Members of the MDC were given a lengthy briefing for the planning behind the return of the largest Equestrian and Visitor event of the West in the Autumn season, at their September monthly meeting.
Clearly spurned by pandemic gap and apparent anniversary the Council for the first time ever have seen the Heritage and Arts Officers and their Departments significantly involved in the programming and production.
Ex Saw Doctors member and Events Production Consultant - Pearse Doherty has been contracted as the Event Co – Ordinator to effect a professional presentation of the event.
Speaking to the Councillors he praised the festival as a great unique event that is outside the normal tourist season. He noted how he had been working alongside the Fair and Festival Committee, Gardaí, and Civil Defence. After meeting with the Civil Defence, they both came to the conclusion that extra medics had to be engaged on the busy days ‘Integrity Security’ from Dublin will provide the necessary extra security and have worked at the fair in 2019.
Liam Hanrahan Director of Services for GCC has said “Galway County Council will cover events and activity on the fair green as part of their Equine Insurance, which is costing an additional €7,800, however they won’t cover the festival or carnival element.” He defended the situation by explaining that Council would not have the budget to cover the insurances of every festival within the county.
He also said that GCC have contributed significantly by managing the horse fair such as the security, staff and medics.
The Fair and Festival it is believed will have their annual insurance bill of nearly €16,000 substantially reduced by the Council agreeing to undertake this – freeing up monies in their budget for entertainment and marketing.
Other good cheerful new from the Council was that they secured an new €20,000 in funding from the ‘Live Performance Arts Scheme’ promoted by the Arts Council to produce some of the music events. It is the first time that the Council is directly paying for some of Festival or entertainment costs of the event.
After the festival the bronze sculpture of the City of Culture Urn will be placed in the Slí Na hAbhainn Park permanently. It will also have a lighting feature so it can turn different colours to support different causes.
There was no mention or discussion on trading arrangements for the Fair itself and as to stalls locations on the closed streets and squares. Parking charged for the Lorries; horseboxes was not discussed on this occasion. There was no information provided about the Non-Public Order Gardai Units or indeed the policing plan for the event.
When the Town Council ran the last Fair in 2014 – Recorded Trading income from the Street Stalls, Parking on the Green, Fun Fair income and Green accommodation charges was north of €110,000 which was utilised with spend on additional outdoor crew, the temporary fencings, toilets, security, non-public order gardai , litter disposal and depending on the rainfall -re seeding and rolling of the Green.
It has been confirmed that the Annual Fairs Reception will take place on the eve of the Fair.
The Ballinasloe Lions club will be organising car parking for the event behind the Bank of Ireland, Salmons and Gullanes. The Show Society will be turning over their grounds for Carparking facilities.
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