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Concert hall tops plans for City of Culture bid

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A major programme to provide buildings for culture and arts events is being launched as part of Galway’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2020.

The multi-million euro plan includes a new headquarters for the library service, a conference/concert hall which could seat up to 1,200 and a municipal art gallery, all buildings to be provided on a shared basis between the two local Galway authorities but located in or on the edge of Galway City.

Already, Dublin, Limerick, Louth, Waterford and Wexford have shown interest in applying. Initial bids must be in by October and Patricia Philbin, Senior Executive Officer with Galway City Council, has been appointed as Project Coordinator, starting immediately in that role.

The bid will be made jointly with Galway County Council and already representatives from both Galway councils have attended an information meeting where the time frame was outlined.

A shortlist will be drawn up after the initial bid is made and those cities will have a further nine months in which to develop and refine their applications.

The final plan should contribute to the long term cultural, economic and social development of the city.

It should have a European dimension and have a strong cultural connectivity with Europe. A high quality of cultural and artistic content is required and the city has to prove its capacity to deliver and should have evidence that there is a broad political support and adequate infrastructure in place. The designation is expected to be announced by September 2016.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, has announced his vision for that infrastructure and his decision to talk to other stake holders with a view to sharing the costs of some or all of the buildings required to bring the city up to standard of what’s expected from a capital of culture.

“One of the reasons we didn’t succeed last time we applied was lack of infrastructure.

“There is a huge need for a visual arts space in Galway, a municipal space capable of accommodating large exhibitions, as well as a multi-purpose space for both amplified and non-amplified performances and one that could also be used as a conference centre seating up to 1,200.

“Equally, there’s a need for a modern HQ for a city library, this is a shared service with Galway County Council with whom I have already had discussions. These buildings don’t require to be stand-alone ones. There could be a broad cultural campus in the site.

“Fisheries Field is one site that had been discussed a number of years ago with the college (NUIG) but that location had some deficiencies such as lack of parking and access and it fell through.

“All this needs substantial capital funding and we will be talking to other stake holders as well as looking into funding from Europe.”

He added that the Galway City Museum had to be expanded and would be brought outdoors, possibly linking it to Mutton Island through Bádóirí an Chladaigh; the Fisheries Tower would also be used and that a number of premises on Merchants Road owned by the City Council would be turned into studios for local and visiting artists to link with local schools.

Mr McGrath said the Council would need to spend about €500,000 on Comerford House, a premises at the Spanish Arch which is owned by the local authority, to refurbish it to make it part of the city’s cultural heritage properties.

“It is not going to be used for offices or for storage,” he said about the house which used to house the Council’s engineering section many years ago as well as being the city’s museum.

“We need to have very real, tangible projects and we need to find funding from a number of sources. . .  and we need to get the Arthouse Cinema completed once and for all,” he added.

Connacht Tribune

Tuam students have warm welcome for Eddie, the Labrador who is already top of the class

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Eddie the dog, Tuam's Mercy Convent newest addition.

A North Galway school has unveiled their newest member – Eddie, the three-year-old Labrador dog.

The new canine recruit works as a therapy, or education, aid for students in Mercy Secondary School, Tuam – and he has already been a huge hit with students.

Scoil Bhride Principal Gearoid Leen has described the dog as an essential part of the learning process within the school.

The pure-bred Labrador is one of just eight community dogs that have been assigned to schools across the country.

This week, the new arrival was introduced to students and parents as part of the learning process. The presence of the dog relaxes students and, apparently, helps with their concentration.

Eddie’s fourth birthday is on March 18, the day after St Patrick’s Day – and, such is his instant popularity, the students have a special celebration in mind.

The newest addition to the secondary school has been trained by the Irish Guide Dogs Association and Eddie, along with his trained handlers Sarah Molloy and Catherine Murphy, now becomes part of the essential learning process within the school.

The Labrador and his handlers work alongside the teachers and educational staff in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions.

Together, Eddie and his handlers participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.

Parents have responded positively to the new arriva, saying that more schools should try and apply for the scheme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Claregalway traffic plan is still stuck in neutral

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Stuck...another setback for Claregalway traffic calming scheme.

The long-awaited traffic calming scheme in Claregalway has suffered yet another setback – with engineers now looking at an ‘alternative solution’ amid a dispute over land acquisition.

A meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District heard the Council was seeking to acquire privately-owned lands to progress a surface water drainage scheme at the bridge – but despite protracted negotiations, the Council had hit ‘difficulties in finding a solution’.

Until the surface water issue was sorted, the long-approved traffic calming scheme could not progress and because of the delays, the local authority was now looking at an alternative plan.

Cllr Jim Cuddy (Ind) hit out at what he called ‘inordinate delays’ to progressing the scheme and said it was almost three years since Councillors approved planning permission for the traffic calming scheme.

“People can only put up with so much and this is a national primary road,” said Cllr Cuddy.

“Claregalway seems to be a forgotten area – an area totally neglected by the Council and by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).”

Regular road flooding outside Centra in the town meant a drainage scheme was required and Senior Engineer Damien Mitchell said the traffic calming scheme would not go ahead until that was completed.

“We are still having trouble acquiring the land at the bridge. It is quite sensitive at the moment and we are looking at alternatives because it is taking so long to find a solution.

“We thought we were reaching a solution recently but the situation has changed again,” said Mr Mitchell.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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

Domestic violence hits Covid heights

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Galway saw a 43 per cent hike in the number of Garda call-outs for domestic violence last year compared to before the pandemic.

But experts have warned the worst may be yet to come – with predictions that people fleeing domestic violence are more likely to present now that restrictions are lifted and services resume.

That’s the fear of Dr Carol Baumann, head of the domestic abuse service at Cope Galway which runs Galway’s refuge Modh Eile House. The service has seen a twelve per cent increase in demand in the last year compared to pre-pandemic times.

It corresponds with an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents responded to by Galway Gardaí in 2021.

Figures released by the Aontú party found there were 1,792 domestic violence incidents reported to Gardaí here, a jump of 285 compared to 2020 and a hike of 539 incidents on the figures for 2019. That’s an increase of 19 and 43 per cent respectively.

Dr Baumann believes these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the situation on the ground.

“In general women only go to the guards where physical abuse has taken place or there is a risk of it, but abuse is much more pervasive. At the moment life is feeling abnormal and when the world is not feeling stable, you’re not going to destabilise it more by seeking help,” she opined.

“I think the real increase will come after the pandemic not during it.

“When you don’t feel safe, when you feel you have no control, you don’t have autonomy over your choices, that’s domestic violence. The pandemic aggravated that, but it didn’t cause it. What the pandemic did was unmask intimate partner abuse – urging us to limit our contacts, limit our movements, that was music to the ears of somebody who wanted to abuse a partner.”

She fears that many will be coming to the end of their tether after a long two years of restrictions being imposed and lifted.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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