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Siobhan McKenna archive officially opened to the public at NUIG celebration




President Michael D Higgins was among the guests at the official launch of The Siobhán McKenna Archive at NUI Galway. In front with President Higgins, at a small collection from the archive, are Siobhán McKenna’s granddaughter, Aoife O’Dea and her 14 month old daughter Maya Halley (Siobhán’s great-granddaughter), and Donnacha O'Dea, Siobhán's son. Behind are, from left: Lelia Doolan, actor Niall Buggy, Viviana McMahon, Eoghan McMahon, Patricia O’Dea, Eoghan O’DeaMonica Crump, NUI Galway Library, Dr Barry Houlihan, NUI Galway Archivist and Dr Ian Walsh, O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway.

By Paddy Henry

Irish theatre legend Siobhán McKenna was back in the spotlight in her adopted home city for the recent release of her personal archive to the public.

The public launch of the papers marked a day of celebration in NUIG’s O’Donoghue Centre for Theatre and Performance in the university.

A pioneering figure in Irish theatre, Siobhan McKenna was not only an exceptional actress but an Irish language activist and prominent feminist in a time when voices like her own were not heard.

The papers were originally donated to the James Hardiman Library in 2012 by her son Donnacha O’Dea and Siobhán’s former manager Margaret McCurtain.

The collection was initially kept as a private collection within the university but will now be open to the public.

Friends and family of the renowned performer were in attendance along with President Michael D Higgins.

Siobhán’s son Donnacha O’Dea spoke to the Connacht Tribune about his pride in the launch of the papers to the public.

“We’re all exceptionally proud; she had such a close personal connection with Galway. It feels like the completion of a circle,” he said.

Highlights in the archive include material relating to over 77 different productions Siobhán was involved in, including scripts, correspondence, photographs and press cuttings.

Her television and film roles are also featured, along with material relating to her writing and political activism; research notes and copies of a range of talks at festivals, book launches, and other events are also included in the archive.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Covid could leave Galway City Council with €25m budget hole

Stephen Corrigan



Shop STreet this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is facing into a “potential crisis scenario” with a forecasted €25 million black hole in its budget, unless the Government comes good on a promise to plug the gap left by Covid-19.

That’s according to City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath who told councillors this week that the commercial rates waiver introduced by Government and a drop in income from goods and services provided by the local authority could slash their forecast annual revenue by 25%.

Mr McGrath said the last Government, when it introduced the rates waiver for cash-strapped businesses in March, had committed to €260 million to be put aside to bolster local authority finances, but no detail of how that will be rolled out had been provided.

“We are hoping as part of the July stimulus package, the new Government will give us the detail we so desperately need,” he said.

“Our rates standing orders have been wiped out to the tune of 90%.”

Tourism was crucial to the economic success of Galway, he continued, with approximately 80% of city businesses reliant on tourists to stay afloat.

“We have the highest percentage dependency of any local authority on rates from the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Mr McGrath.

It was for that reason that the Executive was seeking councillors’ approval to free up €485,000 of the so-called ‘Marketing Sinking Fund’ to finance a raft of tourism initiatives aimed at boosting the local economy by attracting domestic tourists as Covid-related restrictions are eased, in what Mr McGrath referred to as “temporary internal borrowing”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, and more on the tourism promotion plans, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Seafront prom and new train station planned for Murrough

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A vision of a new urban district on GMIT lands at Murrough – including a seafront promenade and new train station – has been submitted to Government for funding approval.

Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has outlined a plan to ‘leverage’ land and resources of the third level institute to create a new East City Urban District.

Mr McGrath has included the plans in an application for funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

The total value of the project would be €61 million, he said, which values the land at Murrough at about €14 million.

“We are seeking URDF investment to activate these sites as catalysts to boost population and economic output for the city and region,” Mr McGrath told city councillors.

He said that by leveraging the lands at GMIT, the Council was delivering on a target in the National Planning Framework 2040, which states there should be “special focus on capitalising on the potential of underutilised and publicly owned and centrally located sites”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Plans to double size of Galway City student complex

Enda Cunningham



A computer-generated image of how the new Cúirt na Coiribe would look.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The investment fund which owns the Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation complex on the Headford Road is planning to more than double the number of bed spaces there to 920.

Exeter Property Group, one of the biggest property investment groups in the world, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission to demolish a two-storey building to the front of the development and to remove the existing fifth floor attic level from the next block.

The proposal involves extending upwards and outwards to create a total of 920 bed spaces in 868 bedrooms in a single building with nine linked blocks ranging from two to six storeys.

The project includes a gym/fitness studio in the basement, a games room, library/study spaces, café/restaurant and lounge spaces.

There will be 59 carparking spaces and 656 cycle spaces included. A total of 398 of the 405 existing bed spaces will be retained.

It is proposed that the existing bed spaces will retain their original planning permission which allows for short-stay lets throughout the year, and the additional 515 spaces would only be permitted to be used as short-stay lets during the summer months.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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