"Both a Splash and a Seachange" the legacy of Galway 2020 should be inspiration but also infrastructure


On Wednesday the Seanad hosted a special debate on Galway's role as European Capital of Culture in 2020. 

Speaking in the debate, Independent Senator Alice-Mary Higgins praised the wide participation of so many in making the bid successful and emphasised the importance of maintaining that inclusive participation as plans progress. 

"So many diverse individuals and groups poured their energy and ideas into the Making Waves Bid and it is important that they remain deeply involved."  She suggested that it might be good to see more artist representation on the Galway 2020 Board as their voices and insights are so crucial to the success of the year and also noted that "the year should actively engage and reflect all generations of cultural participants and producers."

Senator Higgins highlighted "the importance of culture and the right to culture for the social fabric of Europe." and welcomed the outward looking nature of Galway2020 "as an open invitation to come and share ideas and experiences."  She spoke about the "Inis - island conversations" festival as an example of 'international conversations in local places" and warmly welcomed the "small towns, big ideas" initiative launched this week.  "So many of these towns have been affected by emigration. We want our young people and indeed people of all ages to have their imaginations sparked not only in terms of all the creative possibilities but also in that they can imagine living their lives in the west of Ireland. For this reason I think the 'ripples' programme within the Bid is particularly exciting"

Senator Higgins spoke about the power of spectacle but also about the need for proper supports for artists. "Galway 2020 should deliver a splash but also a seachange.  Its legacy must be one of inspiration but also infrastructure. That kind of long term impact has been one of the hallmarks of successful capitals of culture".

Senator Higgins also expressed concern at the proposed new bylaws on busking which could place overly strict constraints on Street Performance in the city.

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Senator Higgins calls for the 26th Seanad to convene

Senator Higgins, Senator Lynn Ruane and Senator Frances Black wrote to the Taoiseach to affirm their position that the Seanad should be allowed to sit. They agreed with the analysis of the Constitution put forward by Senators Bacik, McDowell and others and believe that the 26th Seanad can indeed convene prior to the appointment of the Taoiseach’s eleven nominees and that the 49 members who have been elected should be allowed to express their mandate.

 Moreover, they noted that the Dáil has been meeting for a number of weeks now to engage with non-legislative parliamentary work including scrutiny and oversight of public policy and that the Seanad should also have the opportunity to engage in such scrutiny. 

They believe that as an absolute minimum, a date must be set for a sitting of the Seanad for the purpose of selecting a Cathoirleach and re-establishing a committee to order the business of the house.