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CITY TRIBUNE

Cheevers takes the hump with FG over mayoral pact

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The bitter fallout from the mayoral pact on Galway City Council lingers. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for local political anoraks. And more bitter it’s getting!

Over two months, the original ruling pact that formed after the May 2019 Local Election, collapsed. And yet the ill-feeling simmers.

The original pact that broke-up in September due to a row over Travellers, included: Noel Larkin, Declan McDonnell, Terry O’Flaherty, Donal Lyons, Mike Cubbard and Colette Connolly (all Ind), Níall McNelis (Lab), Martina O’Connor and Niall Murphy (Green).

The new pact, which holds power at City Hall now, is the old pact, minus McDonnell and Larkin, plus the three Fine Gaelers, Clodagh Higgins, Eddie Hoare and Frank Fahy.

Fianna Fáil’s five councillors had hoped to do a deal with McDonnell, Larkin and Fine Gael to freeze out the rainbow but the Blueshirts had a better offer.

In a pact with FF, there was room for only one FG mayor. And so, led by Frankeen, FG negotiated a deal without FF that included a mayoral term each for Classy Clodagh and Eligible Eddie, in the three remaining years before the next local election.

Not only has the new pact been the ruination of the relationship between the councillors formerly known as the PDs, (few words have been exchanged between Declan, Donal and Terry) it has damaged the FF/FG friendship.

FF newcomer Alan Cheevers, or Cheesy Cheevers as he’s known, had become friendly with FG since his election to the Council. Even some of his party colleagues had remarked it was a ‘bit odd’ that he was phoning the FGers, and Classy Clodagh in particular, on an almost daily basis for chats.

Well, no more. They may have been ‘besties’ for over a year but Cheevers has cut all ties with his FG compadrés.

As well as giving them the cold shoulder at Council meetings, Cheevers snubbed them virtually, too. He has removed or blocked Eddie and Clodagh from his friends list on Facebook.

While Eddie evidently hasn’t noticed, and Classy Clodagh described it as ‘kindergarten stuff’, Cheevers is boiling.

“I’m not impressed with the pact decision. We had an alliance from the start of Council with Fine Gael. They decided to shaft us to get two mayors,” he fumed.

For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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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