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Connacht Tribune

County councillors warned they’ll “be on the dole”

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Galway County Councillors will have to ‘join the dole queues’, if they do not pass the 2018 Budget later this month.

The stark warning came from Ger Mullarkey, Director of Services for Finance at Galway County Council.

Mr Mullarkey outlined to Councillors that if they refuse to pass a budget, the Minister for Environment can dissolve the Council.

“If members choose not to accept a budget, the Minister can dissolve the Council and instruct the executive to pass a budget. You’ll all be on the Dole! I’m not being flippant. The Minister can dissolve the Council,” said Mr Mullarkey.

Responding to concerns of members, he again clarified that if Councillors do not pass a budget, the Minister can remove them from office, as per the relevant local authority act.

He was not aware of it having been done anywhere else previously but it was a possibility, he said.

Mr Mullarkey was speaking at the Oranmore/Athenry Municipal District budget meeting last week, where cuts of five per cent were proposed in a draft budget, which was rejected by members.

“Work on the statutory budget is ongoing at the moment however that process will not be completed until mid-November. What is known at this date is that in addition to the reduction in Local Property Tax, there will be reductions in other income headings and in addition there will be some increases in non-discretionary expenditure headings.

“This will be partially offset by an increase in rates buoyancy,” he said. In relation to the latter, Mr Mullarkey expects additional rates income from the Plaza on the M6 motorway and windfarms in the west of the county.

He is preparing the statutory budget in a vacuum, because the Department hasn’t yet indicated how much the Council can recoup for increased payroll costs in 2018.

“Were this recoupment not to materialise that would have an adverse impact on the final outcome and would have to be reflected in the statutory budget brought before the members at the end of November,” he said.

Before the Athenry/Oranmore budget meeting commenced, three other municipal districts voted to reject their annual budgets. Athenry/Oranmore members voted to reject its budget last Friday morning, and two more districts followed suit.

This means that all Municipal Districts have rejected their budgets, casting doubt on whether the main County Council budget will be supported. In October, members voted to reduce the LPT, resulting in €1.45 million less income.

Connacht Tribune

New chapter beckons for dilapidated old houses in Ballinasloe

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Cllr Dermot Connolly, SF leader Mary Lou Mc Donald, Galway/Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane, and Caoimhin Caulfield, Ballinasloe, at the Dunlo Hill regeneration project in Ballinasloe.

Plans to redevelop a row of empty terraced houses and an old famous bar will breathe new life into Ballinasloe.

Cathaoirleach of Ballinasloe Municipal District, Councillor Dermot Connolly (SF), said the Galway County Council has shown vision by buying seven terraced houses along Dunlo Hill, as well as the closed Dooley’s Bar on the corner of Dunlo Hill and Dunlo Street.

Local authority plans for the site will rejuvenate that street, and give an overall lift to the entire East County Galway town.

Liam Hanrahan, Director of Services for Housing, Economic, Rural and Community Development, confirmed to the Connacht Tribune that the local authority purchased seven two-storey dwellings, a three-storey over basement premises – formerly Dooley’s Pub – and another adjacent three storey building for a total of €390,000.

“The tender for the design team was run in conjunction with another infill development in Ballinasloe and that team is currently being appointed to bring forward the Part 8 planning for 12-15 units – a mix of one and two-bedroom units. We are examining what can be done with the pub unit, a protected premises, as a community hub or other town centre use,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Barn Owls are bouncing back in Galway

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The Barn Owl....returning in droves to Galway.

The Barn Owl is bouncing back all over the county – that’s the key finding of a recent survey which recorded an upsurge in the fortunes of this iconic farmland bird, now returning to parts of the county where they have been absent for decades.

The survey was carried out by BirdWatch Ireland in partnership with the Heritage Office of Galway County Council, and it’s great news for a bird that had become an increasingly rare sight around the county in recent decades.

Surveys show that Barn Owls were widespread in the east of the county in the late 1960s, but 40 years later their numbers had diminished, and their range had contracted significantly in east Galway and they were incredibly rare west of Lough Corrib.

However, the survey – carried out by BirdWatch Ireland in partnership with Galway County Council with the support of the National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund – provides cause for optimism and the first evidence that the fortunes of Barn Owls may be changing in east Galway.

The Barn Owl survey enlisted the help of farmers and the general public who reported information on Barn Owls across the county, and the survey also involved systematically checking a wide range of ruined structures, which are the typical nesting sites of Barn Owl.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Spatial jobs strategy is still stuck in first gear

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Accusation...Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn.

Commuters in Athenry and Oranmore are having to spend hours travelling to congested urban areas for work while policymakers renege on commitments to deliver industry locally.

That’s according to a local councillor who said the failure of the IDA to attract inward investment to Oranmore-Athenry Strategic Economic Corridor amounted to an ‘abandonment’ of local residents.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn said despite having a commitment in local and national plans to attract industry into what amounts to around 500 acres in Athenry and Oranmore, nothing had come of it.

“We are now entering into the second County Development Plan where we have this ‘Strategic Economic Corridor’, and it was in the National Planning Framework.

“They appear to have abandoned the area and while we’ve seen IDA and Enterprise Ireland get investment for places like Tuam and Parkmore, they appear to be only investing in existing businesses, while doing nothing to attract new industry and indigenous firms to this area,” blasted the Fianna Fáil councillor.

At a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District, Cllr Herterich Quinn secured the backing of local area councillors to write to the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar, seeking assurances that steps were being taken to bring jobs to the area.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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