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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors warned Galway Civic Trust facing cash crisis

Dara Bradley

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A cash crisis threatens the future financial viability of Galway Civic Trust, city councillors have been told.

Chairperson of the Trust, Jack Mulveen, has warned Galway City Council that the “survival of the Trust and its renewal is dependent on the appropriate steps being taken now and in the coming months”. It needs a cash injection of €43,000 next year.

The City Council reduced its funding to the Trust in 2018, which “caused liquidity problems”, according to Mr Mulveen, and as a result “we had to draw on our prudent reserves to sustain running costs”.

“These reserves have now been exhausted and our financial viability is questionable,” he said.

The “minimum required” every year to run the Trust is €35,000, he said, and in 2019 a “financial float” of €8,000 is also required to replenish the Trust’s reserves.

The funding crisis at the Trust is highlighted in a three-page letter from Mr Mulveen to city councillor’s ahead of the preparation of the local authority’s budget for 2019.

“While the Trust is looking for funds for its survival, we like to see these funds as an investment in the city as everything we undertake, the city is the beneficiary. We also want to make the connection with stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership to implement a plan to make Galway more attractive to everyone,” he said.

The Trust is responsible for historic buildings Fishery Watchtower Museum and Hall of the Red Earl, as well as putting on local events for National Heritage Week and Culture Night. It also manages a CE scheme, which includes projects such as the Circle of Life Garden in Salthill and Bádoiri an Cladaig.

Mr Mulveen outlined to councillors that the Board of the Trust has ‘changed tack’ following scandals that have come to light at the Trust.

“The recent adverse publicity in the media, albeit misconstrued, caused us to reflect on our function and ushered in a new approach or roadmap for the Trust. While we addressed and reversed the bad publicity, the experience taught us that our model of business is old and it requires radical reform for sustainability,” said Mr Mulveen.

He pointed out to councillors, who will ultimately vote on whether to fund the Trust or not, when the Budget comes before them next month, that the Trust, “has played an essential part of the promotion and enhancement of Galway’s built heritage”.

It has also “contributed to tourism by providing tourist leisure amenities to showcase the historic essence of Galway”.

Mr Mulveen outlined a ‘process of renewal’ for the Trust, which was a “new board, a new approach, a new way of doing business, a new Civic Trust”.

“We now believe the reconstruction of the Trust and not its demise is in the best interest of Galway. We want to embrace change by creating a more sustainable future and to share and take part in a plan for Galway that is achievable and beneficial. We want to build on the legacy of engagement; provide a platform of collaboration from other professionals for the benefit of Galway. We are seeking new acquisitions and targeting more historic buildings in need of refurbishment and creating additional tourist hubs or places of special interest in the city,” added Mr Mulveen.

The Trust was granted €50,000 from the Council every year from 2012 to 2016. However, funding fell by €10,000 to €40,000 in 2017 and the Trust received just €20,000 so far this year.

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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