Galway 2020 in discussions on policing of events

Galway 2020 insists it is engaging with Gardaí about the policing plans required next year, when the city becomes European Capital of Culture.

And the company set up to deliver Galway 2020 said a ‘special advisory group’ is being established to plan the logistics of next year’s events, including health and safety and traffic management.

It is understood from Garda sources that senior Gardaí are concerned with the lack of engagement so far in relation to the police staffing requirements that will be needed next year.

But a spokesperson for Galway 2020 said it has been engaging with Gardaí, and will continue to do so.

“Galway 2020 has been engaging with the Gardaí for some time, keeping them informed of plans and requirements for events next year. Meetings have taken place with both local and regional Gardaí to discuss important items including planning, traffic management and safety for outdoor events. Further meetings are scheduled with senior Garda management to keep them abreast of all plans,” a spokesperson said.

She said Galway 2020 was “committed to working closely with the Gardaí to ensure the necessary management of and safety for the many exciting, large-scale events that will take place throughout next year”.

“A special advisory group is being established which include health and safety, major emergency management, roads and traffic and all local Garda input. Further planning meetings will take place on an ongoing basis, as required throughout this year and in 2020 in preparation for individual events.

“We appreciate the support and engagement that we’ve had with the Gardaí thus far and will continue to work closely with them for the safe and successful delivery of events,” added the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, an operational liaison group, involving senior management at Galway City Council and logistics staff at Galway 2020, has been meeting every six to eight weeks, as the city prepares to host the European Capital of Culture.

A Council spokesperson explained that the liaison group was established last November and is headed by Brian Barrett, Senior Executive Officer with responsibility for Culture and Economic Development at City Hall.

Its primary function is to identify areas, outside of direct funding, where Council resources will be needed to be directed during 2020.

Around a dozen people attend the meetings, which will probably become monthly or more frequent as of this September, when the full Galway 2020 programme is known and will be unveiled.

“Every year in the city, we probably have four large-scale events, of crowds of greater than 5,000, that require event licences such as the St Patrick’s Day Parade, Macnas Parade at Halloween and the Christmas Market,” he said.

“Sporting events such as the Races, aren’t included in that. During 2020, there will be those four or five events that happen every year, plus about another four large-scale events associated with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. The liaison group is identifying the key resource requirements.