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Council refuse service losing hundreds of customers

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By Dara Bradley and Bernie Ní Fhlatharta

Hundreds of city householders have ‘jumped ship’ from the local authority refuse collection to join new private companies.

 

The local authority has been urged to meet the threat of competition from bin operators from the private sector ‘head-on’, as it was confirmed last night that 125 households a month are deserting Galway City Council’s bin service.

It has been confirmed that 500 City Council bin customers have ‘jumped ship’ and moved to cheaper private sector operators, since Dublin-based Greyhound joined City Bin in offering refuse collection to householders in the city.

The loss of about 500 customers in the four months between January and the end of April represents 4.5% of the total number of households that the Council provides a bin collection service for.

A stark warning was issued that if the ‘attrition rate’ or loss of 125 Council bin customers per month continues then the local authority will have to exit the residential bin collection service altogether.

At a special meeting of the Council, deputy city manager Ciarán Hayes, confirmed that the City Council had lost 500 residential bin customers since Greyhound entered the market in Galway in January. That many deserted the Council’s service despite the introduction of a new cheaper rate – there is a new pay by weight rate whereby households pay no more than €229 per annum. The Council still provides a service to 12,000 households but fears were expressed that it’s dominance is being eroded by cheaper operators.

He confirmed the figure following a query from City Councillor Ollie Crowe (FF), who said it is worrying that on average four customers were lost every day for the past four months.

His brother, Mike Crowe, said if people continue to leave then Galway City Council will, in a couple of years’ time, be forced to cease offering a residential collection service. “If that happens the private operators will charge more and it will be worse for the customers in the long-run,” he said.

Cllr Crowe said the Council was contributing to the trend because it was offering a service that was “an absolute disgrace”. He didn’t elaborate but said “we’ve got to get our act together” in relation to the refuse service offered by the city.

Mr Hayes acknowledged there was ‘some difficulties’ and these related to staff on sick leave but that it would be rectified.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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

Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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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