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Connacht Tribune

Council commits to €2m in Galway 2020 funding

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Galway County councillors have approved a further €2 million in funding for Galway 2020 – money the beleaguered organisation said it needed to fund projects outside the city.

Outlining the position of Galway 2020 to councillors, CEO of Galway County Council Kevin Kelly said the €2 million required from the Council’s coffers was to form part of an €8 million fund the 2020 board aims to generate, “to add more significant events of national and international significance”.

In a document presented to councillors, Galway 2020 outlined a list of events planned as part of next year’s designation as European Capital of Culture – including a programme of 30 projects with a total value of €12.7 million.

The €8 million required for more significant events would enable them to create “a new and exciting programme”, devised to “respond to the gaps that exist”, which included large scale innovation across the city and county.

Part of this was a contribution towards the February 2020 opening ceremony, which will take place in six towns – with a commitment from 2020 that “every effort will be made to achieve a geographical spread across the county”.

Cllr Jimmy McClearn (FG) questioned whether the current Council, “on its last legs” ahead of the May 24 local election, should be making a financial decision of such magnitude.

“It could easily be addressed in six weeks’ time when there are people in here with a renewed mandate,” said Cllr McClearn.

Galway 2020’s current available budget is €20.5 million – with ten per cent of this contributed by the County Council.

Originally planned to be a €47 million project, this was revised down to €39 million last year when the project became embroiled in controversy – failure to attract private sponsorship has severely curtailed finances.

The Irish Government has committed €15 million to the project. Galway City Council will have contributed €6 million by the end of 2020 and the EU has pledged €1.5 million if its requirements are met – while the Board of 2020 recently told Galway City Council that an announcement of major private sponsorship was imminent.

CEO Kevin Kelly said this additional €2 million in funding would not be coming out of the Council’s budget, but instead would be raised through savings made on debts that have now been paid off by the local authority.

He said it had been agreed by the Corporate Policy Group that the Council should give €1.5 million to Galway 2020 for next year’s events, holding back €500,000 for legacy events thereafter.

The remaining €6 million for “significant events” would be acquired through yet to be determined private sponsorship sources, he added.

“The reason I brought this to the current Council is you have the knowledge and the experience,” he said, something he claimed the next Council may be lacking when it comes to Galway 2020.

“Everyone knows the project is behind schedule. Ideally, this should have happened this time last year,” said Mr Kelly.

However, Cllr James Charity (Ind) said the people of Galway were being told that there was no money available for vital services in Galway County Council.

“When we’re out canvassing, I’m telling people that there’s not enough money to keep the roads in order, or for vital services,” he said, adding that it was hard to understand that there was an additional €2 million to give to Galway 2020.

Cllr Eileen Mannion (FG) said the current batch of councillors would be shirking their responsibilities if they didn’t support 2020’s request.

“This is our baby – we have supported it all the way,” said the Clifden-based councillor.

In the end, councillors voted to grant the €2 million to Galway 2020 – €1.5 million in advance of next year’s events, and €500,000 for legacy projects.

After the meeting, Galway 2020 CEO Patricia Philbin welcomed the County Council’s support.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Galway County Council for their support.  Galway will be the cultural capital of Europe next year and it is our ambition to show Ireland, Europe and the World exactly what Galway has to offer.

“We anticipate that this is just the first of many financial contributions to enable us to deliver this showcase. This ongoing support from Galway County Council is an expression of confidence that we hope will encourage others to come forward and ensure a lasting legacy that will benefit Galway for many years to come,” said Ms Philbin.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary

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Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

A remarkable rally sees St Thomas’ reel in the ’Bridge

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Clarinbridge's Conor Lee tries to shake off the attentions of St Thomas' Victor Manso during Saturday's Senior A Group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Thomas’ 4-20

Clarinbridge 4-17

DARREN KELLY AT KENNY PARK

NOTHING at ‘stake’ but pride and last year’s two senior hurling championship finalists had plenty of that on Saturday as St. Thomas and Clarinbridge served up a thriller in their final group game.

Both teams were already guaranteed places in the knockout stages but for the winners, a path straight through to the quarter-finals proper was the reward and they played like that meant everything.

Obviously, neither side wanted to show weakness ahead of a potential showdown later in the year. The contest even had a half-time scuffle that resulted in yellow cards for St. Thomas’ duo John Headd and Conor Cooney.

Despite all that and the changing weather, the hurling was the only item for discussion afterwards. Three first half Clarinbridge goals gave them a 3-10 to 0-11 interval lead.  Four green flags for St. Thomas in the second period reminded the county that they still are the team to beat.

And that was the talking point before throw-in following their 22-match unbeaten streak ending with a heavy defeat to Turloughmore two weeks previously. And it wasn’t looking any better for St. Thomas’ when TJ Brennan struck a second minute goal for Clarinbridge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Country Living

Recalling strange times that ‘shook up’ our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

THE other day while doing another of those clear-outs of old documents that are well past their sell-by-date, I came across a couple of letters from my employer, which jolted me back into another world . . . but still a quite recent one.

Their purpose was to indicate that I needed to show up for work in-person (an essential employee if you don’t mind!) and if I was stopped at a Garda Covid checkpoint, then I could produce this piece of paperwork. We really did go through some strange times.

There are occasions too when I leave my desk and just for a split-second think that I’ve forgotten to don my mask. That same feeling also crosses my mind at times as I enter shops or other public places but then I realise that’s all very much of ‘yesterday’s news’.

Reminders still persist of those black days across the country mostly on visits to healthcare settings like pharmacies, GP surgeries or nursing homes, where staff still wear masks, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

It takes me back to a Sunday evening on March 15, 2020, in my local watering hole less than 48-hours before the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, when we were all highly sceptical about any pubs closing down.

We reassured ourselves too that such a development could never happen in a country noted for ‘the craic’ as our traditional day of national celebration approached. In our innocence, we thought we were wise old sods . . . but we had gotten things spectacularly wrong.

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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