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CITY TRIBUNE

City Council tenants are facing rent hikes

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Galway City Council is to raise the rent for its almost 3,000 Council house tenants on July 1st.

This rent increase, according to Sinn Féin, will affect those who are amongst the poorest people in the city and whose payments from social welfare are spent every week on the increasing cost of living.

“I call on the City Council to immediately address this unfair increase and to make its reversal a priority”, said Mark Lohan, Sinn Féin Area Representative for Galway City Central.

“There is much fanfare about a left-leaning rainbow pact in City Hall, but this first action on the part of the new Council is one of the most reactionary and cruel blows to working class people in our city”, said Mark Lohan, who lost his seat in May’s local election.

“While all recent attention seems to be on mayors and chairs and who occupies what preferred post, no consideration has been paid to the effect of the rent increase on our most vulnerable citizens in the city,” he said.

The Sinn Féin representative said that in the current rent scheme a Council tenant on a Disability Allowance of €203 pays €30.80 per week from that payment to the Council for rent. This is based on a formula that discounts the first €49 of income and then charges 20% of the remaining income.

Under the new formula from July 1 that tenant will pay €35. This is based on the new rental scheme of 17% of all income (rounded up to the nearest euro).

This formula will also apply to those on Jobseekers’ Allowance and those on the State pension. “These fellow Galway citizens use all of their income to live and are not in a position to earn more money. To reach into their pockets and handbags and take out €5 per week will have a negative impact on them. I know people who face fuel poverty each Winter who are in this position and the rent increase will only increase that hardship.

“Our Council housing stock is under constant need for maintenance and upgrading, to raise the rent on tenants before any of these upgrades and necessary repairs happen only adds insult to injury,” said Mr Lohan.

The new scheme also provides for no maximum rent figure and gives the Council the new power to charge extra rent for “servicing boilers etc”.

“The servicing of boilers has always been the responsibility of the landlord and to pass the cost to the tenant is wrong. This loosely defined, new, additional charge system leaves the tenant open to future charges by the Council.

“The new rent scheme is unfair and will result in increased poverty levels for our most vulnerable city council tenants. If this is a sign of the new order in city hall it bodes ill for working class citizens all across our city,” added the SIPTU trade union representative.

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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 Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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