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CITY TRIBUNE

Drama on glory of dancehall days goes on Galway tour

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Peter Daffy as JP, Kevin Glynn as Mattie, Bernie O’Shea as Gerry, Maria Lockett as Dr Rosario, Helen Leech as Maisie, Imelda Counihan as Vera. Niall Finnegan as Tommy, and Shane Counihan as Jack Jnr in If Only.

A drama that will transport audiences back to the halcyon days of the dancehall days is currently on a tour of Galway, being presented by Gort’s Wild Swan Theatre Group.

If Only is a comedy that “will bring you up, bring you down, bring you over and bring you back”, according to its co-author Shane Counihan.

Shane and his fellow Gort man Kevin Glynn wrote If Only last year, and it became a massive hit for the amateur company, selling nine nights in Gort and two nights in Glór Theatre, Ennis, as well as playing an Taibhdhearc in Galway City, where it also sold out. Not bad for a drama written out of necessity,

“The Wild Swan group had new members from Corofin in Co Clare who were great musicians and we also had a local man, Niall Finnegan, who is a great musician,” explains 26-year-old Shane.

“We were looking for a play to suit the crew we had, and we couldn’t find one. So, Shane suggested to Kevin that they write one.

Kevin, who is in his 50s, agreed to give it a go.

“Then we asked ourselves, ‘what’s the biggest thing that Gort was known for?’ and it was the Classic Ballroom,” Shane says.

Now gone, the Classic Ballroom on the Ennis Road was owned by the Mullins family in its heyday and the playwrights were fortunate in being able to call on ex-proprietor Noel Mullins who happily shared his memories.

Shane’s late grandmother, Mai, was also a fount of information about the legendary ballroom where showbands such as The Dixies, the Royal and the Mainliners had performed. She died before If Only was produced but had read the script and loved it. Her grandson describes as “a hilarious comedy that will bring a tear to your eye at the end”.

For more, read 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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