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CITY TRIBUNE

Trust between TG4 and 2020 queried in email

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Trevor O Clochartaigh

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Irish language television station, TG4, was a broadcast media partner of Galway 2020, the company set up to deliver the European Capital of Culture (ECOC).

Relations between TG4 and Galway 2020 appeared to strain a little last year, however.

Staff from TG4 held a ‘speed-dating’ event, during which projects due to happen in 2020 were pitched to programme producers and television execs, who could then plan what parts of the ECOC programme they would include in their schedules.

This event was held last year but according to records released to this newspaper through Freedom of Information (FOI) it may not have gone ahead at all.

On the eve of the speed-dating event, Denise McDonagh, Digital Programme Manager at Galway 2020, sent an email to TG4 requesting that staff at the television station sign a confidentiality agreement or NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

By signing the agreement, she said, it would allow Galway 2020 to share its “WIP plans” or ‘Work in Progress’, so that the two organisations could “work together to plan content”.

The Connemara-based TV station was not best-pleased with this request to sign the NDA; certainly not judging by the response from Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, the then communications manager with TG4, and a former Sinn Féin senator who was critical of Galway 2020 in his days in the Seanad.

“I have to say it came very much out of the blue. We have been discussing the event for quite a while and it was never mentioned previously. I am concerned for what it says about the level of trust G2020 has for our team and also for the very short notice given to consider it.

“I have passed it on to our legal person for their opinion on it,” was Trevor’s initial response to the request for the non-disclosure agreement to be signed.

Denise moved to limit the damage, firstly by apologising for sending the NDA “out of the blue”. “We should have spoken to you in advance and I take responsibility for that not happening,” she said.

“The NDA is in no way a reflection of the trust we have for the team at TG4. We very much value the open and constructive relationship we have developed with the team there. The NDA is a standard form we use with all partners . . . but we should have discussed it with you in advance of sending it,” added Denise.

The NDA was tweaked, at the behest of TG4’s legals; and a subsequent email, also released under FOI, said the situation was “all sorted”.
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CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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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