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Burst of colour: local householders with the green-fingered touch



Mary Bennett and her dog Max, in her garden at Dr Mannix Road, winner of the Salthill area of the Tidy Towns.

The English poet, Alfred Austin, put it succinctly when he said: ‘Show me your garden, and I shall tell you what you are.’

The Galway Tidy Towns and Garden Competition 2015 recognises just that – those people who are dedicated to creating the best out of their little green patch.

Winners of the ‘Best Lawns’ category, Sean and Margaret Langan, of Castlelawn Heights, are no exception.

They say the secret to their success is feeding the lawn well, and giving it extra special attention, of course.

“Sean gets down with a screwdriver and takes out the weeds,” says Margaret.

“This year, the weather was so bad that Sean was going to dig it up, but I said: ‘No, just rake out the moss and re-seed it’. It came on great, even better than previous years.”

The bad weather did not derail overall winner, Patrick Mullins from Rockhill Avenue either – he won the ‘Front Garden Competition’ – and says that a variety of colour is the key to his success.

“I never put all the one colour in,” he says.

“I have begonias, geraniums, bedding plants…”

Retired from London, he spends up to an hour in his garden every day – less of a chore, and more of a hobby – but maybe spent a lot more time this year fixing what the wind and rain had damaged.

It is also a hobby for Carolyn Corless in Highfield, who won recognition in the ‘Window Boxes/Floral Display’ category.       When asked how much time she spends in the garden, she says she doesn’t count the hours because she loves it so much.

“I potter around the garden in my worst attire, and I’m a ‘divil’ for trying bulbs and seeds,” she says.

“I mix and match, I like bright colours, pinks and whites.”

Winner of the ‘Best First Time Entrant’ category, Aideen Hurley, Ballyloughane Road, has been gardening all her life, but started to dedicate more hours to it in the last few years.

“I’ve had more time to do it in the evenings,” she says.

“It’s quite colourful, I try to have something in flower all the year round.”

Aideen Ward in Knocknacarra, who won the ‘Best Eco Garden’ award, says that her small front patch of green is “friendly for nature.”

“I use the natural way of gardening, with no pesticides, and also not to have it too perfect,” she says.

“I encourage wildlife with birdfeeders, and one thing will follow the other – no pesticides will encourage wildlife. It’s messy, with lots of natural plants to encourage bees.”

Meanwhile, in the ‘Best Residential Area’ categories, the winners were: Oaklands (20-50 houses), Monivea Park (50-200 houses), and Castlelawn Heights/Ros Na Shí (200 houses+).

Barnacles Hostel was awarded ‘Best Registered Guest House’ while other winners included GMIT, The Ardilaun Hotel, St Mary’s Priory, Western Motors, The Huntsman Inn, Coral Haven Nursing Home, and Hartmann & Sons Ltd.

The ‘Best School Garden’ category was won by SN Bhríde, with Scoil Rois winning the ‘Best Floral Display’. The ‘Best Community Group Project’ prize went to Circle of Life Garden of Commemoration & Thanksgiving in Salthill.

“Galway City Council would like to commend all entrants for their efforts in enhancing their local area,” a spokesperson said.

“The Council acknowledges the amount of work carried out on a voluntary basis throughout Galway City to maintain and enhance the appearance of residential areas and estates.

“Continued support and interest in this local competition, which aims to encourage and promote householders and businesses to take a greater pride and interest in their own gardens, is vital for the further development and enhancement of the appearance of Galway City.

“Galway City Council would like to thank all those that supported the 2015 competition and would encourage more households and businesses to get involved in the Tidy Towns campaign in Galway City.”




Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years



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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Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City



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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Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects



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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