31st March 2021

Welcome to this edition of GCCN Network News. Below we have information on:

GCCN Network News

Public Consultations
  • RESS Community Benefit Fund Good Practices Principles Handbook – Public Consultation 2021 Town Hall Webinars - read here
  • Climate Action Plan 2021 Consultation Process - read here
Funding, Surveys and Open Calls
  • Creative Climate Action Fund - read here
  • DFI Survey on Housing for People with Disabilities in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon - read here
  • Galway City Mayor’s Awards for 2020 - read here
Events and Initiatives
  • Very Light Rail Webinar: April 20th - read here
COVID-19 Related Updates

  • Covid Stakeholders Communication & Updates - read here
  • Phased Easing of Public Health Restrictions - read here
  • Update to Ireland’s Vaccination Prioritisation List - read here
  • Survey: Impact of COVID-19 on Creative Industries in Rural Galway - read here
  • Galway City COVID-19 Community Call Helpline - read here
  • Keep Well Campaign - read here
  • Reminder: Support for the Older People - read here
  • Galway City Community Response Map - read here

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Public Consultations

RESS Community Benefit Fund Good Practices Principles Handbook – Public Consultation 2021 Town Hall Webinars

The Programme for Government recognises the importance of community involvement in energy projects. The first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction held last year included a provision that mandatory Community Benefit Funds would be established by all successful projects. These Funds are set at €2/MWh for all generation projects and are to be used for the wider environmental, social and cultural well-being of the local community. For the first auction alone this equates to nearly €4 million per annum for Community Benefit Funds.

A set of Good Practice Principles is being published so that all projects and citizens know what is expected from these Community Benefit Funds and to ensure that the requirement to provide a fund is applied consistently.

The aim of this consultation is to gather stakeholder feedback on the proposed Good Practice Principles, which may help to inform the final document.

As part of the public consultation process, citizens are invited to register to participate in one of the webinars being held to gather feedback on the draft handbook.
The webinars will be held on 21 April and 27 April.

The consultation will remain open until 17:30 on 24th May 2021
All responses should be submitted to or in writing to CBF Consultation, Electricity Policy Division, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, 29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, Ireland. D02X285.
Read more here.

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Climate Action Plan 2021 Consultation Process

The Government have launched a Public Consultation Process to support the development of the Climate Action Plan 2021. As part of this process, everyone has the opportunity to engage with an online Climate Conversations platform. This platform will seek people’s opinions on various important elements of Climate Action and perspectives on actions at a local level.
The Government want to hear from as many people as possible in order to ensure that a diverse range of perspectives and experiences inform the development of the next Climate Action Plan.
In this context, please see a link below to this online platform.

Please feel free to distribute this to all your relevant contacts.

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Funding, Surveys and Open Calls

Creative Climate Action Fund

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD launched Creative Climate Action on behalf of the Creative Ireland Programme in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. 

This €2 million fund invites local authorities and creative practitioners to put their skills of engagement to the cultural challenge of climate change. 

Applications are now open and all explanatory materials are available on and
The deadline for applications is 21st May 2021 and successful applications will be announced in June.

Creative Climate Action is for creative projects that engage the public on the urgent need for climate-related lifestyle and behaviour change. Together the Creative Ireland Programme and DECC believe that creativity, arts and culture have a vital role to play in bringing the urgency of this challenge to the forefront and encouraging and facilitating change at all levels of society. Collaborative proposals which bring together creative makers from across the arts and creative industries, climate change and environmental NGOs, education, science and civil society sectors, and offer creative, innovative and interdisciplinary solutions will be encouraged.

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DFI Survey on Housing for People with Disabilities in
Galway, Mayo and Roscommon

All Local Authorities are responsible for reviewing and renewing their Strategic Plans for Housing People with Disabilities. This process has begun in all Local Authority areas.

The Disability Federation of Ireland are looking to gather feedback from people with disabilities and/or their family carers in relation to their housing needs and experiences of accessing housing through Local Authorities.

