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Bringing home the Tribes for biggest ever family reunion

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The biggest ever Galway family reunion is being planned as part of the year’s Oyster Festival with people from overseas who bear the name of one of the 14 city tribes being invited to take part in the first ‘tribal oyster feast off’. 

Since the call went out abroad for descendents of the tribes to return home for The Gathering Ireland 2013 event, interest has been sparked far and wide.

Manager of the 59th Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, Suzanne Meade said she had been contacted by a Bodkin in South Africa, a Browne in California, a D’arcy in Hong Kong and Nelson Bay in Australia, and a Dean from Ohio in the US. Coming to attend the festival is a Joyce from Washington, a Kirwan from Rhode Island, a Martin from Florida and a Skerrit from the UK.

Barak Obama’s cousin Henry Healy, now famously known as Henry V111 – is helping the festival to trace relatives of a Blake woman from Australia.

A Ffont based in Dublin is anxious to link up with anyone with the same name such is its scarcity.

The tribal feast-off, which takes place in the specially erected marquee in the Docks at the family day on Sunday, September 29, is open to anyone over 18 from abroad who can prove their name or a spelling variation.

Each contender will be asked to devour a tray of oysters. The winner will be the tribe descendant who eats them the fastest while avoiding penalties for what has been called “sloppy savouring”.

“We’re going to try and see if we can reunite some long lost relatives. There doesn’t seem to be a tribes gathering event so far, so we’ve been putting out the call. I’ve been overseas in the UK and US raising awareness of the event and it’s shaping up to be the biggest Galway family reunion ever held,” said Suzanne.

“We’re hoping to create a legacy event for the city and county to celebrate all those who wouldn’t normally know much about the history of the tribes. Descendants of the 14 Tribes have been traced to the wineries of France – Chateau Kirwan and Chateau Lynch Bages, throughout the UK, Australia and also as early settlers of several states in America.”

The 14 Tribes of Galway – Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D’Arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, Skerritt – were merchant families who ruled the city from the late 12th century. They led the city to a golden age of prosperity. Such was the fame of the city that in 1477 Christopher Columbus visited here. They survived until defeat at the hands of Cromwell in 1652.

Any descendants of the Tribes of Galway interested in atending the festival should email: info@galway oysterfest.com for more details.

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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