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CITY TRIBUNE

Action demanded on discarded drug needles and anti-social behaviour

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Litter, drug needles and vandalism of trees are destroying the enjoyment of parks on the east side of the city.

That’s the assertion of city councillor Noel Larkin, who believes the Council are not doing enough to thwart anti-social behaviour in the valuable public spaces available for residents.

Trees were “butchered” in Terryland Forest Park. The cuttings have been strewn about for over a month despite calls to the Council for a clean-up.

“This tranquil walkway has become a scene of mass destruction. This is a vast area and frequently used by walkers, dog-owners, children and the elderly from a lot of nearby estates and communities,” he fumed.

“There was a serious element of drug dealing in the past in areas of this park which was successfully eradicated after our complaints. Now, there is serious dumping going on here.”

It prompted one visiting good Samaritan to organise her own litter-pick last Thursday.

French student Alice Roy, who was staying in Riverside during her studies, was so appalled by the condition of the park that she put up posters in the area to mobilise volunteers to pick up the “awful waste”

The poster read: “Who is feel (sic) bad to see garbage in this pretty little public park?”

Remarked Cllr Larkin: “She is heading back to France in a few weeks with this impression of our beautiful City. Galway City Council need to take more stringent action on illegal dumping throughout the City.”

During February, the Independent representative said he had reports of drugs paraphernalia and substantial litter under trees in the public park at Castle Park.

“This litter is gathered once or twice a week by local volunteers and includes used and unused drugs and needles, tablets and condoms. There are also reports of these trees providing a safe haven for sexual activity as well as drug- taking and anti-social behaviour,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

“I duly notified the City Council and insisted that urgent action be taken – either the trees were to be fenced off or cut down completely. Being conscious of the bird-nesting season starting at the beginning of March, I was hoping for immediate action to be taken, but one month on, nothing has been done.

“This pitch is also being invaded by stray horses on a regular basis, and although Galway City Council officials have been following up on this, these invasions occur mostly at weekends when there are no officials about.

“These amenities – park, pitch and clubhouse – were built for the community, are maintained by a number of volunteers, used by many youth organisations and are being destroyed by a few unscrupulous people.

“It’s time to get tough on these offenders whose sole intent appears to be self-gain at the expense of the whole community.”

A spokesman for Galway City Council said there was an ongoing issue in relation to the dumping of needles.

“The guards and ourselves are aware of it. There is a protocol to deal with drugs paraphernalia, in particular needs. There was a commitment by the guards that out of hours the Gardaí would have a sharps box in the squad car, but I’m not sure where that stands at the minute.”

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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