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CITY TRIBUNE

EU tells Galway 2020: “sort out the problems”

Dara Bradley

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Galway City Tribune – Galway 2020 risks “losing track with the project” and is in danger of “incurring further delays” if it fails to solve a number of problems highlighted by the European Commission.

The latest report by the European Capital of Culture Expert Panel, which monitors the progress of Galway 2020, identified a number of key issues that need to be tackled in the short-term.

Among them were budget concerns, delays in implementing certain aspects of the project, communication problems, and staffing issues.

Unsurprisingly, given Galway 2020 lost its Creative Director, Chris Baldwin in controversial circumstances just 10 months into the role, a lack of cultural leadership was also highlighted; as was the lack of clarity in the organisational structure of Galway 2020.

The 13-page report by the experts was compiled following a second monitoring meeting between Galway 2020 representatives and members of the European Commission, which was held in Brussels in July.

Published on Wednesday night, the experts’ report concluded: “(We) would like to stress the need to solve the discussed issues in the short term, with danger of losing track with the project and incurring in further delays.

“In particular, there is a need to appoint a cultural leadership to mainstream an artistic vision into overall programme and communication efforts and for the project to move forward swiftly from programme conception to implementation.”

When asked by the experts what its top priorities for the short-term were, the Galway 2020 team “clearly affirmed the need to get the cultural leadership in place; to work on their communication; to stabilise their funding prospects; to deliver the project contracts; and to advance with the evaluation and monitoring work alongside NUI Galway.”

A six-strong group representing Galway 2020 attended the monitoring meeting in Brussels, including CEO Hannah Kiely and Damien Egan, Director of Operations and Finance.

Mr Egan advised the expert panel that they had two budget scenarios – the original planned budget of €45.75 million, and a “re-profiled budget” of €39.7 million “in case the originally planned County (Council) contribution of €6 million isn’t provided in full”.

The Galway 2020 group faced a grilling during the monitoring meeting on the progress of the project to date with just 18 months until the year of designation.

The expert panel “asked about an apparent loss of enthusiasm on the communication of the initiative and where there was a gap between the project on the one hand and the city and its communities on the other hand”.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article on Galway 2020 and the expert panel’s recommendations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

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CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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