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CITY TRIBUNE

Copeland moves West and duo are handed extensions

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Peter Claffey, seen here in action for Garbally College in the Connacht Senior Schools' Cup final against Sligo Grammar in 2014, has been handed a senior contract by Connacht.

It might be a quiet week on the pitch for Connacht, but it has been anything but off the pitch with the province dishing out five new contracts, including the addition of a new face for next season – and the province has moved closer to adding a new overseas player for 2018/19.

The big news this week was the capture of Robin Copeland from Munster, a move widely expected once the back-row forward announced he would be leaving Munster, and John Muldoon announced his retirement from Connacht.

The Wexford native (30) has made more than 60 appearances for Munster in his four seasons at the southern province, while he also lined out 53 times for Cardiff in his two seasons at the Welsh outfit.

Capped once by Ireland – against Georgia in 2014 – he joins Connacht on a two-year contract, and says he is looking forward to a new challenge in his career.

“I have been really impressed with what has been achieved in Connacht and I am determined to be part of further success there. The club is well known for the importance it places on community and I look forward to representing them when I join up with the squad next season,” he said.

The province has tied down Eoghan Masterson to a new two-year contract, which will bring him to the end of the 2019/20 season. The Portlaoise man has featured 22 times for Connacht this season, including captaining the province in their Challenge Cup game at home to Worcester in October, and he says he is delighted to have signed a contract extension.

“I’m absolutely delighted to extend my contract with Connacht. I am very proud of my connections with the West of Ireland and very grateful to have come through the academy system in Connacht< he said.

Matt Healy, who recently became Connacht’s record try scorer, has also been handed a contract extension, extending his stay until 2019/20 as well.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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