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Almost half of local garda stations not connected to PULSE

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The Minister for Justice has revealed that almost half of all Garda stations in the Galway are not connected to the PULSE computer system.

The news comes in the same week that it was revealed there are four Garda Stations in County Galway that no longer have a Garda permanently assigned to them.

Minister Frances Fitzgerald has admitted that 24 out of the 46 Garda stations – right across the county – have no access to PULSE.

The figures were released to Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte, who said this week that she was shocked by revelation.

“The fact that only half of Garda stations in the county are connected to PULSE is extremely worrying.  This is the Gardaí’s primary method of recording information and evidence and is an essential tool in the fight against crime,” she said.

Among the stations without access to PULSE are Corrandulla, Monivea, Killimor, Woodford, Eyrecourt, Kilrickle, Ardrahan, Ballygar, Ahascragh, Kilconnell, Kiltormer, Moylough, Williamstown, Milltown, Glenamaddy and Corofin.

Connemara stations without access include Recess, Letterfrack, Maam, Roundstone, Ros Muc, Indreabhán, Leitir Móir and Cill Rónáin on the Aran Islands.

“The majority of these stations are in rural areas – many of these communities have seen marked decreases in Garda numbers and are fearful about crime levels.  These latest revelations will do nothing to appease their concerns,” said Deputy Rabbitte.

“The point of a national system is to have all stations feeding their data in so that a national picture of the incidences of crime can be monitored, and remedial action, in terms of resourcing and planning, can be taken.

“The Minister must work with the Garda management to ensure all of our stations are feeding into the PULSE system as quickly as possible,” she added.

Meanwhile there are four Garda Stations in County Galway that no longer have a Garda permanently assigned to them.

The four unmanned rural Garda Stations include Kiltormer, Ardrahan, Corofin and Milltown; Corofin lost its permanent Garda since 2015.

The stations are policed by Gardaí from neighbouring stations.

The figures were released to the Ireland edition of The Times, an online sister publication of the Sunday Times.

An Garda Síochána had resisted releasing information about staffing levels at each station across the country, following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from The Times.

However, it provided a breakdown of the number of Gardaí at each of the 564 stations in Ireland after being directed to do so by the Information Commission.

The figures reveal that some seven per cent of all Garda stations nationally, or 37 out of 564, no longer have a permanent Garda assigned to them and are policed by officers from other stations.

The four unmanned Garda stations in Galway are in addition to the ten that were closed a few years ago.

In 2013, the Government closed the doors on ten Garda stations in the county.

The closed stations were Ballymoe and Kilconly in the Tuam District; Kilchreest, Kilcolgan and Shanaglish in the former Gort District, which is now downgraded; Kiltullagh in the Galway District; Leenane in the Clifden District; Menlough in the Ballinasloe District; and New Inn and Tynagh in the Loughrea District.

The cost of maintaining County Galway’s network of shut-down rural Garda stations amounts to nearly twice as much as the savings accrued from the closures.

The Government confirmed the net-cost to the Exchequer of maintaining the 10 rural Garda stations that were closed in Galway in 2013 is €3,000 per station per year.

The Department of Justice has confirmed that the annual saving arising from the closure of 139 Garda stations in 2013 is €4,000 per Garda station. But the Office of Public Works (OPW) has conceded that it is spending some €7,000 per station every year to maintain the closed buildings.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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