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Galway likely to reject sister city approach Santa Monica

Enda Cunningham



“It’s not you, it’s us” . . . Galway City is likely to reject a proposal from Santa Monica in California for sister city status – because we do not have the resources to maintain another connection.

The seven-member Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously this month to support a request by Council member (Councillor) Kevin McKeown to begin negotiations with Galway City.

However, a Galway City Council spokesperson said this week that the local authority is not in a position to expand its twinned and sister cities programme because of a lack of resources to foster and maintain a new relationship.

“It would be lovely to make connections with all of the cities which show an interest in Galway, but it’s hard to sustain them and we would need resources.

“We are trying to consolidate our existing relationships, and are not in a position to expand, but that’s not to say we don’t want some form of relationship with Santa Monica,” the spokesperson said.

He added that Galway already has four “very strong relationships” in the United States alone – Milwaukee, Chicago, Seattle and Menlo Park.

Cllr McKeown – a former mayor – made the sister city request following a visit to Galway last month, where he spoke with the Council’s Acting Chief Executive, Joe O’Neill and other staff members.

In the online newspaper the Santa Monica Lookout, Cllr McKeown is quoted as saying that Galway would be the city’s first English-speaking sister city.

“Although I think you might find Galwegians as difficult to understand as some of the people from Fujinomiya [a Santa Monica sister city in Japan]. The Western Irish [accent] can be kind of thick.”

At the Santa Monica City Council meeting this month, the members voted to “authorise the City Manager and staff, working with the Santa Monica Sister Cities Association to begin negotiations with the City of Galway for educational, cultural, and other exchanges under our Sister City program”.

He said there are many similarities between the two cities – including being located beside bays which share their respective names, and art and technology are also major features.

He added that Galway has a walkway similar to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

A formal request to become a sister city has not been received by Galway City Council.

Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, which has a population of around 92,000.

Galway is twinned with or has full sister city status with eight cities: St Louis, Missouri (since 1977); Lorient in France (1975); Seattle, Washington (1986); Bradford, England (1986); Cambridge, Massachusetts (1994); Chicago, Illinois (1997); Aalborg, Denmark (1997) and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2001).

Galway also has formal ‘Friendship Agreements’ with Qingdao, China (1999); Auckland, New Zealand (2002); Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada (2002); Stirling, Scotland (2012) and Menlo Park, California (2013).

Connacht Tribune

Community’s delight at club’s first ever Irish rugby international

Stephen Corrigan



Members of Monivea Rugby have expressed their delight at the naming of one of their own in the Irish team for this year’s summer series – with Caolin Blade looking set to be the clubs first to don the Irish jersey as a new era at his home club gets underway.

Blade, who is part of a 37-man squad named by Head Coach Andy Farrell this week that will take on Japan and the USA in two test matches in Dublin this July, exemplifies what can be achieved by a player from a small club in the West of Ireland, according to its recently appointed President Anthony Killarney.

“The sense of elation and pride in the club is immense, to see the Blade name on the Irish squad sheet. A very well-deserved achievement and timely indeed, based on his performances for Connacht.

“Caolin is showing such a great example – on and off the pitch – of what can be achieved through dedication and hard work to all the young players in Monivea RFC. We are all so proud today, and for this to happen as we approach our 50th year celebrations,” said Mr Killarney.

Caolin’s dad Pat was Monivea’s star player for years, he added, so to see his son rise up to international rugby was no surprise.

Blade’s naming on Monday coincides with a shakeup at the club that includes the election of a new committee aiming to grow the club and achieve the long-held goal of building a clubhouse.

As well as Mr Killarney becoming President, Carmel Laheen has been elected Vice President, while local councillor Shelly Herterich Quinn has taken the position of Chairperson.

Speaking to the Connacht Tribune this week, Cllr Herterich Quinn said she’d been involved in the club for almost ten years and was hugely honoured to take the role, as she paid tribute to the outgoing President, Pádraic McGann.

“I was delighted to receive the nomination for Chair from Pádraic McGann and I want to sincerely thank Padráic for everything he has achieved for rugby in Monivea over the past 49 years. It is absolutely true to say that without Pádraic’s grit and determination, we would not have a rugby club to go to every week, to play the game we love so much,” she said.

“2021 has been a significant years in more ways than one, but in particular here at Monivea RFC where one of the main figures in all things rugby for the last 49 years will take a back seat as we face into exciting times. Affectionately known as Mr Monivea, Pádraic McGann has been the driving force behind Monivea Rugby since 1972 which he founded, based on his love and enthusiasm for the game.”

The new committee comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, she said, and share a determination to build on the clubs successes – and to produce more players like Caolin Blade.

“The absence of a clubhouse is notable but we know that with the determination of the new committee, and the help of all our members, Monivea RFC will soon put down some solid foundations and continue to build on what has already been achieved in this wonderful club,” said Cllr Herterich Quinn.

“What better way to mark 50 years of rugby in the small picturesque village of Monivea than the opening of a clubhouse.”

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Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher



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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Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley



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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