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CITY TRIBUNE

Royal visit: plans for street closures and viewing areas

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Gardaí have been calling to city centre businesses in preparation for the arrival of Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Thursday – with plans for street closures and viewing areas being slowly released ahead of the royal pair’s trip West.

The Galway City Tribune understands that a barrier will be erected at the bottom of Shop Street – near Taaffe’s Bar – to provide a viewing area where members of the public can catch a glimpse of William and Kate.

A number of streets in the city centre will be closed to deliveries ahead of the visit, with no access from Williamsgate Street down to Mainguard Street between 4am and 3pm on Thursday.

However, it is understood that pedestrian access will be permitted – with bag searches in operation at the various access points, including at Lynch’s Castle.

Smaller arteries leading onto the main thoroughfare, such as Church Lane next to St Nicholas’ Church and Buttermilk Lane adjacent to Anthony Ryan’s will be closed to the public.

Prince William and Kate are due to arrive in the city centre sometime around midday and will call to Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street. It’s understood a number of businesses beside and across from the well-known trad pub have been asked for their co-operation – no businesses are said to have been asked to close.

Included on the Royal couple’s itinerary is meeting with a number of local community and youth groups, as well as a visit to the trendy restaurant and wine bar, Tribeton, situated on Merchants Road.

The Royals will also travel to Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA Club, where a number of local juvenile players will put on a display match.

Gardaí are said to have been “understandably sparse with information”, with a major security operation required to host the second-in-line to the British throne.

The Royal visit to the West forms part of an official visit to Ireland which began in Dublin yesterday. The decision to cross the Shannon is understood to have been influenced by Galway’s designation as European Capital of Culture for 2020.

According to those involved in organising the visit, Galway 2020 will be “providing the entertainment” for the couple.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council said preparations for the Galway leg of the visit were being carried out by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the British Embassy.

No civic or formal reception is due to take place, the spokesperson stated. The visit will be a more relaxed interaction with a selection of artists, cultural operators, heritage groups and local volunteers.

“We are obviously very pleased they are coming and appreciative of the fact that they are coming to Galway because of the European Capital of Culture 2020 designation,” he stated.

“Galway City Council is happy to be of assistance to the Department of Foreign Affairs, who are the primary organisers of the visit.”

The road restrictions for Thursday are as follows (times are approximate and subject to change:

  • From 4am-1pm, no vehicles will be permitted access to William Street, Shop Street, Abbeygate Street, High Street and Mainguard Street.
  • From 9am-1pm, no vehicles will be permitted access to Flood Street, Cross Street, Middle Street and St Augustine Street. Parking at this location will also be restricted.
  • From 9am-1pm, no vehicles will be permitted access to Bridge Street and Lombard Street. Traffic accessing St Patrick’s School will be accommodated. Parking at this location will also be restricted.
  • From 9am-1pm Pedestrian access to Shop Street, High Street and Mainguard Street will be restricted, pedestrian diversions will be in place. Members of the public wishing to access these streets during this period will be subject to screening by Gardaí.

Dr Mannix Road, Salthill:

  • From 9am-2pm. Traffic restrictions will be in place on Dr Mannix Road. Members of the public wishing to access Dr Mannix Road during the times indicated will be subject to screening by Gardaí.

A Garda spokesperson said: “Variable Message Signs have been positioned strategically around Galway City informing motorists of restrictions/disruption and motorists are asked to take note on the messages displayed on same.

“During the Visit of the VIP.s there will be rolling road closures as the VIPs are travelling between each location and it is envisaged that there will be some traffic disruption.”

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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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

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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