Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

CITY TRIBUNE

Deep concerns in arts community over unanswered Galway 2020 questions

Published

on

Attending a special Galway City Council meeting when the CEO and Chair of Galway 2020, Hannah Kiely and Aideen McGinley, were updating councillors on how the project was progressing, was a thoroughly depressing experience.

Apparently, the purpose of the meeting was to allow councillors to ask questions and seek answers to issues around 2020, following the resignation of its Creative Director and the appointment – then non-appointment – of a Business Engagement Director.

There were – and there still are – other questions around sponsorship, communications and the overall financial status of this company charged with delivering Galway as European Capital of Culture in 2020.

These are serious questions, ones that are causing deep concern among the arts community of Galway – hard-working people who have thrown their energy behind this project and who have been faced with problems ranging from funding to issues around ownership of intellectual copyright in their dealings with 2020.

As someone who has reported on the arts in Galway for three decades, I know the contribution the people on the frontline have made to this city. Before Galway won this designation of European Capital of Culture, these people had made it world-renowned as a creative and wonderful place in which to live. I’d go so far as to say; Galway City had a comparatively easy ride during the economic downturn compared to other cities because of its brilliant arts community.

They are the people who stand to gain – or to lose – most, depending on how 2020 pans out. And, in a project such as this, our primary duty should be to them. But as councillor after councillor expressed their outrage on Tuesday night at what was going on around 2020, most of them – bar a few resolute challengers – chose to target this outrage at ‘the media which had an agenda’ and ‘the whisperers’ who were ‘undermining’ Galway 2020. There were questions around finance and communication issues, but from where I sat, this looked more like a damage-limitation exercise than a serious attempt to explore the concerns that exist around the progress towards 2020.

Galway, according to one councillor, was simply the best and let not the likes of Limerick be thinking they were in our league. What arrogance. Yes, Galway won the bid, defeating Limerick and the ‘Three Sisters’. And that was great. But now we have to deliver on it – leaving room for neither complacency nor arrogance.

For starters, let me tell those councillors who were taking potshots about whisperers, nobody in the arts community is whispering – they are talking openly about their livelihoods, and those I have spoken to were not reassured after this week’s meeting.

Many questions still remain and while City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath gave a rousing speech at the end, in which he pointed out that 2020 was about the artists, it contained very few cold, hard facts about sponsorship raised to date or about tangible artistic progress.

He did say that ‘new exciting’ appointments would be made towards the end of the month. These would be producers. Producers are a vital component of 2020. But what about a Creative Director? This is the person charged with offering artistic direction to the entire project – and according to the page 92 of the Bid Book which won us the Capital of Culture designation, that person would have responsibility for delivering the artistic programme, 70 per cent of which was outlined in the book. That left 30 per cent of the programming to the Creative Director. The previous incumbent, Chris Baldwin, has resigned. But 2020 still needs creative direction – in artistic organisations, producers are normally appointed to implement the Creative Director’s vision, not to provide it themselves. Different roles, therefore different skills required.

Mr McGrath made no mention of a Creative Director in his rousing speech. It’s a worry.

Secondly, let me turn to those councillors who were having a dig at the media on Tuesday night.

The media have a duty to ask questions, particularly when all the money that has been allocated to 2020 so far has come from public coffers – ie, from us, the taxpayers, including this town’s artistic community. So, it’s appropriate that the media will continue to ask questions. And we won’t apologise for it.

We all want Galway 2020 to succeed, none moreso than the artistic community.

But burying our heads in the sand and pretending that issues don’t exist won’t make things right. One of the braver councillors, Ollie Crowe, pointed out that as of now, 2020 is €10 million behind budget – in an overall budget of some €45.7 million. That’s not insignificant. It’s just one of the many issues.

We need to wake up to the reality and the challenges we face. Starting with our city councillors.

■ Judy Murphy is Arts Editor of the Galway City Tribune and has been reporting on the arts in the West of Ireland for more than three decades.

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

Published

on

Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

Published

on

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending