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CITY TRIBUNE

Council pledge to sort pitch lighting

Francis Farragher

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Children from Knocknacarra Football Club at the protest at City Hall regarding the provision of lights for the astro pitch at Cappagh Park. Photos: BRIAN HARDING.

THERE is no chance of temporary floodlights being erected at the City Council’s all-weather pitch at Cappagh Park over the coming weeks but the local authority has committed to putting permanent lights in place there by next September.

That was the clear message relayed to councillors at Monday’s City Council meeting who had pleaded with officials to do whatever they could to put a temporary lighting solution in place between now and the end of March.

Hundreds of children and parents from the Knocknacarra area protested outside City Hall before last Monday’s meeting, chanting: ‘we want our lights back’, as councillors entered the Council chamber.

Last October, the local Knocknacarra FC soccer club erected temporary lighting at the Cappagh Road pitch but removed them in late November on instruction from the City Council, based on health and safety, insurance and environmental issues.

In a detailed seven-page report to councillors, City Council Acting Director of Services, Dermot Mahon, said that Knocknacarra FC were advised numerous times that lighting at Cappagh Park required planning permission.

One of the reasons, Mr Mahon outlined, was that the Cappagh Park pitch was located adjacent to an SAC (a Special Area of Conservation) which needed to comply with EU environmental directives [The Habitats Directive].

One of the issues involved in this, according to Mr Mahon’s report, is the presence of bats in the woodlands at Cappagh, which are a protected species under EU directives.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercedes on track to fulfil promise to drive down fuel figures

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The Mercedes Benz CLA Shooting Brake.

This week’s test car has become this month’s test car because most car distributors have shut up shop as per Government orders and I’m left with the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake until everything is up and running again.

For this I’m extremely grateful to Motor Distributors Ltd (MDL) – Mercedes distributors in Ireland – for allowing me to hold on to this eye-catching car.

Those with an eye for style will understand why Mercedes-Benz has produced the CLA Shooting Brake. Those with a practical persuasion might ridicule it, but a closer look might just challenge that position.

You see, some of the dimensions give a lie to any thoughts of this car being too sleek and too low to be a proper estate. It actually has more space in the boot than their own C-Class estate, and more headroom than the C-Class coupe.

As for the car itself, apart from the ultra-stylish, sleek exterior and the classy interior, this car, like many other cars in the Mercedes brochure, has one outstanding highlight: astonishing fuel consumption.

About six years ago, Mercedes bosses told us that they were on a mission to drive down fuel figures and to clean up their diesel engines beyond anything that was around back then. Right now, they are well into that target and this car is testament to that.

So far I have travelled around 500 kilometres, with 680 kilometres still left in the tank. My current rate of consumption is reading at 4.3L/100km which has been achieved without breaking any limits and driving, for the most part, in ECO or Comfort mode.

CO2 emissions are calculated at 108g/km which gives you an annual road tax bill of €190. These are impressive figures and imply that diesel can still have a significant role to play in the future of motoring.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

New Covid-19 assessment clinic at Merlin Park

Enda Cunningham

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The HSE is opening a new assessment clinic at Merlin Park Hospital this week for Covid-19 patients who are showing mild symptoms.

The Community Assessment Hub is for patients who are confirmed Covid-19 positive and who require face-to-face clinical assessment.

Appointments for the seven day service (8am-8pm) are through GP referral only and walk-ins are not permitted.

A HSE spokesperson said the idea behind the hub is to keep mildly symptomatic patients away from the acute hospital system.

“The aim of the hubs is to divert mildly symptomatic patients who require medical assessment away from the acute hospital system by providing a facility in the community where patients can be seen, and clinically assessed by a team of nurses, doctors and physiotherapists,” the spokesperson said.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Redundancies are not on the cards for Galway City Council workers

Dara Bradley

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Redundancies at Galway City Council as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have been ruled out by Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.

The local authority has imposed a temporary ban on recruitment, but is not planning to lay off any of its 520-strong workforce.

Mr McGrath said that down the road, if this crisis continues for a prolonged period, replacing staff who retire may not be possible. But for now, Council workers are ‘flat out’ maintaining essential services across a range of departments.

“No, we’re not planning that (lay offs). We will endeavour to keep our workforce fully employed. We’ve built up our team since the recession, a lot of our team and the additional bodies we’ve taken on are related to specific projects, for which there was various forms of grant aid available so I think we’d be confident that we will try to be able to retain the entire staff resource,” he said.

Nearly 150 members of staff have been set up to work from home, thanks to the ICT Department at City Hall.

Outdoor staff, and other office staff who must be at City Hall, are observing social distancing guidelines. Offices that used to be packed with people now have one or two workers, spaced in accordance with the guidelines.

As with the private sector, there have been changes to the ‘normal’ working week for Council staff, and some have been redeployed to other areas.

The Council has a statutory obligation to maintain essential services.

“Essential services are anything to do with homelessness; urgent housing repairs like plumbing and electrical; work on houses that were nearly complete to bring back into beneficial use and to bring back into use for self-isolation; public lighting is essential; burst water mains; maintaining traffic lights for road safety; and anything to do with water supply and waste water and treating effluent,” said Mr McGrath.

Street cleaning is classed as ‘necessary but not absolutely essential’, and is a slightly lower category than ‘essential services’.

The rota for street cleaning has been cut back to a number of times a week rather than every day, and this reflects the quieter streets due to people staying at home.

The city’s burial grounds are closed, but graves still need to be opened, and the Planning Department continues to operate.

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