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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars to be banned from city centre streets

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Galway City Tribune – City councillors will be asked in the early days of the New Year to tackle head-on the task of ridding the city centre area of private cars in the biggest ever proposed shake-up of transport in the urban area.

The Galway City Centre Transport Management Plan will be presented to councillors at their meeting on Monday, January 8 next, following a workshop to brief them on the strategy on the previous Friday.

Councillors have been told in no uncertain terms that it is an objective of the City Council ‘to remove non-essential motorised traffic from the core city centre area’.

The plan envisages a number of ‘bus only routes’ around the city centre area with private cars likely to be banned from Eglinton Street and from using College Road as a through route to and from the city.

Brian Connolly, Regional Manager West, Bus Eireann, told the Galway City Tribune, said that there was huge potential for the expansion of the bus service in the city once customers could be guaranteed reliability of service and accurate journey times.

“Only 10% of the city network has priority bus lanes, which obviously leaves 90% of our services vulnerable to this traffic congestion,” said Mr Connolly.

Another leg of the City Centre Transport Management Plan is the construction of a new footbridge over the Corrib adjacent to the existing Salmon Weir Bridge – this is part of an overall strategy aimed at making the city centre area more user-friendly for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Councillors have already given a guarded welcome to the new plan but have warned that it will involve fundamental change to the current transportation pattern and usage around the city.

Fianna Fáil councillor, Michael Crowe, told the Galway City Tribune: “Something has to be done as regards the traffic situation around the city – I think that we all accept that. Change just has to come – and it won’t be easy – but we must face up to the challenge in front of us.”
To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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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