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CITY TRIBUNE

Savouring food success at the Halla Bia

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Children learn the art of making their own pizzas at Sheridan's pizza-making masterclass as part of Galway Food Festival

The city enjoyed the sweet taste of success over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend as the Galway Food Festival attracted an estimated 80,000 visitors – a record for the annual event in this its sixth year.

Visitors enjoyed the many in-house tasting events, food tours and talks, the open-air market at Fishmarket Square, and Breaking Bread on Easter Monday.

Halla Bia at the former Connacht Tribune Print Works was Galway’s first temporary indoor food hall, where almost 30 indigenous food producers from along the Wild Atlantic Way showcased their produce.

It was a huge hit with foodies and, according to organisers, has reignited the debate around the need for a permanent indoor market in the city.

Festival organiser and owner of Builín Blasta Café and Bakery in Spiddal, Heather Flaherty, said: “Halla Bia opened a dialogue among traders, the public and the City Council about the importance of a permanent indoor market for Galway.

“The support from all parties indicates that the drive and desire is there for a permanent space to showcase and highlight the fabulous products and producers in Galway City and County. A permanent indoor market would give small businesses a great place to start and grow their business and would contribute hugely to Galway’s already thriving food industry.”

Breda Fox, Head of Local Enterprise Office Galway, sponsors of the indoor market, said: “The Food Hall was an essential element of the festival for small producers. It allows small producers to showcase their range and quality of food and meet with customers including locals and visitors on a busy bank holiday weekend.”

Businesses around the city also confirmed a bumper weekend of sales resulting from the thousands of visitors who flocked into Galway to avail of the 100 food-based events celebrating food and the community during the five-day festival.

Another festival hit that attracted huge crowds was Breaking Bread on Easter Monday. Several community groups living in Galway prepared and shared their traditional and modern dishes with up to 9,000 visitors who got to taste dishes from around the world.

The ethnic groups showcasing their delicacies included the Indian, Malaysian, Lithuanian, Traveller, Mexican, Nigerian, Polish, Ghanaian, Japanese and French communities.

It also included members from One World Tapestry Group, as well as asylum seekers who are residents of the city’s two Direct Provision centres, the Great Western at Eyre Square and Eglinton House in Salthill.

Ms Flaherty said: “Breaking Bread brought over 14 different cultural communities together in one place to share their food and their stories, and the variety and diversity at the event was staggering. Galway is a melting pot of different communities and it is time to embrace them, welcome them and learn about their culture and their food.

“It was an event that opened doors and hearts, inspired new projects and collaborations and highlighted the importance that food has in bringing people together.”

Gary McMahon from Galway City Council, the main sponsor, said: “Now a five-day event, we have a spectacular and sustainable festival celebrating our gastronomy, our hospitality and our sense of fun and congeniality that engages both residents and visitors to the city.

“Galway City Council looks forward to next year when, as part of our designation as European Region of Gastronomy 2018, we will build on this year’s great success and visibility for everything foodie in the city of Galway in partnership with Galway Food Festival.”

Galway Food Festival 2017 was the first official outing and major public awareness campaign since Galway, West of Ireland was designated a European Regions of Gastronomy for 2018.

Alan Farrell, Senior Executive Officer with Galway County Council and one of the drivers of the ERG said: “The weekend was a phenomenal success and an excellent example of how a strong partnership and cooperative working can have a huge impact. ERG is about all of us, it needs buy-in from all members of the community in order for it to reach its potential and if last weekend is anything to go by, that is there in abundance.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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