Categories: General News
Date: Aug 12, 2012
Title: Legal Action Taken
Galway City Marathon organisers can confirm that legal action has been initiated...
Galway City Marathon organisers can confirm that legal action has been initiated against both Cllr Michael J. Crowe and Galway City Council over grossly defamatory comments arising from the cancellation of the 2011 event.
The sequence of events leading to the cancellation of the marathon in 2011 has already been outlined on this website. Council officials informed Marathon organisers that the timing of a new Ironman competition was the “real” problem in accommodating the marathon while Cllr Crowe simultaneously put forward a motion that the City take over the operation of the marathon and “tender it out to a private event management firm” so that the local authority could “reap the financial rewards”. We were subsequently obstructed in our efforts to host a successful event in 2011.
We also note the following developments and findings since the forced cancellation of the 2011 race:
CLLR. CROWE / GALWAY CITY COUNCIL / IRONMAN
- Cllr Crowe made numerous defamatory comments and allegations against the Galway City Marathon organisers. Cllr. Crowe - a Fianna Fail councillor, landlord and former real estate agent - was since found to have breached ethics laws due to his non-declaration of guaranteed rental income from Galway City Council. Despite the breach, an investigation that happened to be carried out by Galway City Council itself (on foot of a public complaint) determined that he acted “in good faith”. As a result of the Council’s determination that he acted in good faith, Cllr Crowe escaped prosecution. See Irish Independent.
- Cllr Crowe and Ciaran Hayes, Director of Services of Galway City Council, were hosted by Ironman organisers in Germany prior to the Council approving substantial funding towards operating the Ironman event in Galway in 2011. See Galway Independent.
- In justifying tens of thousands of euro in funding for the Ironman by Galway City Council, Cllr Crowe declared the Ironman event would be the biggest sporting event in Galway since the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race, with claims of 2,500 participants. The reality was much different, with 1777 participants (taken from event's website results) despite the fact Ironman organisers claimed they had to "shut race entry down after 2500" (see City Tribune). (It should be noted the Galway City Marathon didn’t even receive a traffic barrier from the Council for the inaugural event and the organisers were charged by the Council to hold the event despite bringing an official World 50km Trophy Final to Galway. In addition, the world’s biggest running magazine ‘Runner’s World’ - present at the 2010 event - predicted the race would rival Dublin and Cork in future years).
- The 2011 Ironman event resulted in widespread traffic disruption throughout both Galway City and County at the blessing of the Council, with major roads being shut down. Yet, despite the poorer than anticipated numbers Cllr Crowe insisted that funding be continued for the Ironman event in 2012 or he would withhold budget approval. See Galway Advertiser. Cllr Crowe made reference to the findings of an 'economic benefit study', which was not prepared by an economist and which used questionable methodology based on figures of over 2000 registrants and 20,000 spectators at the Ironman event in 2011.
CLLR. CROWE & MARATHONS
- Despite his calls for the City to take over the operation of the marathon, Cllr Crowe has since confirmed that he had “worked closely with Ray O’Connor” - the race director of a ‘rival’ commercial half-marathon race to be held in October. See Galway Advertiser.
- The other event, known as the Galway Bay Half Marathon, was initially promoted by property developer Bernard Duffy (see Galway Independent), and purported to be a charity event for Cancer Care West. Entrants in the race assumed the proceeds went to Charity. See Connacht Sentinel.
- However, Sharon Fitzpatrick of Cancer Care West has now confirmed in an email to Galway City Marathon organisers that “In 2009 and 2010 the charity did not receive any portion of the entry fee”. The Charity only received a small portion of the fees from the 2011 event after Galway City Marathon organisers raised the issue.
GALWAY CITY COUNCIL & MARATHONS
- When Galway City Marathon organisers highlighted the above serious matter concerning the Galway Bay Half Marathon, Ciaran Hayes replied that “The financial arrangements regarding the use of any race entry fee is a matter for the organisers. The use of the race entry fee by the organiser is not a matter that is taken into consideration by the Council when considering the application to close a road.”
- Galway City Marathon organisers also suggested to Council officials that they would like to organise a half marathon on the exact same route with the exact same traffic management plan as the Galway Bay Half Marathon – but on the August date of the Galway City Marathon. However, they were told by City Engineer, Billy Dunne, that “All road events require their own individual traffic management plan based on the specifics of the event. The Galway Bay Half Marathon & 10k plan has evolved over the years and this year's plan was different from the previous year. If you are to proceed with an event you will have to develop the plan based on your event, albeit similar to the Galway Bay event and you will be obliged to commit to implementation of the plan. Notwithstanding the above, I wish to advise that the last Sunday in August 2012, ie 26th August 2012, is not available for your proposed event."