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TG4 weather girl heads for Hollywood

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If you’re going to get your hands dirty in a world of organic farming, then the sunny climes of California would seem the perfect place to go.

And that’s where TG4’s Connemara weather girl Máiréad Ní Chuaig and Donegal-born Hollywood actor Gavin Ó Fearraigh headed in search of adventure.

The intrepid duo front a new series of WWOOFáil California, which kicked off this week and runs to the end of next month.

It’s the latest string to Máiréad’s bow, because she’s already a familiar face to TG4 viewers as both the face of the weather forecast, continuity announcer and former Paisean Faisean presenter.

Indeed her family are well used to the spotlight – mother Maggie is an actress, while father Micheal is an Irish-language poet, and Máiréad herself starred in Cré na Cille and the short series, Síol.

This is her third series of WWOOFáil , and the California odyssey consists of six half hour episodes as Máiréad and Gavin travel from the sunny surfing beaches of southern California to cowboy country in the north, visiting an array of unique farms during their road trip, making new friends and learning new farming skills.

Along their journey they will fish for salmon with the local Yurok Tribe in Klamath, whale watch in Morro Bay, help in the production of organic wine in Sonoma County and roller skate at San Francisco’s famous Church of Eight Wheels.

WWOOF stands for ‘World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms’ and ‘WWOOFers’ travel to participating member farms to exchange their labour for bed and board. The movement began in the seventies and there are around 11,000 affiliated hosts in almost 100 countries with participants choosing their routes according to the seasons and farming cycle.

Stirling Film & Television Productions have produced this third series of WWOOFáil, and producer Grainne McCotter was keen to show that people, no matter what age, can still travel and learn new skills on a tight budget.

“WWOOFing is a free ticket to an incredible life experience.  Not only do you get to volunteer on farms, where you learn to be organic and self sustainable, but you also get three home cooked meals every day and a bed to rest your weary head – all in exchange for four to six hours work on the farm!” she said.

WWOOFáil California is on TG4 on Tuesdays at 10.15pm, repeated on Monday nights.

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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