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CITY TRIBUNE

Culture Minister avoided Galway for 2020 re-launch

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

It wasn’t just the public who was confused about Galway 2020’s messaging last year, its main funder, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sport and Media, had reservations, too.

On August 11, Sarah McDonagh, then PR manager with Galway 2020, emailed Department officials a copy of the announcement of the European Capital of Culture’s ‘re-imagined programme’, that was due to be unveiled two days later.

It was sent in advance to be vetted by the GIS, Government Information Services, which controls and syncs the messaging of Government.

Department official Sinéad O’Hara replied “with some suggestions”.

She pointed to two paragraphs in the proposed press statement, “which seems to infer in some cases that there can be a choice to attend events in person or online.”

“This will need to be cleared up,” said Sinéad, who kindly offered her help.

Sarah wasn’t so sure, though. “We gave a lot of consideration to the wording around this section, for the reasons you’ve identified,” she wrote in reply.

“We believe that we’ve made the necessary distinction. For example, we’ve stated that audiences will be able to experience ‘elements of the programme online’ and include ‘both live and digital components’, so we haven’t stated anywhere that a project can be experienced in its entirety online and in person.”

So that’s okay then! Nonetheless, Sarah invited Sinéad to “identify where you have specific concerns and we can review”.

The “minor” changes relayed by Sinéad, were subsequently accepted by GIS and Galway 2020.

Meanwhile, Sarah McDonagh, in her original email, had said that Galway 2020, “would be delighted if you could support the announcement across your social (media) channels”.

Sinéad confirmed the Department would support the launch on its social media.

“We are not yet clear if the Minister will directly tweet as she is officially on leave. However, we have enquired about a tweet welcoming the programme announcement and will hopefully hear back,” she added.

Glancing back at Minister Catherine Martin’s tweets from last August, there’s no sign she composed one to welcome the programme announcement.

Minister Martin did find time to tweet “well done” to a local soccer club in Dundrum, which she was visiting on August 13. It had organised, “fantastic summer camps for boys and girls from the community and beyond!”

Soon after, Minister Martin, a Green Party TD, headed off on her holidays – but not to the European Capital of Culture!

The family staycation was apparently supposed to take place in Galway, but the plan changed, according to internal emails released under Freedom of Information (FOI).

Christine Sisk of Culture Ireland emailed an official in Minister Martin’s Department, Conor Falvey, to confirm that she would keep them in the loop regarding media interest in the Galway 2020 re-launch.

“Are there still plans for her (the Minister) to go to Galway?” Christine asked.

“I don’t think so. I think she may be in Clare over the weekend and in Kerry next week,” he replied.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Outdoor dining plans unveiled for Galway City

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A new plan to temporarily pedestrianise city streets to create more space for outdoor dining this summer was published this week.

Galway City Council has said it is planning to close six streets for four months to boost the hospitality sector and attract more custom ‘back the West’ and to Woodquay.

It has also signalled smaller changes for Salthill and around Eyre Square.

“We’re looking to support businesses and people getting back to work. This is an opportunity for us to explore outdoor dining and we’re looking to trial these public realm initiatives,” Ruairí Lehmann, the City Council’s Tourism Officer told the Galway City Tribune.

“There is an appetite for this; the indications we have from Government is it is going to be an outdoor summer and these proposals will support that,” he added.

Chairperson of Galway Branch of VFI, Johnny Duggan of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, said the changes would be very positive and boost hospitality businesses in all areas.

Already, he said as many as 30 businesses have applied for licences to trade outside in the area known as the Westend.

The local authority wants to close to traffic The Small Crane and Raven Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from June 7 until September 30. Car parking spaces will be removed from Small Crane and one lane of traffic would be kept open, one-way. A decision on which side is still under review.

The Council intends to make Dominick Street Lower (Galway Arms to Monroe’s) a single-lane one-way traffic street to facilitate additional on-street dining. It’s understood this has hasn’t yet got the backing of taxi drivers who have concerns about access to and from the Bridge Street rank but alternative taxi space may be offered at another location in the Westend to assuage those fears.

The Council has signalled its intention to close Dominick Street Upper and William Street West from Small Crane to Munster Avenue, at night only, between 6pm and 11pm, from Monday June 7 until Thursday September 30.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for full details of the proposals for the city centre and Salthill, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council chief backs Salthill tidal pools proposal

Stephen Corrigan

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Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Council is to consider including a specific objective to restore the tidal pools in Salthill in the new City Development Plan – with around one-fifth of the submissions made in a public consultation backing this ‘no-brainer’ proposal.

In a report to councillors on submissions received, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said consideration of the proposal would be based on technical feasibility, funding, staff resources, climate change considerations and environmental factors.

“A large number of submissions were received requesting the restoration of the tidal pools in Salthill as a year-round public amenity and recreation facility accessible to all. The restoration of this facility would be a huge asset to the city and complement the existing facilities that are available at Salthill,” Mr McGrath states in the document seen by the Galway City Tribune.

Support for the reviving of the Ladies’ Beach facility grew legs after an online petition attracted over 4,500 signatures.

Up to 100 of the 518 submissions made to the Council’s pre-draft consultation supported reopening the pools that have been out of action since the late 1970s.

(Photo: How the pools might look. Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland)
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

GMIT in €9m bid for Galwegians’ Glenina grounds

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – GMIT has put in an offer – rumoured to be in the region of €9million – for the purchase of Galwegians RFC’s grounds at Glenina, the Galway City Tribune understands.

The offer will be presented for a vote at a Special General Meeting of club members set to take place on May 27.

The land at Crowley Park, located just two minutes’ walk from GMIT, had been earmarked for housing by property developer Neil Armstrong, and is zoned residential. However, this deal fell through.

A GMIT spokesperson told the Galway City Tribune they were “not yet in a position to comment”, while a spokesperson for Galwegians declined to comment.

It is understood that staff at GMIT were informed by the institution’s Vice President of Finance at a meeting this week that the ‘deal was done’ and that they awaited the rugby club’s signing off at its members’ meeting later in the month.

The sale would clear the way for the club to proceed with plans to develop a 22-acre site at Boleynasruhaun, Oranswell, where it is expected to make a second planning application after the County Council raised concerns over the scale of the development proposed initially.
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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