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CITY TRIBUNE

City Council tries to recoup cost of Mayor’s NYC flights

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Mayor Mike whose trip to Seattle for St Patrick’s Day was grounded by Covid-19. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Complaints about airlines have soared during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the Irish Times reported that the Commission for Aviation Regulation was receiving around 200 complaints every day.

They mostly related to the refusal of airlines to offer refunds for flights that were cancelled due to Covid-19.

Despite being obliged to refund, airlines were instead offering vouchers and credit notes as they faced a cash shortfall and existential crisis.

If you’re one of the thousands of customers awaiting a refund, you’re in good company – so, too, is Galway City Council, which is awaiting a refund on flights for Mayor of Galway, Mike Cubbard.

Mayor Mike, his wife Karen and four close family members were due to fly to Seattle in March.

In keeping with a recent annual tradition, the First Citizen was invited to be part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, in Seattle, a sister city of Galway. Mayor Mike was then due to travel onwards to New York for official engagements with Galway Diaspora in the Big Apple.

Director of Services, Tom Connell was scheduled to accompany him, representing Council management.

Then Covid-19 happened and the trip didn’t proceed.

Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the City Council has confirmed that the money it spent to book flights for the trips has not yet been recouped.

Invoices show that flights for the First Citizen, his wife and four family members from Dublin to Seattle, and returning to Dublin via New York JFK Kennedy International cost €4,017.83. They were scheduled to travel economy class.

A Council spokesperson said that while the booking was made collectively, and the Mayor and his wife’s costs were covered by the local authority, the four other family members were flying at their own expense.
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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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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