Please find below the link to the form DFI Survey on Housing for People with Disabilities in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon
Please note, this particular survey is relevant to people living in Galway City, Galway County, Mayo and Roscommon. 

This data is anonymous and will be used to feedback on the Strategic Plans for Housing People with Disabilities within Local Authorities in the West.
Please forward this survey to people with disabilities and/or family carers that you may work with or have contact with.     

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Galway City Mayor’s Awards for 2020

Nominations are now OPEN

The Galway City Mayor’s Awards for 2020 will formally recognise the outstanding contributions that local volunteers, community groups and voluntary organisations have made in supporting the residents of Galway City during the past year. In these unprecedented times, it is even more important to acknowledge those who have volunteered on the front line during the COVID-19 crisis bringing vital supplies, support and comfort to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Throughout 2020, many people across Galway City have given up their time to support their communities in a range of different ways. Many people have made extraordinary efforts to continue their voluntary commitments they were involved in prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by making adjustments in a safe and responsible way.

Galway City Council wants all who volunteer to know their contribution is appreciated and valued and that volunteering is celebrated for its vital contribution to our society, developing communities as vibrant, inclusive and sustainable places where people want to live.

Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Mike Cubbard has launched the awards to celebrate the incredible community spirit shown during last year in particular and is asking residents to nominate their own community heroes for an award. 

Nominations are invited for individuals or groups who are involved in voluntary activity which takes place in the city in one of the following categories, reflecting the different facets of volunteering particularly within the context of the response to local needs during COVID-19:

  • Arts, Culture, Heritage & Cúrsaí Gaeilge Award
  • Residents & Local Areas Award
  • Community Service & Social Inclusion Award
  • Older Person Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Sports Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Children and Youth Support Award
  • Young Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Environmental Sustainability Award

If you would like to nominate a person, community group or voluntary organisation for any of these award categories, you can complete a nomination form on the council website at

The closing date for on line nominations is Friday, 16th April 2021 at 5pm.

All nominations received will be considered and awards will be announced on live by the Mayor of Galway City which will coincide with the launch of the Galway City Community Spirit video, a short video that will be commissioned to showcase and highlight the breath of community spirit and solidarity that continues very strongly, making a significant impact on the quality of all communities across Galway City.

Each of the award winners will receive a specially commissioned trophy and a payment of €500 and all nominees will receive an individually designed Mayoral Certificate by post.
For further information on the Mayor’s Awards please email

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Events and Initiatives

Very Light Rail Webinar
April 20th at 7pm

All stakeholders in Galway are invited to participate in a webinar promoting a new concept in modern urban transport held on Tuesday 20th April from 7.00pm to 8.15pm.

Introducing a modern Very Light Rail (VLR) transport system for Galway City and surrounding urban areas based on state of the art, tried and tested technology suitable for a modern city with a population of 80,000 people and growing.

The Webinar invites global experts in VLR transport systems to outline what is possible for cities similar to Galway.

This initiative has the potential to breathe life back into Galway City Centre in a post-pandemic, climate-friendly future.

To register please visit the Eventbrite Page Link below:

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West Be Well Website

Voluntary, community and statutory groups involved in wellbeing, mental health promotion, and suicide prevention initiatives in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon have developed This common platform communicates key health messages and promotes education and training events. They provide contact details for a wide range of national and local services which are government-funded and available in the community and offer easy access here to resource materials.
Further details are available at the links below:

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COVID-19 Related Updates

Covid Stakeholders Communication & Updates
Thursday 25 March

Dear Colleague,
We are grateful for your continuing support in helping to share information about COVID-19. Below are a few communication updates for you, including some new information about vaccination for people who have a health condition that put them at very high risk if they get COVID-19.

Visiting people in Long Term Care Facilities
Updated guidance has been agreed for nursing homes and long-term care facilities where most people have been vaccinated, allowing for more frequent visiting arrangements. This will provide support to people in our community who have endured a difficult year, with separation from friends and family. The updated guidance is available here.

