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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway 2020 blunder curtails launch event in Eyre Square

Dara Bradley

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The long-awaited unveiling of the cultural programme for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has hit a glitch – the event licence application was invalidated, because it was submitted too late.

Despite a delay in lodging an event licence application with City Hall, Galway 2020 has insisted the launch event in Eyre Square on September 18 will proceed as planned . . . but with a far reduced capacity.

Galway City Council and Galway 2020 have both confirmed that the event will go ahead under an ‘event permit’ rather than an ‘event licence’, as it was advertised too late.

The practical implication of this application mistake is that 3,000 fewer people can attend the launch. Under an event permit, up to 5,000 people are allowed to attend; the capacity crowd for an event with a licence is 8,000.

The mistake also means that the public, and elected members, are deprived of having their say on the application – an event licence can be inspected by the public, who can make formal observations and submissions, and is voted on by city councillors.

On August 22, Galway 2020 published a public notice announcing its intention to apply for an event licence to launch its programme in Eyre Square.

The advertisement said “it is anticipated that an audience of up to 8,000 people will attend this event”. It invited the public to inspect the proposal, and make submissions or observations about the plan.

The Galway City Tribune visited the Planning Department at College Road to inspect the application file but was told it had been “invalidated” because it was lodged too late.

The dates involved are key; the licence application would require approval of elected members, who do not convene again until Monday, September 9. Event licence applications have a statutory three-week window for members of the public to make submissions, which would end on September 12, just six days before the event is to take place.

The delay in lodging the application meant that it did not allow the Chief Executive of the Council, Brendan McGrath, sufficient time to prepare a written report for councillors, or put the item on the Council agenda as per the guidelines.

The Council this week did not share details with the Galway City Tribune of the event permit application, which is currently with its Parks Department.

In a statement to this newspaper, Galway 2020 said: “The programme launch event will proceed as planned on September 18. An event licence and an event permit were both applied for from the outset. Because of a delay in advertising the event licence application, we are progressing with the event permit.

“The event permit allows for an audience capacity of up to 5,000 in Eyre Square. An event licence would have allowed for an audience capacity of up to 8,000. Apart from the reduced potential audience the event will proceed exactly as planned. As part of the application process for the event licence and permit, Galway 2020 has engaged with all of the relevant authorities including the Gardaí in relation to traffic management as well as the HSE and Chief Fire Officer regarding emergency procedures.”

A spokesperson for Galway City Council said: “It is my understanding that Galway 2020 intended to hold a public event in Eyre Square on Wednesday, September 18. They initially thought that the event would attract up to 8,000 people but have since revised that attendance figure downwards to less than 5,000, and so they do not need to go through the statutory process for a public event licence. It is being dealt with by the Parks Department, by way of a permit.”

The event is due to begin at 6pm in Eyre Square, and invites have been issued to dignitaries.

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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