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CITY TRIBUNE

Liveline saves Galway turkey farmer’s bacon

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John Tedders, owner of the Filling Station Eco Store in his premises on Market Street, Galway. PHOTO: BRIAN HARDING.

A farmer and Galway eco shop owner who was faced with being stuck with 70 organic turkeys this Christmas turned to RTÉ’s Liveline to save his bacon.

John Tedders from Shrule, opened Galway’s first zero-plastic shop called The Filling Station on M Street last August where customers bring their containers to get all manner of household products and food – from washing up liquid to granola – filled from bulk.

He also breeds organic chickens and turkeys on his farm and this year had upped his stock of turkey chicks to 160 following increased orders from butchers.

He had managed to sell just over half when an order for 70 birds was cancelled last week as the butcher was also let down by customers.

“There’s no contract as such – you’re only going to get a contract from a big supplier like SuperValu, but if you’re small you’re taking a risk on it – so when he told me he wasn’t going to be able to move them on last Monday I was in a bad, bad place – I was just pulling out my hair,” exclaimed John.

He rang butchers all over Galway but most had already filled their orders by this late stage.

“I was desperate and I thought to myself I’ll ring Liveline. I had no intention of going on but I think the girl I spoke to knew I was in a bad way. I was hardly able to speak but I said to myself: ‘here goes’.”

After chatting with broadcaster Joe Duffy, the orders starting piling in and by mid-week John had lost count of the orders that had been placed, some already for next year.

A large retailer in Dublin came on air and agreed to purchase whatever was left of the stock and sign a contract with him for next year, which will give him a guaranteed market for his 2020 flock.

“I got so many emails, literally a thousand orders between Facebook and email. My turkeys are going all over the country from Donegal to Cork to Meath. I’m getting emotional just even talking about it now.”

Unfortunately, John says he will barely break even after dropping the price of his prized birds to just €65 – down from €95 to €110 depending on size – but he is delighted not to have to give them away for nothing after all the hard work in raising them.

“That’s farming – you never know what you’re going to get. But the feedback I get every year from people who say my turkeys were absolutely gorgeous is nice. I rang a friend of mind in Offaly and the same thing happened him – he lost 30 customers just because they might move around for Christmas dinner so nothing is ever guaranteed.”

John took the leap of opening an eco-shop this Summer after missing the retail world. His family had a small convenience store in Shrule for over four decades but he had to close it 13 years ago because he was being “hammered” by the larger supermarkets.

“I never thought I’d go back to the way we did it when I was knee-high, weighing out the tea and sugar like in my father’s time,” he muses.

“But I missed the shop and I liked the idea of going back to the way it was and the way it should be.

“There’s too much plastic, too much waste. We buy everything in bulk in 25 kilo bags and that makes things affordable for customers.

“About 95% of our products are organic, I support local producers where I can. There is a considerable amount to be saved by buying in this way and if everyone was doing their bit by cutting down on packaging it would make a big difference in the long-run.”

So far he is delighted by the support the shop is receiving.

“It’s steady, it’s not going to make a fortune as the rent is high but it’s levelled out. We’ve had a good Christmas and I hope people will continue to support us.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Publicans in antigen plea to Government

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Johnny Duggan of the Vintners Association: Antigen tests could help minimise restrictions at times when Covid is circulating widely.

Galway publicans are pleading with Government to pilot an antigen test scheme in the city in January – a move that could rescue the local hospitality sector.

Galway City Vintners have proposed the introduction of a pilot scheme in city centre pubs in January, which if successful, could allow the sector to re-open with minimum restrictions, even when the Covid-19 is rampant.

Government Ministers and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) are divided on the efficacy of antigen tests, which give rapid results that are less reliable than PCR tests.

But publicans believe asking customers to produce a negative antigen test result – as well as their Covid-19 certificates – to get served in pubs, this could help save the hospitality sector by reducing the need for social distancing inside venues.

They don’t believe it would be necessary all-year-round, but could be useful in keeping hospitality open with minimum restrictions during weeks when Covid is circulating widely in the community.

They said it would allow the safe return of drinking at bar counters, dancing in venues, and extended opening hours. Currently pubs, even late bars, must close at 11.3pm instead of 2.30am.

