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Councillors to battle decision to privatise waste service



LOCAL councillors are on a direct collision course with the new City Manager, Brendan McGrath, over his ‘overnight’ proposals to privatise the Council’s refuse collection service, following a heated meeting of the City Council last night.

Councillors are now preparing to table what is known as a Section 140 Notice, under the Local Government Act, aimed at challenging the decision of the City Manager to axe the Council’s refuse collection service.

There was unanimous opposition last night to the proposal of the City Manager to drop the service – councillors expressed ‘anger and disappointment’ at the ‘one working day’s notice’ they were given of Mr. McGrath’s plan.

Earlier in the meeting, the City Manager, said that he could not comply with the first part of a motion – proposed by Cllr. Colette Connolly – to defer the move to privatise the City Council’s refuse collection service.

After that, Cllr. Connolly said that she would be submitting a Section 140 notice (requiring seven days notice and the signature of three councillors), challenging the power of the City Manager to over-rule the wishes of the elected representatives on the issue.

“I want to know why the City Manager cannot defer the decision. Why can’t he consult with the elected members and all the other interested parties on this issue,” said Cllr. Connolly.

However the City Manager remained insistent that he would be pressing ahead with the seeking of expressions of interest for the privatising of the household waste collection service to existing Council customers within the city area.

Mr. McGrath said that the decision would not result in any staff lay-offs with the employees of the refuse collection service redeployed to other jobs in the City Council.

He said that he wanted a seamless transition for existing customers with a level of waiver protection staying in place until the end of 2014.

Cllr. Declan McDonnell wanted to know what would happen after the transition period from October next to the end of the year and also what would be the fate of the people who had waivers after December, 2014.

Cllr. Ollie Crowe described the proposal as a ‘very dark day’ for the City Council. “It is completely unacceptable for councillors to receive notice of this last Friday evening and be asked to consider it tonight. The elected members are being treated with contempt,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots



The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years



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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Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City



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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