town in Ireland’ was the wonderful description of Galway City in 1916 by an Irish Volunteer who was fighting to overthrow English rule in this country . . . *For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Hero’s welcome following rescue of two women on Galway Bay

Stephen Corrigan

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Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The miraculous rescue on Galway Bay yesterday of two young women from Knocknacarra brought 15 long hours of searching to a euphoric conclusion, as cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) were brought safely to shore.

A major search and rescue operation was launched after the pair went missing from Furbo Beach on Wednesday night, when they were swept away by a sudden wind while paddle boarding.

Claddagh fisherman and former Lifeboat shore crew member Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning and were the heroes of the hour after they discovered the two women on their boards, clinging to a lobster pot about two miles south-west of Inis Oírr, where despite their ordeal, they were described as “ok, but shaken”.

In the face of torrential rain and high winds overnight, both women had drifted almost 20 miles out to sea, but amazingly neither required serious medical attention.

Sara’s mother, Helen Feeney, raised the alarm shortly after 9pm on Wednesday evening when she noticed the pair missing as she walked their dog along the shore.

Sara, a daughter of Helen and Bernard Tonge, and Ellen, daughter Deirdre and well-known former captain of Galway United Johnny Glynn, were both said to be in good spirits at the hospital yesterday afternoon.

One relative told the Galway City Tribune that the family was “utterly humbled by the generosity of people” who had took part in the search and said, “unbelievable doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

“Thank you from all the family to everyone who helped, words will never express our gratitude.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Photo: Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Neighbours of Mad Yolk Farm have asked Galway City Council to determine whether planning permission is required for a portable chicken coop earmarked for the land in Roscam.

This week, Mad Yolk Farm has indicated that it will be adding chickens to the site, which has already been the subject of planning enforcement by the local authority.

In a Facebook post, the operators said they are planning to rear organic chickens on site, with neighbours fearing as many as 450 birds in the chicken ‘caravan’.

“Our chicken caravan is now built and our beaked ladies will arrive in eight days. We’ll be moving the hens onto fresh grass each day and they’ll be free to forage for insects and take mud baths. They’ll be free to behave like a chicken should,” the business said on social media.

It has prompted a neighbour of the property to write the Council to formally ask for a declaration “whether the work/development described in the form is or is not development or is or is not exempted development under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has poured cold water on a suggestion that it should install water sprinklers to deter ‘bushing’ at city centre hotspots for outdoor drinking, such as Spanish Arch.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) this week said the local authority should examine providing sprinklers, to deter bushing, after Spanish Arch and Middle Arch were packed with hundreds of revellers during the sunshine last weekend, and the areas were littered with alcohol bottles and cans.

Cllr Hoare said large crowds were prohibited from gathering outside due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, and if the partying continued “Galway will be the next county to be locked down”.

He said CCTV cameras should be installed at Spanish Arch and Middle Arch and added: “Galway City Council should consider installing sprinklers as a long-term solution.”

However, the City Council said it was not its intention to install sprinklers.

“It’s so hot at the moment, if you put out a sprinkler anywhere in Galway, people would just dance under it. We’re so unused to this muggy heat, that if you did that (installed sprinklers), on top of your 12-pack of Bacardi Breezers, or whatever it is young people drink these days, you’d have the biggest wet t-shirt competition this side of Ibiza – people would just dance under them. No, we have no plans for sprinklers,” remarked a City Council spokesperson.

He said the Council was unaware of a separate suggestion – announced by Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard on social media – that certain city areas be exempted from the street drinking bylaws, to allow them to be monitored and controlled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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