Galway City Vintners expect Covid will continue in waves and this proposal is an attempt to be proactive to keep their businesses, the sector – and socialising in pubs – afloat, according to spokesman Johnny Duggan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

City Council pays €120k to orange bollards’ company

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For a while, the joke was that just like Londoners with rats, people in Galway were never more than two feet away from an orange bollard. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Do you remember last year, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Government fired a heap of cash at local authorities to do stuff – any stuff – under the general guise of ‘mobility’?

And then do you remember, we all tentatively emerged from our cocoons and discovered the city centre had been overrun by a new species, the orange bollard?

The running joke for some time locally was that – just like rats in London – in Galway you’re never more than two feet away from an orange bollard.

Yeah, well, the company that supplied Galway City Council with those gaudy orange bollards was paid over €120,000 for transport equipment during the pandemic.

Not all of it was spent on bollards that are so bright they can, like the Great Wall of China, be seen from space. But a fair chunk of it was.

According to records released to Galway City Tribune, under Freedom of Information (FOI), the Council made dozens of payments to Drogheda-based IPL Group Ltd between February 2020 and May 2021.

The amount paid to IPL Group during that time totalled over €120,000. Records indicate that as much as €67,510 of this outlay was on bollards, including semi-permanent orange ones.

A little over €30,000 was spent by the Council in May and June 2020, as we emerged from lockdown; including thousands on orange and white, and black and white, road flexi-bollards with reflective tape.

In July, it spent €12,000 on black and white quick-flex bollards; and in September, it ordered more orange, and black and white bollards to the value of €18,000. Last February, the records show, the Council spent a further €6,500 on more orange and white bollards with reflective resin tape.

As well as bollards, over €50,000 was spent with IPL Group on speed ramps, pole-retention sockets and plugs, and Weebol Flex signs, a bollard variation.

We don’t know how many bollards the Council bought off IPL, nor do we know the price per bollard.

The City Council said: “The unit price of each item was redacted. This is because the cost of the items will be known to competitors, and they may contain discounts from the supplier to Galway City Council. Disclosure of this unit price may jeopardise the competitive position of the supplier in that they may be undercut in future tender competitions by competitors as they will know what they charged for these items to Galway City Council.

“Furthermore, the release of this information may reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct or outcome of contractual or other negotiations of the supplier to whom the information relates. Release of records describing a possible discount to Galway City Council may affect any negotiation with another consumer or purchaser.

“The number of units procured per item was also redacted, as it may be the case that the total price may be divided by the number of units procured and may give an indication of unit price.”

Aside from the nonsense that the City Council won’t reveal the price per bollard for fear its supplier is undercut – and by extension it and the ratepayer might get cheaper bollards – was it money well spent?

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Tommy Tiernan among acts in Róisín Dubh comedy line-up

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Tommy Tiernan: Chat show host, actor and, above all, comedian.

Tommy Tiernan will perform his brand-new show, Tomfoolery, in Leisureland on Thursday and Friday, February 25 and 26.

The show, being presented by the Róisín Dubh, is billed as “a high-energy mix of outrageous ideas and whimsical flights of fancy”.

Comedian, actor and, more recently, chat-show host Tommy is performing a series of warm-up gigs in the Róisín in January  for the main event – they sold out within minutes of going on sale last week.

In a comedy career spanning 25 years, Tommy has toured extensively at home and abroad, and guested on top TV shows including three appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman in the US. He’s also has had his own one-hour special broadcast on Comedy Central USA. More recently, Tommy has begun presenting a talk show on RTÉ, an improvised live programme where he has no idea of who his guests are until they appear on set. And he’s a better chat-show host than anyone else in this country, by a country mile. But it’ll be comedy that he’ll be focusing on in Leisureland on February 25 and 26. Tickets for those shows are €35.

The Róisín is on a comedy roll and will present Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience in April at the Galmont Hotel.

This version of Basil, Sybil and Manuel from Australia’s Interactive Theatre has played more than 500 sell-out shows in Ireland in the past decade – 20 of them in Galway City. Some of the show’s scenes will be familiar from TV, some will be off-the-cuff but all will have a ‘Faulty’ seasoning. Everything that can go wrong, does in this two hours of “controlled chaos and hilarity” where dinner is part of the act.

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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