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Acclaimed sculptor offers his services free for Ó Conaire replica

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One of Ireland’s most eminent sculptors has told City Hall: Do the replica statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire properly or not at all. 

Galway’s John Coll, who has 27 years experience in bronze figurative sculpture, has also expressed fears that the new bronze replica of the famous poet’s statue would be “shunted into a corner” in Eyre Square deprived of space to ‘breathe’.

He has even offered to oversee the project “free gratis” so that it is done properly. “I just want it done right; let’s just do it properly,” he said.

Mr Coll, originally from Taylor’s Hill and now living in Dublin, said he fears that the expertise may not exist in Galway City Council to oversee the project because it involves several different disciplines and not just bronze sculpting.

Mr Coll said there are probably three firms in Ireland with the required expertise, but he is worried what will happen if it goes out to tender.

“It’s a precise and technical job. If it goes out to tender I’m afraid that it will go to the lowest bidder, who will be cheapest but who might not have the technical skills and expertise to do it properly.

“It is a complex piece of renovation which must be carried out to best practice and by someone with the necessary skills in bronze casting, moulding and colouring,” Mr Coll told the Galway City Tribune.

 “This is an iconic image and it cannot be allowed to be shunted into the sculpture garden. It is a strong stand alone piece and needs space around for it to breathe and be admired. Just like a painting needs a certain amount of space on a wall, a sculpture also needs space.

“The City Council, let’s face it, has egg on its face following the Daly art collection debacle and this is an opportunity for redemption and to show that they are serious about art and our cultural heritage,” he added.

At a recent Council meeting, elected members agreed to leave the Ó Conaire statue in Galway Museum and commission a bronze replica for Eyre Square as a compromise.

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

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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