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Connacht Tribune

Banks display little sign of learning lessons from past

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Under pressure ... Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe with Cllr Padraig Conneely on his visit to Galway last Friday to update local business interests on Budget 2018.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Afew years ago the Green Party had a good idea about changing the culture of banks. It wasn’t about reform and modernization; indeed, it was about undoing reform and modernisation. There was a time when all the key decisions such as big loans and mortgages were taken locally, by the bank manager in the local branch. Often that person had been there for many years, was well-known and respected in the community, and brought common sense to bear.

But in the past generation, big loan decisions have been removed from those individuals, to be taken centrally in Dublin. There’s also a massive churn of staff in all banks; so much so that managers tend to stay in an area only a little longer than a bee on a flower. That recognition of old is no longer there.

Indeed, branches themselves are becoming strange places. The only encounter you are likely to have these days is with a machine. Some branches no longer handle money, or, if they do, it’s only for a few hours every day.

The irony of personal banking is that for most people, it is now becoming completely depersonalised – so the Greens’ proposal was an alluring one even though it will never happen.

The scale of the banking crisis in Ireland told us a lot of things. But one of the salient discoveries was just how big banks had become – too big to fail, as the saying goes.

Now recapitalised, the back-to-profit banks like Bank of Ireland are posting multi-billion euro profits.

No matter how well they present themselves you must never forget that at their core, they are money-making machines and profits rule the roost.

Which brings us to their strange, stubborn, behaviour on tracking mortgages.

You would have thought banks had got the message the world had changed by now – but obviously not.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe called in the heads of all the banks to dress them down on the tracker mortgage scandal.

In all, 20,000 cases have already been identified of customers being overcharged despite having a rate tracking the interest rate set by the European Central Bank. A little over 7,000 have been compensated with 13,000 cases outstanding. And as became clear yesterday, a further 7,000 customers may have been overcharged.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

New chapter beckons for dilapidated old houses in Ballinasloe

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Cllr Dermot Connolly, SF leader Mary Lou Mc Donald, Galway/Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane, and Caoimhin Caulfield, Ballinasloe, at the Dunlo Hill regeneration project in Ballinasloe.

Plans to redevelop a row of empty terraced houses and an old famous bar will breathe new life into Ballinasloe.

Cathaoirleach of Ballinasloe Municipal District, Councillor Dermot Connolly (SF), said the Galway County Council has shown vision by buying seven terraced houses along Dunlo Hill, as well as the closed Dooley’s Bar on the corner of Dunlo Hill and Dunlo Street.

Local authority plans for the site will rejuvenate that street, and give an overall lift to the entire East County Galway town.

Liam Hanrahan, Director of Services for Housing, Economic, Rural and Community Development, confirmed to the Connacht Tribune that the local authority purchased seven two-storey dwellings, a three-storey over basement premises – formerly Dooley’s Pub – and another adjacent three storey building for a total of €390,000.

“The tender for the design team was run in conjunction with another infill development in Ballinasloe and that team is currently being appointed to bring forward the Part 8 planning for 12-15 units – a mix of one and two-bedroom units. We are examining what can be done with the pub unit, a protected premises, as a community hub or other town centre use,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Barn Owls are bouncing back in Galway

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The Barn Owl....returning in droves to Galway.

The Barn Owl is bouncing back all over the county – that’s the key finding of a recent survey which recorded an upsurge in the fortunes of this iconic farmland bird, now returning to parts of the county where they have been absent for decades.

The survey was carried out by BirdWatch Ireland in partnership with the Heritage Office of Galway County Council, and it’s great news for a bird that had become an increasingly rare sight around the county in recent decades.

Surveys show that Barn Owls were widespread in the east of the county in the late 1960s, but 40 years later their numbers had diminished, and their range had contracted significantly in east Galway and they were incredibly rare west of Lough Corrib.

However, the survey – carried out by BirdWatch Ireland in partnership with Galway County Council with the support of the National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund – provides cause for optimism and the first evidence that the fortunes of Barn Owls may be changing in east Galway.

The Barn Owl survey enlisted the help of farmers and the general public who reported information on Barn Owls across the county, and the survey also involved systematically checking a wide range of ruined structures, which are the typical nesting sites of Barn Owl.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Spatial jobs strategy is still stuck in first gear

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Accusation...Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn.

Commuters in Athenry and Oranmore are having to spend hours travelling to congested urban areas for work while policymakers renege on commitments to deliver industry locally.

That’s according to a local councillor who said the failure of the IDA to attract inward investment to Oranmore-Athenry Strategic Economic Corridor amounted to an ‘abandonment’ of local residents.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn said despite having a commitment in local and national plans to attract industry into what amounts to around 500 acres in Athenry and Oranmore, nothing had come of it.

“We are now entering into the second County Development Plan where we have this ‘Strategic Economic Corridor’, and it was in the National Planning Framework.

“They appear to have abandoned the area and while we’ve seen IDA and Enterprise Ireland get investment for places like Tuam and Parkmore, they appear to be only investing in existing businesses, while doing nothing to attract new industry and indigenous firms to this area,” blasted the Fianna Fáil councillor.

At a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District, Cllr Herterich Quinn secured the backing of local area councillors to write to the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar, seeking assurances that steps were being taken to bring jobs to the area.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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