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CITY TRIBUNE

Claddagh joins City Central Ward in electoral shake-up

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The Claddagh has been annexed into the Galway City Central electoral area in an otherwise uneventful rejig of the city’s local election boundaries announced last week.

The Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee has moved the Claddagh from Galway City West to Galway City Central – the main ity recommendation in the report.

Galway City East remains unchanged apart from gaining around 100 votes in Lough Atalia Road from Galway City Central.

The recommendation to move Claddagh was made “in order to improve the balance of representation between each of the three six-seat local electoral areas”.

There will be 18 elected representatives following next year’s local election in May and each of the three city electoral areas will maintain six councillors. The big ‘winners’ in the carve-up are two sitting independents: Collette Connolly and Mike Cubbard.

Cllr Connolly was unsuccessful as a Labour Party candidate in City Central in 2014 but was co-opted onto the Council when her sister, Catherine Connolly, was elected to Dáil Éireann in the 2016 General Election.

Deputy Connolly was the undisputed Queen of the Claddagh in the 2014 locals, where she polled an extraordinary 40% of first preferences.

If Cllr Collette Connolly runs again – and it is likely she will – she will retain many of those Claddagh votes, as well as polling well in her native Shantalla. The rejig also gives a fillip to City Central poll-topper in 2014 Cllr Cubbard, whose family hails from Claddagh.

Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó Conchúir, who won a seat in Galway City West last time, will be most disappointed with the recommendation. After Catherine Connolly, the tallies for 2014 local elections show he was the second most popular candidate in Claddagh polling 14%, which was significant in him securing a seat. Labour’s Niall McNelis (10%) and Fianna Fáil’s Peter Keane (10.5%) also both polled well in Claddagh last time out.

Meanwhile, there are big changes to the electoral boundaries in County Galway with two additional areas created based on population changes.

Connemara has been split into two, with Barna, Furbo, Spiddal, Moycullen, Cois Fharraige, Leitir Mór and the Aran Islands comprising South Connemara with five councillors. North Connemara including Clifden and Oughterard has a larger territorial area, but smaller populations, and will have four councillors.

Clarinbridge has been taken out of Oranmore/Athenry area, which has taken in parts of Tuam Municipal District. Loughrea Municipal District has been split up, too, with a new area including Kinvara and Gort.

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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