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Plan for biggest-ever Galway LGBT celebration

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Buoyed by a large new committee of enthusiastic volunteers previously without ties to the event, the Galway Pride Festival is predicting the biggest celebration in its 27-year history.

Led by chairman Bruce Henry, who runs the hen party event company Murder on the Menu, the parade will, it is estimated, involve 1,000 participants on Saturday, August 20, with 5,000 tipped to attend a packed calendar of events over the seven days judging by the responses on social media.

“We took over in May and started with no money, we’d missed all the deadlines for public funds and had to finance it all out of our own pockets,” explains Bruce, a native of Canada.

“We set up a partnership programme, created a brand new website, with fresh branding. I’ve contributed well over 600 hours to the festival – collectively the committee has put in thousands of hours. We’re pulling out all the stops.”

Galway Pride has been beset with infighting over the years, which served to tarnish the event’s reputation and may have contributed to a small enough turnout.

Bruce said none of those serving on the new committee had ever been part of festivities.

“Galway is such an amazing city, choc full of life, with an unbelievable spirit. I believed I could bring everyone together and since we set up we’ve had no fights, no walkouts.

“Our initial meetings were open to the public, one of our meetings was broadcast live on Facebook which was viewed 1,500 times so transparency, openness and inclusivity are the fulcrums of this planning committee. We took over with a vision and plan to take us straight into 2020.”

The 12-strong committee has reached out to other Pride events around the country for support. A 32-page guide on the festival will be published for the first time.

The parade will be led by grandmarshal James Patrice, Ireland’s top snapchatter who has presenting gigs on TV3’s Ireland AM and Xposé, finishing up in the Spanish Arch, where there will be a family fun event for three hours, with music and food.

On the Friday, there will be a comedy night at the Loft in Seven on Bridge Street with comedians Pat McDonnell from Father Ted, while Katherine Lynch with host Martin Beanz Warde.

The biggest party takes place on Saturday night at the Black Box, with performances by Dublin drag queen Victoria Secret and music by 2FM DJ Conor Behan.

The traditional Corrib Princess cruise and party on the Sunday evening kicks off with drinks at Nova Bar before revellers are transported by open top bus to Woodquay.

The more serious side of the festival take place at the beginning of the week with workshops on mental health, one centred on the transsexual community, another geared to parents of gay children with a talk by Paul Hegarty of the West Sligo Family Resource Centre who almost lost his daughter to suicide after she came out.

A third workshop is dedicated to HIV – last year there was a 30% increase in the numbers of people diagnosed with the virus, with one person each week diagnosed in University Hospital Galway alone.

This will be hosted by Robbie Lawlor, a former Mr Gay Ireland who lives with HIV and now works as an advocate for the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender community.

Thursday is an alcohol-free day of events geared to tee-totallers and those who feel disenfranchised by the festival’s alcohol-fuelled partying.

■ For tickets and further details log onto their Facebook Page or website.

Connacht Tribune

Galway husband and Roscommon wife cheer on different sides of Connacht Final fence!

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Galway supporter Michael Bradley and his wife Roscommon supporter Siveen Bradley in Ballinasloe this week. Pic Gerry Stronge

The Bradley family in Ballinasloe have divided loyalties ahead of this Sunday’s Connacht senior football final between neighbouring counties Galway and Roscommon.

Mike Bradley, from Ballinasloe town, is a ‘stone mad’ Galway GAA fan – but his wife Siveen is from Newtown, a village three miles over the border and will be very much shouting for the Rossies.

Her nephew is Paul Carey, a rising star of Roscommon GAA, and already a legend in the Pádraig Pearses club, who could torment the home team’s defence at Pearse Stadium if he’s recovered from injury and if he’s fit and picked to play.

Though he may not feature this weekend, the 21-year-old Carey made his senior inter-county debut this season during Anthony Cunningham’s march to Division Two League success; and landed eight points for Pearses in the South Roscommon club’s first ever provincial title win in January.

Siveen, a sacristan in St Michael’s Church, and Mike, a caretaker in Canal House, live on Bridge Street and they’ll watch the provincial decider at home on television – because she could not handle the nerves of watching it live in Salthill.

“I watch the matches on telly or listen on the radio. The only reason I don’t go to the matches is I’d get too excited! I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. Even when it’s on the telly I’d be turning it off and on and texting my sister have they won because I couldn’t watch! I’m fierce bad,” laughed Siveen.

Her daughter, Siobhán, a Galway supporter, is married to a Mayo man, Seán Vahey, who live in Castlebar.

“As bad and all as I am I have a daughter married to a Mayo man! I’m up against it,” joked the proud Roscommon woman.

Read full coverage ahead of the Connacht Football Final in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway not getting its fair slice of Government cake

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Galway County Buildings.

Galway County Council needs a bailout – because it is continually underfunded by central government…and not because of rapidly rising inflation.

Chief Executive Jim Cullen warned County Councillors this week that Galway County Council is the lowest funded local authority in the country per capita.

This underfunding, ongoing for years, was impacting on its capacity to deliver services in the county.

Mr Cullen said he was also concerned that cost inflation and rising cost of inputs, materials, fuel and energy were going to have an impact.

But he said that ‘the only bailout we need’ is a correction in the per capita funding it receives from central government.

He said “I don’t expect to get a bailout” to cover the cost of inflation, because it was impacting on all local authorities.

“If we do, that’s good,” he said.

But Mr Cullen urged County Councillors to ‘stay focused’ on the real financial problem facing the local authority historically and now, which was underfunding.

He said he has taken every opportunity to raise this issue with junior and senior ministers who visit Galway, including most recently Environment Minister Eamon Ryan.

He signalled it involved a fairer distribution and retention of the money raised in the county through Local Property Tax.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Drugs feud boils over with pipe bomb attack

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TWO arson attacks on houses in Ballinasloe over the past week – one of them involving a pipe bomb – are believed to be part of a feud related to drugs.

Both incidents occurred in the Hymany Park area of the town with a pipe-bomb used in the first one which took place shortly after 2am on the Friday morning of May 20 last.

The pipe bomb was set off at the front door of the house which had one occupant when the attack occurred – the man did not suffer any injury in the incident.

However, extensive damage was caused to the front of the house with a door and window destroyed – Gardaí have described the use of a pipe bomb as ‘very worrying’.

In what could be a related incident, another house in the Hymany Park was the target for an arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning last.

A fire accelerant – possibly petrol – was splashed onto the front door of the house at around 4am which was then set alight. The damage is understood to have been confined to the front door area.

A Garda spokesperson issued an appeal for anyone with information in relation to either incident – or who may have relevant dash cam or camera footage – to make contact with them.

“Both incidents were highly reckless, but we are particularly concerned at the use of an explosive pipe-bomb device in the first one.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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