The Union of Students Ireland has defended its members in Galway over comments made by the city’s mayor branding drunken students an “embarrassment”.
Mayor Frank Fahy – as reported in last week’s Galway City Tribune – said drunken students were an embarrassment and a disgrace; and their alcohol-fuelled parties were causing nightmares for residents.
Mayor Fahy said a mayor of a sister city of Galway’s had remarked to him recently that “Galway has a serious issue with alcohol and you need to address it”. He made the comments at the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting.
But local student leaders are “disgusted” by the comments, which they say perpetuate a false stereotype. Feidhlim Seoighe, USI Vice President for the Border Midlands and Western area, has demanded the Mayor withdraw his comments and focus instead on the wider problem of alcohol abuse.
“There is, without a doubt, a problem within the Irish psyche surrounding alcohol, but this attack is typical: blame all of these problems on the students. In fact, it is quite the opposite, as the Mayor will find that most of the student population is hard working and studious,” said Mr Seoighe, who is from Renmore.
He pointed out that the city’s reputation is built on the late-night entertainment industry providing hundreds of jobs to the local economy. Many students are working in the hospitality sector here, he said.
“The student unions of NUIG and GMIT raise thousands of euro every year for local charities, and student societies from both colleges do incredible work,” he said.
Mr Seoighe said students from GMIT organised a project last week to highlight the plight of refugees from Syria by enclosing eight people in a shipping container for 24 hours.
He pointed out that NUIG Rover Society have collected over 1,100 sleeping bags for the homeless from general collections, and festivals such as Electric Picnic. The students of NUIG are organising the biggest technology conference in the country, outside of Dublin, on campus this week.
Mr Seoighe added: “I would call on the Mayor to withdraw his comments, and to look at the wider picture regarding alcohol abuse in Ireland, and not to always take the stereotypical view that student’s are the source of this issue.”
Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway
Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.
A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.
No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.
Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time
A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.
Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.
Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.
So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.
The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.
Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.
He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.
Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.
Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.
Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.
His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.
This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.
The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.
It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.
‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting
A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.
At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.
“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.
This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).
Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.
One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.
“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.
None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.