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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

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley

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Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan

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Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley

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Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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