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CITY TRIBUNE

Bradley Bytes: What’s RTÉ and Galway 2020 hiding and why?

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

RTÉ has refused to release documents about its media partnership with Galway 2020.
The State broadcaster cited “commercial sensitivity” when withholding records relating to its planning of a TV, radio and online promotional campaign for the European Capital of Culture.

RTÉ also refused to release records about information relating to “plans and proposals” by Galway 2020 for developments.
This, argued the Freedom of Information wing of the organisation, was withheld because the information was given to RTÉ “in confidence” and, “on the understanding the plans would be confidential, and if released, would likely result in the organisers becoming more reticent about being as open as possible”.
This is not the first time RTÉ has redacted records to conceal the nature and extent of its relationship with Galway 2020.
In its latest refusal to release certain documents, FOI officer Richard Dowling explained that planning for the promotional campaign was commercially sensitive.
He acknowledged that there was “always a strong argument to be made that all public bodies such as RTÉ should be as open as possible to promote transparency, accountability and improve decision making”.
However, he said, “RTÉ should also be able to interact with other organisations to ensure we meet not only our statutory obligations but also the role we – and others – want to see us play in cultural Ireland”.
The information redacted, he argued, “would allow other organisations to see what we can offer to event organisers and allow them to try and secure partnership roles to the detriment of RTÉ. It would also allow other event organisers to see what Galway 2020 secured so in future negotiations they would demand at least something similar or even more from the national broadcaster”.
Records relating to plans and proposals for developments at Galway 2020 were also withheld. RTÉ said that the “developments in question involve outside agencies, with which contracts have not been finalised” and so releasing the information prior to the contracts closing, would be “prejudicial to the negotiations”.
RTÉ acknowledged there was a “strong obligation on any public body in receipt of public funding to be as open and accountable as possible”; the FOI Act was “not designed to force non-FOI’able bodies to reveal their plans or proposals before they are ready to do so”.
Remember both these organisations are funded by your hard-earned cash: Galway 2020 is almost entirely dependent on State handouts; while RTÉ is heavily reliant on the public purse through the licence fee.

For more Bradley Bytes about Galway 2020’s team and Connacht Rugby’s knock-on, see this week’s Galway City Tribune 

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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