COVID Tracker app: update and translated videos
The COVID Tracker app now includes the ability to set a reminder to check-in with how you’re feeling every day. The app supports contact tracing and helps to find close contacts you might have forgotten or who are unknown to you, like when you are shopping or on public transport. Using the check-in tool is a helpful reminder if you develop symptoms so you have a record of when you started to feel unwell.
The COVID Tracker app is available in a number of languages. To support the uptake of the COVID Tracker app, we have developed translated videos. You can access the videos in Arabic, French, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese on YouTube.

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
The vaccination programme continues to be rolled out nationwide, and more than 632,359 vaccines have been administered as of the 16th of March 2021. Vaccination of Group 2 (frontline healthcare workers) and Group 3 (those aged 70 and over) continue, and we have also begun to vaccinate Group 4 (people with certain health conditions that put them at very high risk). Our hospital and healthcare teams continue to work to identify and plan for contacting people in Group 4. For now, people in these groups don’t need to take any action. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Centres
Videos with information about how the vaccination centres will operate are available here.

Infection Prevention and Control guidelines for Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare settings during the COVID-19 Pandemic
This guidance is available here.

Isolation quick guide: adults and children from their 13th birthday
This guidance is available here

Isolation quick guide: greater than 3 months and up to 13th birthday
This guidance is available here.

COVID-19 Religious settings guidance
This guidance is available here.

Summary of Key Guidance Points for Infection Prevention and Control and Outbreak Control in a Long-Term Residential Care Facility
This guidance is available here.

COVID-19 Vaccination Poster for Travellers
The COVID-19 Vaccination information poster for Travellers is available here.

HSE COVID-19 Vaccination information videos for Travellers
These videos were produced in partnership with Pavee point, HSE National Social Inclusion office, National Immunisation Office and HSE Communications.
HSE Traveller COVID-19 Vaccine Information Video Part 1

  • Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for me?
  • Why is it important to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine?
  • Can I still get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?
  • Where can I get more information about the COVID-19 vaccines - Information I can trust?
HSE Traveller COVID-19 Vaccine Information Video Part 2
  • When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Consent
  • What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® safety update
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as safe and effective, whose benefits outweigh the risks, following a review of potential side effects carried out this week.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), which is the expert group that advises on vaccination in Ireland, has recommended that vaccination with COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca should recommence. The HSE will now resume using the AstraZeneca vaccine within our ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme. Hospitals, CHOs, service providers and clinicians will be supporting colleagues and patients who will now be invited for their vaccine. Please find attached here a document with further information.
Support the Quit Leaders
Smoking increases your risk of acute respiratory infections like COVID-19 by damaging the natural barriers in your airways and lungs that help prevent infections. Thankfully, many people are giving up smoking because of the risk posed by COVID-19 and with the support of the HSE Quit programme, they have a much better chance of success. We have recruited 10 would-be quitters to tell their stories and help inspire others to join them on the journey towards becoming smoke-free. Please see the Quit 2021 pack attached here to find out more about how you can follow their journey to inspire even more people to Quit.
Medical Cards for patients with Terminal Illnesses
The Government introduced a measure on Feb 9th 2021 that will enable individuals, who have been certified by their treating consultant as having a prognosis of less than 24 months to live, to be awarded a medical card without undergoing a means test. The measure is being introduced on an administrative basis pending legislative change. From 12th March 2021, a medical card can be awarded (without a means test) to an individual who has been certified by their treating consultant as having a prognosis of 24 months or less and the updated information is available on the HSE website here.  
EU Web Survey to explore current drug trends in Ireland is open for Irish participation
HSE in collaboration with the Health Research Board and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) are asking adults in Ireland who use drugs to complete this survey to help shape the future of drug policies and interventions. The survey is anonymous and is open to adults aged 18 and over. The survey is open from today for a 6 week period.
The survey is available here.   For information and support relating to your own or someone else’s drug use, go to or Freephone the HSE Helpline on 1800 459 459 Monday – Friday 9:30 – 5:30 or email
Grow It Forward 2021 initiative - this was recently launched, as part of the Government’s Keep Well campaign and funded by Sláintecare, through the Healthy Ireland fund. The Grow It Forward 2021 initiative, in partnership with Healthy Ireland and Libraries Ireland, is designed to help the nation’s wellbeing by inspiring and supporting people to grow some of their own food and plants at home while connecting with friends and family to join them. Evidence shows the positive effects of outdoors and gardening on mental wellbeing
Through this initiative, 50,000 seed packs will be given away, and participants asked to use the kits to share the experience with ten people, enabling half a million people across Ireland to enjoy the wide range of benefits that come from growing food at home. You are invited to claim a Grow it Forward pack. Register here or by contacting your local library (all 330 branches nationwide are helping to drive the effort). Join the Grow It Forward initiative using the links and hashtags -  #GrowItForward. #KeepWell Together with @LibrariesIre, @HealthyIreland, @LGMAIreland
Where to find ongoing COVID-19 Vaccination Information - We encourage everyone to read about the COVID-19 vaccine and to get their information from a factual, trusted source – here are the links to the pages with information on the vaccine:

