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Council meetings to return to City Hall after four years


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Council meetings to return to City Hall after four years Council meetings to return to City Hall after four years

Monthly meetings of Galway City Council will return to the purpose-built chamber at City Hall in November – the first full meeting to be held there in almost four years.

At a local authority meeting last week, Mayor of Galway Eddie Hoare (FG) received unanimous backing from colleagues for his proposal to return City Council meetings to College Road.

Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) said he first raised the issue of returning to City Hall in an article in the Galway City Tribune last May.

“Seventeen months later we’re still talking about it. It’s time we got back to City Hall,” he said.

Cllr Cheevers said the cost of holding meetings outside of the chamber was unnecessary expenditure, and the public couldn’t understand why the Council hadn’t yet gone back.

Cllr Terry O’ Flaherty (Ind) said Galway City Council was the only local authority in the country that had not returned to their chamber since Covid-19.

She said only seven councillors were present in-person at the meeting on Monday, with the remainder attending online.

Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) noted the Joint Policing Committee and Strategic Policy Committee meetings had already returned to the chamber and there was no reason why full meetings shouldn’t return also.

Interim Chief Executive Patricia Philbin said there was some issue with the technology in the chamber but that the audio visual service would be ready for November.

Former Chief Executive Brendan McGrath, in his last Council meeting in office in July, urged councillors not to return to the chamber, after a report commissioned by the local authority indicated that the ventilation system was not adequate.

These health and safety fears have since been allayed, however, with minor works.

It emerged earlier this year that the City Council had over €180,000 on meeting outside the chamber since February 2020.

The costs included €155,698 on “audio visual” technology to facilitate online Zoom meetings and hybrid meetings at Leisureland and various private hotels in 2020-2023.

Councillors had discussed the matter at a Corporate Policy Group meeting in September and had agreed to return to the chamber in October. At the October meeting this week in the Connacht Hotel, it was agreed to return to City Hall in November.

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