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CITY TRIBUNE

The show goes on as Film Fleadh ‘pivots online’

Judy Murphy

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Galway Film Fleadh Managing Director Miriam Allen (right) and Kate O'Toole, Chair of the Film Fleadh Board. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Fans of Galway Film Fleadh won’t be congregating at the Town Hall Theatre or the Pálás this July to see the best of Irish and international movies and documentaries – and they certainly won’t be enjoying the post-screening festivities at Galway Rowing Club.

But the good news is that although the 32nd Galway Film Fleadh cannot take place in its usual format because of Covid-19, it will be held, starting on July 7.

People can buy tickets and stream their chosen films via the Film Fleadh website, watching them at home on their TVs or other devices, with a streaming quality that’s equal to Netflix.

“We’re going to try and stick to the physical festival format as much as possible,” says the Fleadh’s Managing Director Miriam Allen.

“So, on July 7 we will have the opening film, with the introductions and a Q&A afterwards.”

There will also be “a virtual party at the Rowing Club”, she adds.

Some events will be free, while tickets for feature films will be between €5-€7 across the board. And the Fleadh will only sell a maximum 400 tickets for any screening, keeping to the format of the physical festival – the capacity of the Town Hall is around 400.

The programme will include international screenings as well as Irish documentaries and shorts. Normally the Fleadh runs from Tuesday to Sunday but it will run over a longer period this year, Miriam says, with a scaled-back programme of 50 films, between features and shorts.

“These will be over a more extended period. What we are still working out is the window people have in which to watch a film. Say, if the film you book is showing at 8pm on Tuesday, will you be able to watch it at 10pm or 11pm if you can’t watch it live? That’s what we are trying to work out because films can’t be left up indefinitely.”

Security is a big issue in the film world given the prevalence of piracy. For that reason, the Fleadh has partnered with top-of-the range streaming platforms, Festival Scope and Shift72, which are used by companies such as Warner Bros and by other film festivals worldwide.

And every film shown will have to be watermarked so it can’t be pirated.

All screenings are geo-blocked to the island of Ireland, which means you can only access films if you have an Irish IP address – that’s what identifies your computer when you go online. But, because the festival is online, once you have an Irish IP address, you can watch a Fleadh film from anywhere in the country, which she’s thrilled about.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Patients moved from Merlin ‘to bolster private numbers’

Enda Cunningham

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Merlin Park: Patients were moved to private hospital.

Health Minister Simon Harris has said he will ask the HSE why patients requiring rehab services were moved from Merlin Park to a private hospital, leaving the state-of-the-art facility idle.

He was asked in the Dáil last week why waiting lists were not being tackled, when capacity at the Galway Clinic and Bon Secours private hospitals is at 15-20%.

Last month, the State entered a deal to ‘take over’ the country’s private hospitals – which has come under criticism in the Dáil with claims of under-utilisation of facilities.

Galway West Deputy Catherine Connolly asked for full details of the agreement with the private hospitals – worth €115m per month nationally – and said nothing about it made sense to her.

“We have major waiting lists and our two private hospitals in Galway City are at 15% to 20% capacity. The hospital itself [UHG] – I must be wrong about this figure but it is what I have been told – was at 30% to 40% capacity as of May 15,” she said.

Department of Health figures for last week show a 39% ‘utilisation’ rate for the Bon Secours and 16% for Galway Clinic.

“The Minister has stood in the Chamber and told us he had to make such arrangements, and certainly I welcomed the narrative at the time that we were taking over the private hospitals to deal with a pandemic. However, we are not utilising them.

“Merlin Park has a state-of-the-art rehab service. It has a gym and all types of therapists but it is now lying idle because, under this deal, the Government transferred the patients from that wonderful facility to a private hospital.

“It took the therapists and patients into the private hospital to allow them to get up to 15% or 20% capacity. It sent the nurses into the public system and left the system empty at Merlin Park, and that is to mention only one service.

“None of the way this has been done makes sense to me. Surely anybody with a bit of sense would know that when the terms and the heads of agreement were signed, it should have allowed for change.

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

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Barriers set to halt groups drinking at quayside

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Access to the green quayside areas off Wolfe Tone Bridge will be blocked from today to prevent large groups of people drinking over the Bank Holiday weekend.

And the message from Garda Chief Superintendent Tom Curley is – enjoy the glorious weekend of weather that’s in store, but diligently maintain the two-metre social distancing rule and don’t consume booze in public areas.

“We are not killjoys and the lovely weather is a boost to everyone’s spirits. People will enjoy the outdoors this weekend but it’s illegal to consume alcohol in public areas and we will be enforcing that bylaw.

“In this kind of weather, there will inevitably be groups of people congregating in outdoor areas – but the message is simple and crystal clear: at all times maintain the two-metre social distancing guideline,” Chief Supt Curley told the Galway City Tribune.

On Tuesday evening last, Gardaí did enforce a dispersal procedure in the Spanish Arch/Claddagh Quay area of the city, after about 200 young people had gathered there, many of them consuming alcohol. They continued to patrol the area yesterday.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council confirmed yesterday that a green area on the Claddagh Quay side of the river – where large groups of young people had gathered this week – would be closed off to the public, probably from today (Friday).
This is a shortened preview version of this article. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying and subscribing to our newspapers, this website would not exist. You can read the full article by buying a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Westwood owners plan tourist accommodation usage

Enda Cunningham

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The Westwood student accommodation complex site this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The owners of the new Westwood student accommodation in Newcastle are planning to use part of the complex for tourist and business traveller accommodation “in light of the current health pandemic”.

NTM ROI Seed Capital is currently building the five apartment blocks off the N59 and has sought a determination from An Bord Pleanála on whether it would need to apply for planning permission to allow “partial occupation for tourist and visitor use in the academic year from September 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021”.

Under the existing planning permission, the development “shall only be occupied as student accommodation . . . and shall not be used for any other purpose without a prior grant of planning permission for a change of use”.

However, the company has drawn up a contingency plan in the event that construction may not be completed for the coming academic year.

The plan involves allowing tourists and other ‘non-student’ users to be accommodated in the complex – An Bord Pleanála has been asked to determine whether the change would be a ‘material alteration’ of the planning approval or not.

If it is ruled a material alteration, the Board can then invite submissions from members of the public before it decides on whether to approve or reject it.

Already, local residents – who strongly objected to the entire development during the planning process – have expressed concerns about parking issues which they believe would arise if the Westwood is used for tourist use.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying and subscribing to our newspapers, this website would not exist. You can read the full article by buying a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune HERE.

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