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CITY TRIBUNE

Questions for Galway 2020 over legacy funds invite

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The Galway City Tribune recently revealed that €1 million earmarked and ring-fenced for legacy initiatives associated with Galway’s European Capital of Culture designation, has been subsumed into Galway 2020’s operational and programme costs.

That means there’s no money for legacy, which is an integral reason why cities bid to win the prestigious title – it’s supposed to leave a lasting legacy.

Galway’s sister culture capital Rijeka in Croatia has already been transformed with new physical infrastructure, a new cultural quarter on its seafront. Galway, on the other hand, has no physical legacy or new buildings. There were some good projects and some positive legacies in terms of audience engagement. Some artists and organisations benefited, too, though it was far from a bonanza pay-day for most local groups and artists.

No, overall, it could be argued that the legacy is and will be a negative one: an artistic community divided over it.

What damage has the pervading attitude of ‘pull on the maroon jersey; hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ done to the critical faculties of Galway’s artists and cultural community?

With some notable exceptions – like Páraic Breathnach and poet Rita Ann Higgins – Galway’s cultural and artistic community was cowed into not criticising Galway 2020 for fear the crumbs from the big budget wouldn’t fall their way. So too were most politicians – they found their tongues when it was too late and after most of them ignored repeated early warnings about the direction of the project, which was funded almost entirely from the public purse.

But it’s not too late to ensure the European Capital of Culture has some sort of positive legacy.

Galway 2020 has been invited to the City Council’s Economic, Community and Cultural SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) December meeting, which takes place today (Friday), and is chaired by Labour’s Níall McNelis.

It would be really helpful if the members of that committee asked Galway 2020 representatives why it didn’t apply for money from Fáilte Ireland to create an infrastructural legacy.

According to correspondence released to us through Freedom of Information (FOI), there were at least two occasions last year – on May 29, and April 17 – when Fáilte Ireland invited Galway 2020 to apply for funding through its capital investment programme, which is reserved for projects of “legacy and longevity” and required a detailed impact analysis on the potential of future tourism revenue.

Fáilte Ireland has confirmed to us that its offer was never taken up by Galway 2020. Why not?

(PHOTO: Poet Rita Ann Higgins)
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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