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City chief supports amalgamation of Galway local authorities

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council feels the structure of the local authority needs to change in order to secure funding for urban regeneration.
At a meeting of the local authority last night (11/6), Brendan McGrath said key sites in the city need to be progressed under the National Planning Framework.
He suggested that the city and county councils should be merged to avoid doubling up on some services and in order to secure the maximum NPF funding.
The key sites mentioned by CEO, Brendan McGrath, include Ceannt Station, the developmenet of the port, Eyre Square East, the Crowne site in Mervue, a site at Headford Road and Nun’s Island.
The CEO said the private Bonham Docks development which is currently going through the planning process is very important for inward investment and sustainable living.
Housing was another significant concern raised by Brendan McGrath.
He said there is a shortfall about about 3 thousand residential units in the city with the population growing by 1 thousand per year.
Brendan McGrath says 350 new housing units need to be built each year to keep up with demand.
He also added that a masterplan for the jointly-owned Galway Airport site in Carnmore needs to be developed, after Councillor McNelis stated he heard rumours that Boeing is interested in the site.
Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal Ó Chonchúir agreed with the city chief and said the city council could not operate in isolation from the county.
Councillor Donal Lyons says he has concerns that members are being ‘kept in the dark’ regarding reasons for amalgamation or the savings it would purportedly make.
Brendan McGrath told the meeting that both the city and county councils need financial and human resources.
He said the first round of bids for National Planning Framework funding would be made in the autumn with a decision expected before the end of the year.

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1427 new cases of Covid-19 reported nationally

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 1,427* confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The figure is a decrease of 74 on yesterday’s figure.

It brings the five-day moving average of new cases to 1,363.

There are currently 164 people in hospital with the virus – of which 26 are in intensive care units.

Cases have remained consistently between 1,000 and 1,500 cases per day over the past week or so, following a sharp increase in daily figures in mid-July.

This weekend also marks a further expansion of the vaccination programme, with walk-in vaccination centres opened across the country for the first time.

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€42,000 worth of grants awarded to coastal community groups and micro enterprises in Galway

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Over 42,000 euro worth of grants have been approved for 4 coastal community groups and micro enterprises in Galway.

The funding is provided by the Fisheries Local Action Groups that were set up under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme and are co-funded by the Government and the European Union.

In total, 62 grants worth €915, 295 were awarded nationally in this latest round of funding.

The Fisheries Local Area Action Group is a coastal community development strategy with a fund of €12 million for 7 designated Irish coastal communities with the West FLAG comprising of Galway and Clare.

The Galway groups that will receive the latest round of funding are Inis Oírr Glamping and Campsite, Oranmore Castle Cultural Centre, Cuan Beo and Spiddal Craft & Design Centre.

Minister for the Marine Charlie McConalogue says the money will further drive start-ups and the development of seafood and marine businesses.

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SIPTU members in St Brigids Ballinasloe vote overwhelmingly for strike action

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Galway Bay FM Newsroom – SIPTU members working as health care assistants and social care workers in St Brigid’s Mental Health Intellectual Disability Services in Ballinasloe have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action up to and including strike action.

Balloting began on Thursday with the result announced yesterday evening.

SIPTU argued that its members were left with no option but to ballot for strike action because HSE Senior management is outsourcing work, contrary to public service agreements.

SIPTU Organiser, Yvonne McGrath, said: “The actions taken by HSE West in privatising our members’ work roles has shown a total lack of regard for their staff. This vote has demonstrated that our members will not be found wanting in responding to actions of the HSE.  It has made this move at a time when workers in intellectual disability services have been working above and beyond their duties in caring for service users who have been at their most vulnerable during the pandemic.”

She added: “The actions taken by HSE West are in breach of agreements, which apply not just to this facility but throughout the public service. Our members are simply calling for the HSE to abide by its agreements, engages in meaningful consultation and desist from the outsourcing of our members’ work.” 

SIPTU member in St Brigid’s, Susan Delaney, said: “We are delighted with the high turnout of members to participate in this ballot together with the overwhelming result. The actions of management have been taken with total disregard for workers on the ground. Over years of working with service users, we have built up strong and supportive relationships with them. They know us, trust us and rely on us. The staff will continue to deliver excellent service, working to an extremely high standard, which management by their actions appears to have called into question.”

SIPTU NEC member and St Brigid’s staff, Seamus Dillon said: “Management at St Brigid’s seems to be answerable to no one. In my opinion, their actions seriously damage the credibility of the HSE. If they are allowed to totally disregard the public service agreement and don’t take any action to reverse their decision, they are in danger of bringing the HSE into disrepute.”

In a statement released earlier this week, the HSE said an external review of the needs of service users was undertaken in 2017 and a change process subsequently commenced.

It added the service is in the process of transitioning to a social care model which will deliver better outcomes and quality of life for the service users.

The HSE has stated it is incumbent on Galway Roscommon Mental Health Service to support evidence-based best practice and change the service delivery to a social care model in line with all other intellectual disability services provided in this country.

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