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Career change for man at helm of world’s only 7-star hotel

Dara Bradley

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One of Galway’s most successful emigrants is making a career change, after years at the helm of the world’s only seven-star hotel.

Dubai Holdings has announced that Galway city man Gerald Lawless has been appointed to a new position at its corporate office where he will be responsible for tourism and hospitality.

Gerald Lawless who has been 18 years as Group President and CEO of the Jumeirah Group which owns it.

Gerald Lawless who has been 18 years as Group President and CEO of the Jumeirah Group which owns it.

Mr Lawless, Group President and CEO of Jumeirah Group in Dubai, makes the move after 18 years at the helm of the business.

Stefan Lesser has been appointed his successor as group chief executive of Jumeirah.

Originally from Circular Road where his family operated a dairy, Mr Lawless graduated from Shannon College of Hotel Management in 1975. He first went to Dubai three years later and devoted almost 30 years of his professional life to the city. He had a successful 23-year career with Forte Hotels, and then joined the Jumeirah Group in 1997, and built the company into one of the best-known luxury hospitality brands in the World.

As chief executive of the leading hotel groups, Mr Lawless was also responsible for its flagship hotel, the Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world and the only seven-star.

“It has been an immense honour and privilege to have been entrusted with setting up the Jumeirah Group, with the development of its outstanding portfolio of luxury hotels and other businesses and the promotion of the brand internationally,” said Mr Lawless.

He thanked everyone for their support over the years, including Dubai Holdings and its 14,000 colleagues. Mr Lawless said he is looking forward to a smooth transition and his new set of responsibilities with the company.

He is brother of Billy Lawless, a publican and restaurateur in Chicago who is synonymous with campaigning for immigrant rights.

As well as being a graduate of Shannon, he holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management by the Johnson and Wales University in the State of Rhode Island, USA.

He is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Organisation, a member of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism council of the World Economic Forum, and fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality. In April, he will assume the chairmanship of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

He is also a Non-Executive Director at the Travelodge Board where he represents Dubai Holding, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. Mr Lawless was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards 2010. He was also awarded an honorary degree by NUI Galway in recent years.

As well as leading the drive to establish Burj Al Arab Jumeirah as the most luxurious hotel in the world and a symbol of Dubai as a luxury destination, Mr Lawless spearheaded the expansion of the company’s portfolio, which now includes 23 hotels in 12 destinations, stretching from London to Shanghai, with new openings planned.

Jumeirah Group operates over 100 restaurants, the Wild Wadi Waterpark and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; where Mr Lawless will remain Chancellor.

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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