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Galway City sets sights on All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil

Denise McNamara

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Galway will be applying to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2020, a festival that could boost city coffers to the tune of €50m.

Never before held in Galway City, the massive event was only ever staged in County Galway in 1955 when it took place in Loughrea.

The application to host the event in the city is being made by the Moycullen branch of Galway Comhaltas. The chairman of the Moycullen branch, Caomhan Ó Fatharta, told the Galway City Tribune they were laying the groundwork for their application by manning a stand at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Ennis from August 9, urging other counties to throw their support behind the bid.

The branch has received a commitment from NUI Galway to host the event in three years’ time after successfully holding the county final last year, with plans to hold the Connacht finals there next year.

“Galway never had the facilities to apply for this before but now the university has two big halls – the Bailey Allen and the Kingfisher – that can hold 2,200 people. We will possibly need a third venue such as the Big Top which holds 1,000,” explained Caomhan.

“We have a lot of work done on this in the Moycullen branch. We’re trying to sort out meetings with the City Council, County Council and councillors to all get behind this as well as the 2020 team because of the enormous cost implications of staging this – it costs €800,000 to run.

“But we plan to definitely submit an application for 2020 after this year’s All-Ireland.”

The spin-offs are huge. In 2013 the jamboree of music, song and dance went north for the first time to Derry City, which staged the biggest event ever held in Comhaltas’ history when 430,000 attended.

There is no reason why Galway could not be even bigger.

Ennis will stage the event this year and next, with a destination yet to be decided for 2018 and 2019. Sligo was the venue for the past two years.

The venue is decided by votes from branches from across the county and internationally. The week before the Fleadh – which generally takes place on the second or third week of August – is also a hive of activity as young musicians undertake week-long tutoring.

Peadar Brick, chairperson of the Galway Comhaltas, declined to comment ahead of a meeting on the issue next week.

He did point out that NUIG boasted the most appropriate facilities in the county as they were compact, capable of holding large crowds with 20 venues on site for different competitions.

The event is generally held in a location for two years in a row. Due to its timing, it will not clash with the other flagship events in the city such as the Galway International Arts Festival or the Galway Races.

Recently the head of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann told the Galway City Tribune that he would welcome an application to host a future Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Galway City.

Labhrás Ó Murchú, director-general of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, remarked: ”Galway City is a wonderful place, it’s such a vibrant city in so many ways because of the language and being so close to the Connemara Gaeltacht and it’s so compact – that’s why Derry was so successful, everything was near together.

“Personally, I spent my younger days in the Connemara Gaeltacht and we used to come into Galway City. I’ve often thought, gosh, wouldn’t this be a great location for the Fleadh Cheoil. The fact that Galway is well used to holding big events like the Galway Races is another Brownie point for Galway that it could well handle large crowds.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Probes into patient’s death following ‘assault’ at UHG

Dara Bradley

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Galway City Tribune – Three separate investigations are underway into the circumstances surrounding the death of a pensioner at University Hospital Galway some days after she broke her hip in an alleged assault by an ‘aggressive’ patient in the Emergency Department.

It is understood authorities at the hospital and Gardaí have launched separate investigations into the death of the 74-year-old woman, who endured an ordeal in the overall hospital system, and in particular the Emergency Department (ED), in the days leading up to her passing in late September.

Galway West Coroner, Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin, is also inquiring into the matter and an inquest will be held.

The family of the Connemara native, who lived for most of her life in the city, have sought answers as to what exactly happened to their mother, while in the care of the public hospital.

In an official complaint lodged with UHG, it is alleged that the woman was assaulted by a fellow patient in the ED early one morning last month.

She was allegedly thrown or flipped out of the trolley she was lying on, in the overflow area of the ED, and broke her hip when she hit the floor.

“Why was my mother left unattended with an aggressive patient free to roam around the ED? How is it possible that there was nobody there to protect my mother? My mother was brought to the ED to get health care and we believed she was safe, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. How many more families have had similar incidents?” her daughter said in an interview with Galway City Tribune.
This is a preview only. To read the full report, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

€6m boost for overhaul of ‘Atlantic Museum’

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An artist's impression of the plaza area around the City Museum. IMAGE: HALEY SHARPE DESIGN

Galway City Tribune – Fáilte Ireland has announced a €6.64 million investment in Galway City Museum in what is the single biggest infrastructural investment made by the tourism body in its history – money they believe will create a bench mark attraction for local authorities across Ireland and draw €30 million in revenue for the region in its first five years of operation.

The €10.2 million development, which will be co-funded by Galway City Council, will incorporate the iconic building of Comerford House and will provide access to the Spanish Arch in a way that has never been possible before.

Head of Attractions with Fáilte Ireland, Mary Stack, said that while this was a big and ambitious project, they aimed to open the doors in early 2022.

“We’re aiming for a 2022 opening. It seems like a long time away but I’m telling you, it will be time well spent getting everything in place because this is going to be a state-of-the-art museum. I think it will set best practice in the country for local authority museums.

“It will be a much longer experience now, so instead of coming in for a couple of hours, you could literally spend the whole day in the museum and it would be a day well spent,” she said adding that a new addition would be the ability to climb up to the top of Spanish Arch.

“Visitors like to be able to get on top of something, to be able to climb it and get to a height, so I think it will actually draw people down form Quay Street and you’’ be able to see it straight away. Even if you didn’t know what it was before you got here, once you see people on top of the Spanish Arch, you’re going to want to come in.,” she added.

As part of this investment, the museum is also set to be rebranded to the ‘Atlantic Museum’ – a title that Museum Director Eithne Verling said encapsulated the entire concept of what will be a centrepiece in one of Galway’s most iconic locations.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Market traders accuse City Council of ignoring flooding problem

Denise McNamara

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A trader attempts to sweep away pools of water in the market on Churchyard Street.

Galway City Tribune – Galway’s weekend market traders have launched a campaign to force the City Council to undertake drainage work and a surface upgrade ahead of next year’s expected influx of tourists.

Conditions at the market at Churchyard Street have deteriorated to such an extent that some stallholders must stand in two inches of water during heavy rains while they watch tourists fall flat on their faces after tripping on lose paving stones and uneven ground.

For the past two years, traders claim they have been unable to secure a meeting with Council officials to press their case and feel largely ignored despite the value of the market to locals and visitors alike.

It was when they learned that the area was not going to be resurfaced as part of the major upgrade along the pedestrianised spine of the city that they decided to move their campaign up a gear, explained market trader Rachel Allkin.

“Obviously we would like to get electricity points, but our main two things are the drains and the resurfacing. The drains haven’t been cleared in a few years and you’re just standing in puddles of water when it rains – some stalls have two inches of water when it’s bad.

“And because of the uneven surface the water just sits there. Then we are seeing customers trip all the time – it’s such a regular occurrence and it’s not a nice thing to happen. Why can’t they resurface Churchyard Street now when the workers are on site?”

Rachel and her husband Adrian Allkin run the stall, Away With The Fairies. She says it takes away a bit of the magic for customers if they witness unpleasant materials emerge from the drains while shopping for fairy doors.

Spokesman for Galway City Council, Gary McMahon, said Walsh Waste undertook a clean of 70 metres of sewers along Lombard Street in the last month.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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