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Divers track down eel that took a chunk out of Galwayman’s face

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Diving enthusiasts in Connemara have managed to track down the huge conger eel which took a huge chunk out of a city businessman’s face at 25 metres’ depth last month.

A team of divers revisited the site, near Killary, where Jimmy Griffin had his brush with death and found the giant fish swimming in open water.

The divers, who wore extra protection while examining the beast, worked out that the eel had unusually bad eyesight – which may have explained why it was swimming in the open sea.

Normally, conger eels spend their days hiding behind rocks or in holes, and only come out at night to hunt for food, which is why Jimmy’s encounter with the six foot creature was so unusual last month.

A team of plastic surgeons at University Hospital Galway, led by consultant Padraig Regan, have rebuilt the left side of Jimmy’s face and the award-winning baker has revelled in his new-found celebrity status since last week’s Galway City Tribune story went ‘viral’ all over the world.

Jimmy, the owner of Griffin’s Bakery on Shop Street, has come across reports on the story as far away as Australia and Vietnam. He even did ‘live’ interviews for Canadian and Spanish radio stations after news of his encounter spread throughout the globe.

His cool reaction after finding that air bubbles were coming out the side of his mouth, at depth, seems to have captured the imagination of people in other countries.

Jimmy even took a phone call from a friend, a fellow baker, who heard an interview with him on a radio station while driving to work in San Francisco last weekend.

“I am working in the San Francisco area and was driving and listening to the radio when the all of sudden they started interviewing you regarding your eel attack,” said his friend.

“Oh my gosh, hearing you speak about it was absolutely unreal. You are a hero to keep it all together and keeping your wits during such an ordeal. You absolutely have to know God was looking out for you. You are an inspiration.”

Jimmy said his phone started hopping as soon as the Galway City Tribune appeared on the streets last Friday and he was overwhelmed by all the good luck messages he has received over the past week.

“I think it’s every person’s deepest fear, being eaten alive by a sea creature. I do think it’s that primeval fear we have of being eaten alive by something, because people are captured by that image of something so big attached to me, eating me, and you throw in the fact that it was 25 metres under the water into the mix. It becomes even more terrifying,” he said this week.

 

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

CITY TRIBUNE

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

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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