Public Health Information - As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to: and

Please also check the Healthy Ireland site here with further resources and information on the Keep Well campaign.
Ireland’s COVID-19 Data Hub is available here.

Many thanks for your continued support,
COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement

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Phased Easing of Public Health Restrictions

On March 30th, the Government has announced the phased easing of some restrictions for the month of April, to commence on 12th April. Micheál Martin has said Ireland is on the "final stretch of this terrible journey", as he revealed Ireland’s lockdown exit plan over the coming months.
After taking full account of the current status of Covid-19 in the community, and the public health advice, the Government has decided to implement a limited phased easing of restrictions for the month of April. People will be able to travel throughout their county, or within 20km of their home, from April 12, while two households will be allowed to socialise outside. Meanwhile, a range of outdoor activities including golf, tennis and children’s sports training will be permitted from April 26. Outdoor attractions and heritage sites will also be allowed to welcome visitors from this date. However, regular religious services will not be permitted until at least May, meaning mass will continue to be banned throughout Easter. Construction of residential housing will recommence on April 12 but commercial building works will not be allowed until May.
Find more details at the links below:
MerrionStreet   Irish Independent   Irish Times   Irish Examiner   Irish Times   Irish Independent

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Update to Ireland’s Vaccination Prioritisation List

On Tuesday 30 March, the Government has approved an update to the COVID-19 Vaccination Allocation Strategy.

In April, May and June, it is expected that Ireland will administer three million vaccine doses, with four in five adults having received at least one dose of vaccine by the end of June. Vaccination of those aged over 70 continues, with all aged over 70, almost half a million people, to have received their first dose by mid-April. 

Vaccination of those aged 16-69 at very high risk from COVID-19 due to specific medical conditions is underway. 

The age-based approach will make the roll-out more efficient at higher volumes of vaccinations, and better meets the objective of protecting those at highest risk first.
Read more here.

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Important Reminders


The Galway City Community Call Helpline
New Flyer Graphics
The helpline is open to anyone who needs it, seven days a week.
If you need support or help to get access to shopping, food, medication or if you feel isolated or lonely and need someone to talk to, please get in touch at:
☎️ 1800 400 150

Keep Well Campaign
The Keep Well campaign provides guidelines, information, and tips on how we can add healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines around five simple actions: keeping active, keeping in contact, switching off and getting creative, eating well and minding your mood
Support for Older People
We would like to share once again some of the main helplines for older people to access, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 alert.
  • Galway City COVID-19 Community Call Helpline: 1800 400 150
  • COPE Galway Helpline: 085  87 67 785
  • Alone Helpline: 0818 222 024
  • Senior Line: 1800 804 591
We highly encourage you to share these numbers with any older person you know.
Galway City Community Response Map

As part of the ongoing work of the Galway City Community Response Forum, Galway City Community Network and Galway City Council have developed a map of the COVID-19 related responses, activities and services available to people in Galway City.

The map is publicly available and can be used as a useful information resource both for individuals made vulnerable by COVID-19 and by organisations or agencies that need to know where they may refer their clients to for support.

The map is online at the following links:
Further details are available on the GCCN Website.


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