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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

Three refused bail on violent disorder charges

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Longford Courthouse

Three men who were arrested this morning as part of a Garda investigation into violent disorder at a funeral in Mervue last year, have been denied bail by a District Court Judge.

Denis Hannafin, Curry; Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road – all in Longford – were charged with violent disorder in connection with an incident which occurred outside Holy Family funeral home on in January 13 last year.

Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told the court this morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family outside the funeral home on January 13, 2019, at approximately 3.15pm, when a number of members of the McGinley family made their way towards them.

An altercation ensued, which resulted in one member of the McGinley family suffering a gunshot wound, while another received a stab wound to the back. A third man suffered acid wounds.

Gardaí explained that there is a feud going on between the two families, which began when juvenile members of the families got into a fight at a pool hall.

Detective Leonard voiced concerns that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences and intimidate members of the McGinley family.

Judge Seamus Hughes had remanded the three accused in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday, February 28.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Three arrested in investigation into violent incidents outside church

Enda Cunningham

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Three men will appear in court this morning charged in relation to an number of incidents in Mervue last year. A man suffered a gunshot wound during one of the incidents. 

Gardaí in Longford arrested three males this morning in relation to incidents outside Mervue Church on January 13 last year.

The three males, two aged in their early 40s and the third in his late 30s are due to appear before Longford District Court this morning.

Following a funeral at the church, a man in his 30s received a gunshot wound to the leg and was treated in University Hospital Galway.

A second man in his late teens received a stab wound to the back and was taken to UHG for treatment.

A third man received minor injuries in an assault on Walter Macken Road.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mice the suspects in University Hospital Galway kitchen closure

Stephen Corrigan

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The Old Nurses’ Home at UHG. The kitchens are to the rear of this building.

The main production kitchen in University Hospital Galway has been closed since last Thursday as a result of suspected rodent activity – with patients and staff being kept in the dark as to the reason food options have been limited for the past week.

The Galway City Tribune understands that kitchen staff were called to a meeting on February 13 to inform them that there was an issue with gas, and as a result, the production kitchen would be closed until further notice.

Following this, staff at the hospital discovered a dead mouse on the premises on Sunday – resulting in the continued closure of kitchen facilities used to feed over 700 patients.

However, the majority of staff have not been officially informed of the real reason the closure had to be enforced – rumours are rife in the hospital with many now aware that it’s as a result of a possible mice infestation.

Eyebrows were raised by staff when it was suggested that an issue with gas supply was at the root of the problem, as the staff canteen in the Old Nurses’ Home has remained operational.

Throughout the week, food options available to patients have become further curtailed – with breakfast limited to cereals, while porridge is unavailable.

Lunches consist of pre-packed sandwiches and salads with tea or coffee, while patients on special diets are being catered for.

The only hot food being made available to patients is being cooked at Merlin Park University Hospital and being transferred across the city by van in evening rush hour.

As a result of this logistical nightmare, patients are receiving their first and only hot meal of the day just before 6pm each evening – anything between 45 minutes and an hour later than normal.

Sources in the hospital told the Tribune that staff from UHG are unable to enter the kitchen at Merlin Park until after 3pm as the kitchen there is run by HSE staff – UHG’s kitchen is run by Aramark, a private contractor.

One staff member who spoke to the Tribune said this incident had highlighted the serious lack of contingency planning in the hospital in relation to the preparation of food – pointing out that if there happened to be a particularly bad traffic snarl up, for example, patients would be left hungry.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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