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CITY TRIBUNE

40% drop in criminal activity in Galway City

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A senior Garda has reminded city motorists to lock and remove all valuables from cars parked in public places after figures confirm an increase in thefts.

But, overall, there was a big drop in crime in Galway City – which was mainly attributed to the snow of recent weeks.

Superintendent Marie Skehill said many thefts from vehicles in Galway were carried out on cars that were unlocked.

She warned people visiting graveyards, GAA and soccer pitches, city parks and other amenities, to lock their vehicles and to take valuables such as handbags and laptops with them.

Supt Skehill made the comments during the latest Joint Policing Committee meeting.

In her local crime stats report to the meeting, Supt Skehill revealed that overall crime has reduced by 40% in the first two months of 2018, compared with January and February last year.

There were some 773 crimes recorded during those months in 2018, which included a period of time when the city was in lockdown due to snow and severe weather. That was 523 fewer crimes compared with the first two months of 2017.

Despite a dramatic reduction in crimes, thefts from vehicles, shops and from people all increased during the first two months of the year.

Thefts from vehicles were up by seven (37%) to 26 incidents; thefts from person were up by five incidents (71%) to 12; and thefts from shops were up by 22 (33%) to 88 incidents.

Theft other, which can include thefts of mobile phones in pubs, was down by 12 (24%) to 39 incidents.

Burglaries have halved during January and February compared with the same two months last year. There were 32 burglaries reported during that period, 36 fewer than the same period in 2017.

There were four serious road accidents, two more than January and February of 2017.

Supt Skehill noted that public order offences have fallen by 14% to 82 incidents; but assaults causing harm have increased by three to 10, and minor assaults are up by 19 to 45, which is a 73% spike.

Labour Party City Councillor Niall McNelis said online theft and fraud was now widespread and Supt Skehill agreed to include stats for this particular crime in the next Garda report if agreeable to the Garda analyst.

Community activist Joe Loughnane, chairman of GARN (Galway Anti Racism Network), said a lot of people were going to his organisation with complaints about racist abuse.

These included Irish Travellers, East European bouncers and bar staff, Asian fast-food workers and African taxi drivers. He accused Gardaí of not taking seriously racial abuse.

Supt Skehill said she and Chief Supt Tom Curley take racists crimes seriously, and she confirmed Galway Garda Station has an ethnic liaison officer, and all community Gardaí are ethnic liaison officers.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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