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CITY TRIBUNE

Big chance for Connacht to halt poor run in home clash with Cardiff Blues

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Connacht's influential back row Colby Fainga'a who is set to depart the province at the end of the season.

IT’S that time of year again. While all eyes are on the Six Nations, Connacht will toil away in their own corner as they face important PRO14 fixtures that could define their play-off hopes. The first of three games kicks off in the Sportsground on Saturday at 7:35pm as the Cardiff Blues come to Galway shorn of many frontline players.

The opportunity to bounce back from a run of five straight defeats in all competitions is just one of the motivating factors for Connacht. Furthermore, the Blues are in a battle with Connacht for fourth and like Connacht, they are chasing a place among the top three in the conference which would book a place in the play offs which kick off in late May.

Andy Friend’s side head to conference leaders Edinburgh the following Saturday before taking to the skies for a one game trip to South Africa to kick off March when they take on the struggling Southern Kings. All three games offer a very good chance of accumulating points with this weekend and the following weekend’s opponents decimated by Six Nations call ups and injuries.

“We all have to deliver, not just the players, but all of us,” noted Andy Friend at Tuesday’s press conference. “We had a few specific goals, one was a home quarter-final in the PRO14 which is alive and kicking. Another was to qualify for quarter-finals of Europe. We missed that, so there is now pressure on us to make sure we do achieve, and with that pressure we step up to the mark.”

There is mixed team news coming out of the three-week break. Tom McCartney has a hip injury so it’s certainly a relief for Connacht management that Dave Heffernan is fit and ready to go after his month in Ireland’s Six Nations camp. In the front row, Peter McCabe is out until March and Matthew Burke is out until next season, so it’s no harm that Denis Buckley and Paddy MacAlister are both in good form and available.

Another member of Andy Farrell’s squad to return this weekend will be Ultan Dillane, and he’ll be needed as Quinn Roux has not recovered in time from an injury picked up during the home defeat to Toulouse. Gavin Thornbury and Joe Maksymiw are both in line for selection at lock this weekend.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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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