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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway back in festive swing

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Festival highlight…John Gerrard (centre) in front of his Mirror Pavilion in Derrigimlagh Bog, pictured in with Galway International Arts Festival’s Chief Executive John Crumlish (left) and Artistic Director Paul Fahy. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

The programme may have been amended because of Covid-19 restrictions – but this year’s Galway International Arts Festival still conjured up a whole set of indoor and outdoor experiences to deliver three weeks of spectacular success.

The pandemic resulted in GIAF’s biggest ever digital programme, including the first festival theatre livestream, making the work accessible to a much wider audience – and a star-studded concert from St Nicholas’ Church.

Festival highlights included Medicine, a theatrical tour-de-force by Enda Walsh with a cast featuring Domhnall Gleeson – and the acclaimed Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work, the second part of John Gerrard’s visual art project set in the heart of Derrygimlagh bog. That also attracted a global audience because it included a 24/7 live stream of the virtual performance that was being shown on the LED screen.

The first ever Other Voices collaboration with the festival delivered an unforgettable concert from St Nicholas’ Church, as part of the Courage series, featuring NewDad, Tolü Makay, Susan O’Neill and Mick Flannery, and Anna Mullarkey.

Audiences can still experience again the First Thought Talks series by checking them out  the Festival website.  Guests such as Misha Glenny; Bonnie Greer; Mike Ryan, Noelle Browne; Siobhan Burke, Sinéad Burke, Fintan O Toole, Peter Lunn and Teresa Lambe amongst others, discussed everything from cyber-hacking to the impact of remote working on rural Ireland to vaccine development.

The 2021 Vinyl Hours series saw guests Philip King, Sinéad Burke, Niamh Regan and Brian Kerr, reveal their most treasured songs in special in-conversation events. Fans can catch up with these conversations when they are released next month as part of the First Thought podcast series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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