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City Garda cuts not as deep as in other areas



Mill Street Garda Station

Galway has suffered a fall of just five per cent in the county’s Garda force – one of the smallest cuts in the country.

That is according to information released by the Department of Justice, after a query from Niall Collins TD, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Justice and Equality.

The figures released earlier in the week show that as of January 2015 Galway has 567 Gardaí, compared to a figure of 599 in 2010.

That is a decrease of five per cent over five years, while other areas lost up to one-fifth of their numbers in the past five years.

Cavan-Monaghan, for example, suffered the harshest cuts to its division, losing 22 per cent of its Gardaí in the same period.

Galway is on par with Westmeath, and just below Cork city at four per cent and Cork North at two per cent, which saw the least dramatic cuts nationally.

Galway previously saw the closure of ten stations in January 2013 as part of An Garda Síochána’s Policing Plan 2013.

Deputy Collins had registered a complaint with the Ceann Comhairle when the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald initially failed to release the documents pertaining to garda numbers. The figures were released at the weekend.

“Hiring 200 additional Gardaí is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s needed,” he said, referring to recent graduations at Templemore Training College.

The Deputy recommended that the government commit to increasing Garda levels by 14,000. There are currently 12,775 Gardaí in the country.

But Dermot O’Brien, the Galway man who is President of the Garda Representative Association, criticised the government’s management of Garda numbers.

Mr O’Brien, who is based in Tuam, said there were an estimated 12,799 Gardaí in the force – but when that was stripped down by rank and takes into account those who are sick, injured, on leave and job sharing, it is a four figure number. “And that four figure number is then divided among five units”, he said.

“Gardaí today earn a hell of a lot less than they did in 2008. They now want back what they’re owed by the government.

“Talks of percentage rises are not welcome, because that relates to productivity and Gardaí have already put in enough of that and given enough through the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements.

“The new recruits coming in are in a poverty trap, where they’re working in a two-tier wage system and being moved to urban areas with high rents. It’s time for the government to address this issue,” he added.

Earlier this month Galway West TD Sean Kyne welcomed the announcement of additional recruitment to An Garda Síochána. “I am confident that Galway will get its fair share,” he said.

He also asked the Minister to confirm whether the Garda Commissioner would take cognisance of the Gaeltacht areas in Galway to ensure sufficient numbers proficient in the Irish language, as required under law.


Matriarch of Scotty’s Diner donates kidney to her son!



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A well-known family in the Galway restaurant trade have swapped chef whites for hospital gowns after the matriarch donated a kidney to her son.

Jenny and Andrew Ishmael, synonymous with Scotty’s Diner in Cúirt na Coiribe on the Headford Road in Terryland, are recovering in Beaumont Hospital after the marathon live donor operation.

It took place last Monday and staff are so impressed by the quick recovery of mother and son that they could be discharged as early as this weekend.

“It went really well. I’m still a bit sore. We’re still on the mend. It’s working perfectly,” says Andrew from the isolation ward of the hospital’s Kidney Centre.  “My creatine was over 1,000 when I came in and it’s already around 260.

“I felt weak after the surgery, but I could feel that bit of life in me again straight away. It’s amazing how quick it works. Mom wasn’t too great after the surgery – it was her first ever. She was quite sore, a bit iffy, but she’s good now.

“We have rooms back-to-back. We’ve been going for walks, going for breakfast together. It’s nice to spend that time together.”

Andrew – or Drew as he’s known to family and friends –  was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was just 16.

Berger’s Disease occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin builds up in the kidneys and results in inflammation, which over time, can hamper the kidneys’ ability to filter waste from the blood.

He managed the condition well for over a decade without too much impact on his life.

The son of classically trained chefs who studied together at Johnson and Wales College in Rhode Island, he grew up working in his parents’ American-style diner, trading since 1991.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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New River Corrib rescue boat to be deployed following ‘significant donation’



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The provision of a specialist rescue craft on the Corrib – upstream from the Weir – could now happen over the coming weeks or months following a ‘significant voluntary donation’ in the past few weeks, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Water safety issues on the Corrib were highlighted last month when up to 10 rowers had to be rescued after their two boats were sucked in by the currents towards the Weir.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the potentially catastrophic incident which occurred around midday on Saturday, January 14.

A specialist D Class lifeboat is now being sourced as part of a multi-agency approach to try and improve emergency rescue operations upstream from the Weir which would be accessible on a 24/7 basis.

While the cost would be in the region of €40,000 to €50,000, the overall figure would rise to around €80,000 to €90,000 when specialist personnel training costs were included.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune that he was aware of a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and get the Corrib rescue craft in place as soon as possible.

“I suppose we’re all trying to work together to ensure that a full-time rescue craft is provided on the Corrib and I believe that real progress is being made in this regard. This would be very good news for everyone,” said Mr Swan.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Three years on and ‘Changing Places’ facility on Salthill Promenade still not open



Mayor of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins at the site of the Changing Places facility, for which she had ring-fenced money. Work on the project only began last February, despite initial predictions that the facility would be open in January last year.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The wait for accessible, specialised toilet facilities at Ladies Beach in Salthill goes on – three years after they were ‘prioritised’ by city councillors.

Galway City Council has confirmed to the Tribune this week that the ‘Changing Places’ facility at Ladies Beach is still not open.

Construction of the facility began almost a year ago, at the end of February 2022.

The local authority confirmed that some €135,600 has been spent on the unit, which is not yet open to the public.

“The initial stages of construction went well, with the facility now largely in place. There are a number of outstanding snags to be completed before the facility can open.

“Galway City Council is liaising with the contractor to complete out these snags, with a view to opening the facility as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said.

The local authority did not elaborate on what ‘snags’ were delaying the project.

But in January, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, suggested that staffing issues were to blame for the delay.

(Photo: Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, at the site of the Changing Places facility, for which she had ring-fenced money).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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