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Major national award for Galway theatre company

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Galway’s Blue Teapot Theatre Company has won a major award for its outstanding achievement in adult education from AONTAS, the national voluntary group which promotes adult learning.

Blue Teapot won the AONTAS Star award in the Connacht category for its outstanding work in providing high-quality education and training opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Blue Teapot was founded in 1996 and its aim is to create a positive change towards people with intellectual disabilities by promoting their contribution to Ireland’s cultural and creative life. 

The company has developed three education programmes to do this – the Blue Teapot Theatre Company, the Performing Arts School and Bright Soul. 

Blue Theatre includes professional actors with an intellectual disability; the Performing Arts School delivers accredited training in the performing arts; and Bright Soul is an outreach programme which encourages people with an intellectual disability to participate in the performing arts.  Blue Teapot works with Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board in the delivery of FETAC accredited training for learners to Levels 2 and 3.

The company has helped to increase awareness of issues facing people with intellectual disabilities through its staging of the play ‘Sanctuary’ last year. That play, by Christian O’Reilly, focused on the theme of love and intellectual disability.  Members of the group also featured in the recent documentary Somebody to Love, which was broadcast on RTÉ last week.

Paul O’Toole, CEO of the new Further Education and Training Authority, SOLAS presented the winners with their awards at a ceremony yesterday, Monday, in Dublin.  The event was attended by over 200 people.

“The range of projects submitted for the awards this year once again highlights that learning isn’t just in the classroom,” said Mr O’Toole, as he congratulated the winners. “Both the providers and learners have shown that tailored, high-quality learning can occur in many different formats across many different facets of life.”

Berni Brady of the adult education group, AONTAS explained that this was the eight year the group had organised the awards.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 

CITY TRIBUNE

Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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CITY TRIBUNE

Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.


This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.


“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Just 85 affordable homes to be built in Galway City by 2025

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  A total of just 85 affordable homes will be built in Galway City during the remainder of the Government’s lifetime, it was revealed during a debate in the Seanad this week.

An animated Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) told Seanad Éireann that there would be “riots on the streets of Galway” at the disappointing news that was imparted to him by a junior minister.

In the Dáil, Junior Housing Minister, Malcolm Noonan, confirmed that it was planned to provide 85 affordable homes as part of a Merlin Woods development between now and 2025.

He understood that there were sites identified for affordable housing schemes in other parts of the city, but no applications had been received for funding.

“Housing delivery in Galway City Council is a matter for Galway City Council and it is down to the local authority to strike the balance in respect of social and affordable housing delivery.

“If the Senator feels that the local authority is not delivering enough in that regard, it is really a matter for them to drive a more ambitious agenda. The Department will not be found wanting in funding schemes,” Minister Noonan added.

But Senator Crowe yesterday told the Galway City Tribune that it was an incredibly disappointing and unacceptable answer that there would only be 85 new builds when it came to affordable homes.

(Image: Minister Malcolm Noonan said the new Merlin Woods development will include 85 affordable homes).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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