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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Do as I say, not as I do’ damages Covid-19 unity

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Cllr Frank Fahy sent us this photo of a sanitiser station outside City Hall last week. Maybe the antics of their country cousins around landscaping drove them to drink.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

In this column last week, we questioned city councillors’ leadership qualities during lockdown.

Heading over to the Westside for a photo opportunity at the opening of new social housing – welcome and all as that project is – was hardly an ‘essential journey’.

The homes were built, the families could have moved in, and the fanfare of handing the keys over should have waited until the lockdown restrictions had eased.

The ‘stay at home’ public health advice that so many of them preached for weeks on social media, didn’t appear to apply to elected members of Galway City Council.

Well, they weren’t the only ones preaching, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. Their country cousins were at it too.

Municipal District meetings for different parts of County Galway resumed last week. At the beginning of one such meeting at County Hall, two county councillors were spotted shaking hands. Seriously, shaking hands during a pandemic and national health emergency?

The layout of the Chamber and seating arrangements were such that two-metre distancing could be maintained, and hand sanitiser was provided. But those precautions aren’t much good if two councillors insist on shaking hands as if the coronavirus hasn’t killed hundreds of people in Ireland.

During the Tuam Municipal District meeting last Thursday, one senior official, in response to queries, said that landscaping was not considered an ‘essential’ service under the then Government guidelines. That’s why, he said, that landscaping had not taken place at the new social housing development at Gilmartin Road in Tuam, which had become overgrown. Once restrictions were lifted – this week – it would be included on a list of works the County Council’s outdoor staff would get to.

And he said it with a straight face; and councillors accepted it. Nobody pointed out that, on the way into that meeting, and on the way out, workers with hedge trimmers and leaf blowers were busy working outside at Prospect Hill.

So here we had an official saying landscaping was not an essential service, and couldn’t be done until lockdown restrictions were lifted, but as he spoke those words, outside of the building, was a gang of gardeners trimming hedges and sprucing up shrubbery at County Hall. Pat Shortt couldn’t make it up for Killinaskully!
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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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