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CITY TRIBUNE

Fears grow 2020 will not meet criteria for €1.5m EU fund

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GALWAY 2020 could struggle to meet all five criteria set by the European Commission before it is eligible to draw down €1.5 million in European Capital of Culture prize money.

The European Commission has confirmed that a third formal monitoring meeting with Galway 2020 will take place this Autumn.

At that stage, the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) panel of experts will decide whether to recommend awarding the Melina Mercouri Prize to Galway or not.

If the European Commission accepts the Panel’s recommendation, the actual payment of the award will be made in the first few months of the ECOC year 2020. The prize is a fixed amount of €1.5 million.

In a statement to Galway City Tribune, the European Commission set out the criteria that will be checked by the panel at the monitoring meeting.

Number one on the list is that “there has been no substantial change in the vision, objectives, strategy, programme and budget since the bid book”.

The project as originally envisaged had a budget of €47 million, but that has since been revised downwards to €39 million.

So far, Galway 2020 has just €23 million ‘in the bank’, and unless it rapidly sources additional money, it could struggle to meet the ‘no substantial change in budget’ criterion to be eligible for the prize.

Four other standards must also be met before the European Commission money is paid.

They include: That the independence of the artistic team has been appropriately respected; that the European dimension has remained sufficiently strong in the programme; that the marketing and communication of the ECOC give due prominence to the ECOC as a European Union action; and that monitoring is taking place and arrangements for the final evaluation are in place.

“It is also important that adequate arrangements are made for the transition from the ECOC team to the legacy management,” a European Commission spokesperson said.

He confirmed that since the last formal monitoring meeting with Galway 2020 and the panel of experts, and the subsequent publication of a report last July, an extra meeting between Galway 2020 and the experts was held last November.

The November meeting wasn’t one of the three formal monitoring meetings of the ECOC monitoring process, so it was not followed by a report.

Asked how that monitoring meeting went, the spokesperson added: “There have been fruitful exchanges between the Panel and the City but nothing to report at this stage.”

Galway 2020, the company tasked to deliver the year-long designation, has been beset with problems since Galway won the honour of hosting the European Capital of Culture. These involve issues with funding, governance, staffing, communication and a lack of engagement with groups involved in the bid book.

The July monitoring report highlighted how Galway 2020 risked “losing track with the project” and risked “incurring further delays” if it failed to solve a number of problems highlighted by the European Commission.

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

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland on Wednesday, Chair of the Board of Galway 2020, Arthur Lappin, said the bid book budget of €47 million was “obviously aspirational”. He conceded the event has been “scaled back a little bit”, but its budget would still be about €40 million. The “extraordinary valuable legacy” the event will leave, Mr Lappin said, is “beyond what people can appreciate”.

CITY TRIBUNE

Former hotel won’t be ring-fenced for college

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No designation....Corrib Great Southern during demolition.

The site of the former Corrib Great Southern will no longer be ring-fenced for educational purposes if a clause removed in a draft of the next development plan is eventually adopted.

A motion by Mayor Colette Connolly proposed earmarking one-third of the six-acre Dublin Road site for educational use as well as research or collaborative ventures between third level colleges and industry.

Mayor Connolly said her proposal reinstates the text of the current plan reserving a portion of any planned development for education.

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) was supportive of the motion, the Independent councillor she told a planning meeting convened to collate a draft of the plan.

Councillor Declan McDonell (Ind) said GMIT had recently purchased the home of the Galwegians Rugby Club at Glenina for €9 million and were progressing developments at the Cluain Mhuire site and a proposed Centre of Excellence for Health, Sport, and Marine Science at Murrough.

The former hotel had been offered to GMIT for €3.75m by NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) but they had to pass because they could not come up with the money.

“So I fail to see how they could come up with the money to buy two acres for educational purposes – therefore we could be left with a derelict site for years,” he warned.

Cllr Noel Larkin (Ind) told the meeting he was in favour of an expanding GMIT but agreed the site which only recently saw the demolition of a major eyesore could be left derelict for another decade if developers were hamstrung by what could be built.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Conamara siblings take to stage for TradFest

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Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Fhlatharta, who will perform in Collins Barracks next Thursday.

The musical talent of Conamara siblings Caoimhe and Séamus Uí Fhlatharta from An Áird Mhóir, will be on show at this year’s Temple Bar TradFest, which runs from January 26-230 in venues across Dublin. They will be performing at Collins Barracks at 1pm next Thursday, January 26.

Séamus and Caoimhe, who have won multiple All-Ireland titles for their music, are well-known among fans of traditional music as brilliant multi-instrumentalists, singers and dancers, whose vocal arrangements and harmonies bring new life to well-known and less familiar songs. Their performance on last week’s Late Late Show as part of a musical tribute to murdered Offaly woman, Ashling Murphy, was widely praised.

TradFest is one of the first largescale events to host live audiences again, something that performers and fans alike hope will continue.

Other participants include actor Stephen Rea, hosting a night of poetry and music with Natalya O’Flaherty, Sasha Terfous, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy and Neill Martin; Fairport Convention; Peggy Seeger, Aoife Scott and Wallis Bird; Maria Doyle Kennedy; Boxing Banjo; Dervish, Altan and 4 Men and a Dog; Séamus Begley, Oisín Mac Diarmada and Samantha Harvey; Martin and Eliza Carthy; The Lost Brothers; Maria Doyle Kennedy; Joe and Steve Wall; Cór Cúil Aodha and Seán Ó Sé; Karan Casey; Niamh Ní Charra; Brídín; Laoise Kelly; Brenda Castles, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh; Tim Edey, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien.

Tickets and more information at tradfesttemplebar.com.

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CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG Mystics sticking to their routine ahead of Cup decider

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Alison Blaney of NUIG Mystics in action against Sophie Moore of Limerick Sport Huskies during the Women’s Division 1 National Cup semi-final. The Galway club face Templeogue in Sunday's final.

NUIG Mystics head coach Paul O’Brien says his squad are treating this week like any other as they prepare to head to the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Sunday to take on Templeogue in the Women’s Division One Cup final (1.30pm).

Mystics go into the game as favourites, having lowered the Templeogue flag on the Dublin side’s home court in the league with a 76-60 win back at the end of November, though O’Brien insists that game will have little bearing on Sunday’s contest.

“That was a couple of months ago, they are a much better side now, defensively they are far stronger now then they were for that game, so we are going to have to shoot the ball well, certainly better than we did in the semi-final,” he says.

That semi-final saw Mystics overcome Limerick Sport Huskies 70-54, and they go into Sunday’s final in great form, having trimmed Tipperary Knights 92-65 at the NUIG Sports Complex on Saturday, their eighth win on the bounce since their one and only defeat of the season, a 77-74 loss to Ulster University Elks back in November.

“That was a very good game at the weekend and the final scoreline doesn’t do justice to Tipperary. They were right in it until about half way through the third quarter, they were leading in fact, but we just pulled it out with a big final quarter,” he said.

Templeogue are also on a decent run of form, having won four games on the spin, their last defeat being that reversal to Mystics, and O’Brien says that the Dublin side will be boosted by having something of a home court advantage, given the fact the NBA is just a 20-minute drive from their home court.

However, Mystics have plenty of players used to playing high-pressure games, and the national arena won’t hold any surprises for a side packed with players who have worn the green of Ireland at the venue, and have contested schools’ and club finals there.

“We have a great team spirit, there is no ego in the squad, players don’t mind who gets the scores as long as the team wins, and that has been crucial to our season so far. We are treating this week the same as any other, we’ll train Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and we’ll get the bus up on Sunday morning and hopefully we will play to our ability,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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