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CITY TRIBUNE

Critic Conneely gone but Galway 2020’s problems persist

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A Political Column with Dara Bradley 

Galway 2020’s problems haven’t gone away.

One of the company’s fiercest critics – Pádraig Conneely – may be gone from public life, but its fundamental issue, funding, or a lack of it, persists.

Since Conneely’s retirement from politics in May, the controversies surrounding Galway 2020’s European Capital of Culture aren’t thrashed out as much in the public domain.

Don’t be fooled: problems may be out of sight and out of mind but they’re still there.

Part of the problem is that the bid book, Making Waves – the document that won Galway the designation – overpromised. And the company set up to deliver on the bid book is struggling to fulfil all those promises.

One of the reasons the company struggled initially to fulfil the bid book’s ambitious targets is because of issues with appointments, to the Board and to key positions in the company.

A Business Engagement Director was supposed to be appointed in December 2017; but that process was botched, and the Board then decided in January of that year not to appoint anyone to that role. Arguably the most important position after a CEO, the Business Engagement Director would have been tasked with raising €6.75 million in private sponsorship.

Galway 2020’s current funding problems can be traced back to its decision against appointing someone to tap private businesses for cash. In the meantime, Galway 2020 was hit with setback after setback, and the feelgood factor that initially greeted winning the designation has evaporated. Companies which had pledged sponsorship lost confidence and were reluctant to part with their cash.

Now we’ve a situation, weeks out from the programme launch (which will be a far smaller affair in Eyre Square than initially envisaged, see Page One), and just months from the official launch – and Galway 2020 isn’t within an ass’s roar of €6.75 million in sponsorship money.

By the end of December 2018, it had raised just €30,000 in hard, cold cash from private sources.

Galway 2020 puts on a brave face – it has to – and talks about “in-kind support” and the overall budget being a “value proposition” rather than cash. But there’s no mention of “value proposition” in the bid book, and the bid book’s €6.75 million target for private sponsorship was income, not “in-kind” support. Galway 2020 is now talking of a “fundraising and partnerships pipeline” of €4.5 million, rather than €6.75 million, even though it insists its bid book target (of €6.75 million in sponsorship income) hasn’t changed.

An organisation that cannot be up-front, and answer the simple question, ‘How much sponsorship income has been raised so far?’ isn’t one you’d place a whole pile of faith in, is it? There may be reasons to obfuscate – mainly because it hasn’t reached its targets – but it only serves to further undermine the very thing they’re trying to build: confidence in the Capital of Culture . . . For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. 

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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