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.”
Three refused bail on violent disorder charges
Three men who were arrested this morning as part of a Garda investigation into violent disorder at a funeral in Mervue last year, have been denied bail by a District Court Judge.
Denis Hannafin, Curry; Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road – all in Longford – were charged with violent disorder in connection with an incident which occurred outside Holy Family funeral home on in January 13 last year.
Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told the court this morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family outside the funeral home on January 13, 2019, at approximately 3.15pm, when a number of members of the McGinley family made their way towards them.
An altercation ensued, which resulted in one member of the McGinley family suffering a gunshot wound, while another received a stab wound to the back. A third man suffered acid wounds.
Gardaí explained that there is a feud going on between the two families, which began when juvenile members of the families got into a fight at a pool hall.
Detective Leonard voiced concerns that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences and intimidate members of the McGinley family.
Judge Seamus Hughes had remanded the three accused in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday, February 28.
Galway County Council issues flood warning
Galway County Council is making sandbags available to people in various parts of the county due to the threat of flooding.
Already, rainfall has almost quadrupled on this time last year –with already saturated ground has led to an increased threat of flooding.
Met Éireann have reported a 180-300% increase in rainfall when compared with same period 2019.
A Council statement reads: “Soil moisture readings are indicating saturated ground conditions for much of the country.
“Met Éireann have advised that the current regime of periods of high intensity rainfall will possibly be a feature of our weather over the next 14 days.
“As the ground is already saturated, the cumulative rainfall forecasted will increase the threat of both fluvial and pluvial flooding events throughout the county.
“The OPW have indicated that the river network has responded to the recent rainfall since Storm Ciara, with 9% of all river gauges registering above median flood levels. It is expected that all river catchments will see further rises due to the forecasted rainfall over the next 14 days, with both fluvial and pluvial events possible anywhere in the county.
“Spring tides are expected over the weekend, but no issues are expected.
“The Council is making sand bags available for collection by those whose properties are in vulnerable areas, please contact your local area office, during office hours (9am – 5pm).”
Athenry/Oranmore: 091 – 509088
Ballinasloe North & South: 091 – 509074
Conamara North (Clifden): 091 – 509095
Conamara South (An Cheathrú Rua): 091 – 509060
Loughrea: 091 – 509166
Gort: 091 – 509065
Portumna: 090 – 9741019
Tuam: 091 – 509011
The Council said the key message is for people to stay safe.
“Heavy rainfall currently being experienced is making driving conditions hazardous and drivers need to take extreme care and watch out cyclists and pedestrians and for the potential of flying debris, fallen trees and powerlines.
“Galway County Council Crisis Management Team are continuing to monitor these current weather conditions.”
Three arrested in investigation into violent incidents outside church
Three men will appear in court this morning charged in relation to an number of incidents in Mervue last year. A man suffered a gunshot wound during one of the incidents.
Gardaí in Longford arrested three males this morning in relation to incidents outside Mervue Church on January 13 last year.
The three males, two aged in their early 40s and the third in his late 30s are due to appear before Longford District Court this morning.
Following a funeral at the church, a man in his 30s received a gunshot wound to the leg and was treated in University Hospital Galway.
A second man in his late teens received a stab wound to the back and was taken to UHG for treatment.
A third man received minor injuries in an assault on Walter Macken Road.