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Connacht Tribune

Council commits to €2m in Galway 2020 funding

Stephen Corrigan

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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

Galway’s newest garden centre has arrived at McD’s in Galway Crystal

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Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building

For over 10 years people have been flocking to McD’s Garden Centre in Loughrea to get the very best range for garden, home and much much more.

This weekend McD’s are proud to announce the opening of a brand new Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building.

Nicely located with good parking and serviced by the 404 Newcastle to Oranmore bus, McD’s Garden Centre at Galway Crystal is a must visit location if you need anything from plants, shrubs, pots, garden furniture and more. They have a dedicated solar garden lights section, gorgeous array of water features and garden ornaments and practically everything you need for your garden.

Visit their Facebook today where they are running competitions and keep track of other promotions too. You can visit their website online at www.McDs.ie

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Connacht Tribune

UHG nurse battles for her life in ICU

Dara Bradley

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Leona Paula Leoncio...in ICU.

UHG remains braced to rapidly respond to any rise in Covid-19 patients as a result of a second surge – but the plight of one of their own colleagues this week showed just how precarious this pandemic can be.

Because while senior management at the Saolta Group vowed to stay ‘vigilant and alert’, a staff nurse at UHG was battling for her life in the hospital’s own ICU.

Leona Paula Leoncio, a 36-year-old mother of two boys, tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and was moved to ICU on Monday where she was intubated and ventilated.

The staff nurse, who had no underlying health conditions, is now battling for life in ICU at UHG, according to the Philippine Consulate in Dublin, which has urged people to pray for her.

Ms Leoncio moved to Ireland in 2017, with her husband and two children, to work in the country’s health system.

“We might have different faiths and beliefs but can I ask of you . . . to take a pause and say a prayer of healing and strength for her and her family,” said Chuck Giner, her nursing colleague at UHG, in a posting relayed on the Philippine Consulate’s social media.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – along with all of the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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Connacht Tribune

Gort boy reunites Tipp star with broken hurl from famous point

Dara Bradley

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Liam Linnane from Gort holding Brendan Maher's broken hurley from the All-Ireland semi-final club game. Photo: Hardiman Photography.

Tipperary All-Star hurler Brendan Maher has revealed that a young lad in Gort has found his long-lost hurl – the one he used to score one of the points of the last sporting year.

The broken hurl, the one that broke the hearts of St Thomas’ fans back in January, was used to fire over a point in Borris-Illeigh’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over the Galway club at the Gaelic Grounds.

Maher revealed last week that he tried to retrieve the hurl after the match to keep as a memento, but couldn’t find it. He subsequently got a letter from twelve year old Liam Linnane from Gort, who had found it.

“After I scored the point I got kind of carried away and I threw it over my shoulder into the open stand in the Gaelic Grounds. After the match, I thought I would really like to have that hurley but we could not find it and the club even contacted the Gaelic Grounds afterwards to see if it was found.

“Several weeks had passed and I’d given up on it when I got a letter from a young fella in Gort and I read down through it. He said he was twelve years old and that he was at the game where I scored the point with the broken hurley and that he had the hurley.”

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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