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CITY TRIBUNE

City Cllrs hide in long grass for Galway 2020 CEO Hannah

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Hannah Kiely: councillors are not enamoured by her appointment.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

So now, finally, we know the identity of the Chief Executive Officer of Galway 2020. Hannah Kiely’s task will be to deliver the programme and vision for Galway’s European Capital of Culture in 2020.

With an advertised salary of €120,000, she has the most important job, in what we’re told is a seminal year for Galway, and in particular the arts and culture communities, and for the tourism industry.

She will be responsible for creating the environment to ‘enable’ the artistic director (advertised salary: €110,000) – apparently appointed but not yet publicly announced – and the team, to “deliver a truly unparalleled experience” through Galway 2020.

There are a lot of people, and organisations, hitching their wagons to the Galway 2020 star. No pressure then.

Hannah Kiely, in case you missed last week’s announcement, is an experienced CEO with 25 years leadership knowledge, who has won the Businesswoman of the Year Award.

A graduate of NUIG and GMIT and the Institute of Directors of Ireland, the Clarinbridge native is a former CEO of HC Financial Advisers; a former President of Galway Chamber of Commerce; and a former board member of Galway Arts Centre. She is well-known for her long association with Cope Galway, the homelessness and domestic violence charity.

But Galway 2020’s press statement about Hannah’s appointment is as interesting for what it omitted to mention, as much for what it does.

Hannah is not universally liked by Galway City Councillors.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; but her appointment raised eyebrows among the political classes for her connections to two organisations in particular.

Conspicuous by their absence in the statement, was her links to the Picture Palace, the company tasked to deliver the city’s jinxed arthouse cinema; and to the committee to review local government arrangements in Galway.

Councillors remember vividly when Hannah came before them, with project leader Lelia Doolin, at full Council meetings and Corporate Policy Groups, to give presentations about finance, and so forth, relating to the arthouse cinema.

For more, read this week’s 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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