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CITY TRIBUNE

Coronavirus: hospitality sector fears ‘devastating blow’

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A day when most Irish people go 'just a little bit mad'.

The hospitality industry in Galway is fearing a devastating blow if St Patrick’s Day celebrations are curbed or cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

A Galway publican told the Galway City Tribune that there was huge concern that major events will have to be called off if the virus spreads any further – with nine cases already confirmed on the island of Ireland.

The owner of the Kings Head, Paul Grealish, said while there was huge concern in the hospitality sector over the virus’ spread in Europe, there was a sense of helplessness as businesses could do nothing to stop it.

“Businesses such as ours are very concerned about it, but there’s very little we can do. If it spreads, we’ll all be affected. We’re taking a philosophical view of this because it is totally out of our control.

“I’ve been meeting with staff and advising them – we’re taking our advice from the HSE, the Restaurants Association and the VFI, reinforcing the importance of washing hands, and taking due care and attention,” said Mr Grealish.

What would be hugely concerning, he said, was if the St Patrick’s Day festivities had to be cancelled in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19, with March 17 usually marking the beginning of the main tourist season in Galway.

“It would be a big concern if the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin and Galway was cancelled. That would be a very poor start to the season.

“If they were to start cancelling more inward flights, that would be disastrous,” he said of the news this week that Ryanair had cancelled one-quarter of their flights to and from Italy between March 17 and April 8.

Mr Grealish said that the cancellation of major events such as the St Patrick’s Day celebrations would have long-lasting effects.

“You would be concerned that if they were cancelled or downgraded, we might have knock-on effects in May, June and July,” he explained.

American tourists, who are crucial to the success of the hospitality industry in Galway, were traditionally nervous about travelling outside the US, and the cancellation of events was likely to further dissuade them from crossing the Atlantic, he said.

While the spread of Coronavirus could result in more Irish holidaymakers choosing to stay at home this summer, it was unlikely to entirely offset the potential impact of a reduction in the numbers coming from overseas.

With a likely increase in the number of cases of the virus in Ireland, it was reasonable to assume that there would be additional people having to take time off work to either recover, or to self-isolate, and this would impact on the wider economy, added Mr Grealish.

“You might have a situation where people can’t go to work because of the Coronavirus, or they might have no work to go to. That will affect their ability to spend money,” he said, adding that fears of an economic decline could have a significant impact on consumer confidence.

Meanwhile, Galway 2020 have moved to allay fears that any of their events will have to be cancelled in the immediate future as a result of the virus.

“Galway 2020 is aware of the ever-evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus.  At present, no upcoming Galway 2020 events or participants are impacted. We are engaging with the relevant authorities and will continue to monitor the situation and proceed as advised in the interests of public health,” a spokesperson stated.

CITY TRIBUNE

Former hotel won’t be ring-fenced for college

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No designation....Corrib Great Southern during demolition.

The site of the former Corrib Great Southern will no longer be ring-fenced for educational purposes if a clause removed in a draft of the next development plan is eventually adopted.

A motion by Mayor Colette Connolly proposed earmarking one-third of the six-acre Dublin Road site for educational use as well as research or collaborative ventures between third level colleges and industry.

Mayor Connolly said her proposal reinstates the text of the current plan reserving a portion of any planned development for education.

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) was supportive of the motion, the Independent councillor she told a planning meeting convened to collate a draft of the plan.

Councillor Declan McDonell (Ind) said GMIT had recently purchased the home of the Galwegians Rugby Club at Glenina for €9 million and were progressing developments at the Cluain Mhuire site and a proposed Centre of Excellence for Health, Sport, and Marine Science at Murrough.

The former hotel had been offered to GMIT for €3.75m by NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) but they had to pass because they could not come up with the money.

“So I fail to see how they could come up with the money to buy two acres for educational purposes – therefore we could be left with a derelict site for years,” he warned.

Cllr Noel Larkin (Ind) told the meeting he was in favour of an expanding GMIT but agreed the site which only recently saw the demolition of a major eyesore could be left derelict for another decade if developers were hamstrung by what could be built.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Conamara siblings take to stage for TradFest

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Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Fhlatharta, who will perform in Collins Barracks next Thursday.

The musical talent of Conamara siblings Caoimhe and Séamus Uí Fhlatharta from An Áird Mhóir, will be on show at this year’s Temple Bar TradFest, which runs from January 26-230 in venues across Dublin. They will be performing at Collins Barracks at 1pm next Thursday, January 26.

Séamus and Caoimhe, who have won multiple All-Ireland titles for their music, are well-known among fans of traditional music as brilliant multi-instrumentalists, singers and dancers, whose vocal arrangements and harmonies bring new life to well-known and less familiar songs. Their performance on last week’s Late Late Show as part of a musical tribute to murdered Offaly woman, Ashling Murphy, was widely praised.

TradFest is one of the first largescale events to host live audiences again, something that performers and fans alike hope will continue.

Other participants include actor Stephen Rea, hosting a night of poetry and music with Natalya O’Flaherty, Sasha Terfous, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy and Neill Martin; Fairport Convention; Peggy Seeger, Aoife Scott and Wallis Bird; Maria Doyle Kennedy; Boxing Banjo; Dervish, Altan and 4 Men and a Dog; Séamus Begley, Oisín Mac Diarmada and Samantha Harvey; Martin and Eliza Carthy; The Lost Brothers; Maria Doyle Kennedy; Joe and Steve Wall; Cór Cúil Aodha and Seán Ó Sé; Karan Casey; Niamh Ní Charra; Brídín; Laoise Kelly; Brenda Castles, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh; Tim Edey, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien.

Tickets and more information at tradfesttemplebar.com.

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CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG Mystics sticking to their routine ahead of Cup decider

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Alison Blaney of NUIG Mystics in action against Sophie Moore of Limerick Sport Huskies during the Women’s Division 1 National Cup semi-final. The Galway club face Templeogue in Sunday's final.

NUIG Mystics head coach Paul O’Brien says his squad are treating this week like any other as they prepare to head to the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Sunday to take on Templeogue in the Women’s Division One Cup final (1.30pm).

Mystics go into the game as favourites, having lowered the Templeogue flag on the Dublin side’s home court in the league with a 76-60 win back at the end of November, though O’Brien insists that game will have little bearing on Sunday’s contest.

“That was a couple of months ago, they are a much better side now, defensively they are far stronger now then they were for that game, so we are going to have to shoot the ball well, certainly better than we did in the semi-final,” he says.

That semi-final saw Mystics overcome Limerick Sport Huskies 70-54, and they go into Sunday’s final in great form, having trimmed Tipperary Knights 92-65 at the NUIG Sports Complex on Saturday, their eighth win on the bounce since their one and only defeat of the season, a 77-74 loss to Ulster University Elks back in November.

“That was a very good game at the weekend and the final scoreline doesn’t do justice to Tipperary. They were right in it until about half way through the third quarter, they were leading in fact, but we just pulled it out with a big final quarter,” he said.

Templeogue are also on a decent run of form, having won four games on the spin, their last defeat being that reversal to Mystics, and O’Brien says that the Dublin side will be boosted by having something of a home court advantage, given the fact the NBA is just a 20-minute drive from their home court.

However, Mystics have plenty of players used to playing high-pressure games, and the national arena won’t hold any surprises for a side packed with players who have worn the green of Ireland at the venue, and have contested schools’ and club finals there.

“We have a great team spirit, there is no ego in the squad, players don’t mind who gets the scores as long as the team wins, and that has been crucial to our season so far. We are treating this week the same as any other, we’ll train Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and we’ll get the bus up on Sunday morning and hopefully we will play to our ability,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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