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Concern over rise in crime committed by offenders on bail

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A Galway TD has expressed concern at a sharp rise in the number of crimes being committed by offenders out on bail.

Independent Deputy Noel Grealish was speaking in the Dáil, where he pointed to an eleven per cent increase in the incidence of crimes where the suspected culprit had been on bail last year.

And latest figures he received from the Central Statistics Office for the first quarter of this year show the trend continuing, with more than 6,000 crimes committed by criminals out on bail.

“Over the past ten years, just over a quarter of a million crimes have been committed in this country by people while they were out on bail. A total of 250,149 to be exact,” Deputy Grealish told the Dáil when he raised the issue during Leaders’ Questions.

“These, Taoiseach, included murderers, rapists, robbers and burglars who have wreaked havoc and brought terror to our society.

“From 2006 to 2015, people on bail were responsible for 89 murders, 237 serious sexual offences, more than 50,000 thefts and the same number of public order offences, and more than 18,000 burglaries.”

The Galway West TD warned that the situation was getting worse, with figures from the Central Statistics Office showing that last year, almost 26,000 such offences were committed, a disturbing increase of eleven per cent on the previous year.

“That is the equivalent of 500 crimes a week being carried out in Ireland by people who have already been charged with a criminal offence for which they are awaiting their day in court.

“These are people apprehended by the Gardaí, brought in, charged, and then released while a file is sent to the DPP. That file could be with the DPP for months, and in the meantime, these people are reoffending

“This is very, very frustrating for the Garda Síochána and it is exceptionally upsetting for victims of the crime, who can see the criminal walking down their street, making them feel intimidated and in fear.”

Deputy Grealish asked was it not time that the bail laws were radically reformed and these people put behind bars immediately, “or is this being deliberately done because we don’t have the room within our prisons to put these vicious criminals away? I’m not talking about people carrying out petty crimes here, but murderers, rapists, vicious attackers and the like.”

Figures for the first quarter of 2016 show “an equally depressing picture”, with a total of 6,049 crimes committed where the suspected offender was on bail for other offences.

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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