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Drivers hit by insurance hikes for one penalty point



Motorists who get caught speeding are being hit on the treble – by penalty points, fines and a hike in car insurance premiums.

Research has shown that motorists living in Galway can be hit by an increase of up to €150 on their insurance for having a single penalty point on their licence.

One motorist, who received three points with a speeding fine in the post, told the Galway City Tribune his insurance jumped by €120 when it came up for renewal.

“I was always under the assumption that points did not affect premiums until you had in excess of four. I now have three on my licence, which I declared when my insurance was up for renewal the following month.

“I was told over the phone that it would affect my renewal quote, and it increased by €119. It was a major shock. I accept I broke the law and shouldn’t have been doing 119km/h on the Athlone bypass [where the limit steps down to 100km/h], on a motorway journey from Galway to Dublin but this was a nasty sting in the tail after paying the fine and getting the points,” he said.

Meanwhile, Galway West TD Noel Grealish has claimed that measures which should be making our roads safer are instead being used to bring in extra cash for the Government and the insurance companies.

Deputy Grealish said that the activities of the GoSafe speed detecting vans contributed nothing to safety and where they positioned themselves was like ‘shooting fish in a barrel’.

“I am accusing the Government of using the GoSafe vans as just another form of revenue raising, and they are not being used to slow down traffic in the rural countryside where there are people speeding at a dangerous rate sometimes.

“They are being used to catch people coming off motorways or other major roads where there is a reduced speed limit and they are catching them just as they are starting to reduce speed, though not quickly enough,” he said.

The GoSafe Consortium secured the €80m Garda Siochana contract to operate the network of vans in 2009 and their accounts for 2012 showed an operating profit of €50,000 per week.

And the other big winners from the speed traps were the insurance companies, he said.

“Research I’ve done showed that while some insurance companies did not penalise drivers with just a few penalty points on their licences, others hiked up their premiums for even a single penalty point.

“Some companies allow drivers to have four penalty points on their licence before they increase their insurance premium at the next renewal.

“But one particular multi-national insurance company is charging as much as €150 extra if you have just one penalty point.

“And with the increasing number of offences that now bring penalty points, it is very easy for even a usually careful driver to notch up a point or two.”

Deputy Grealish said that the research involved renewing cover online for an experienced Galway driver with a ten-year-old car.

Two of the major companies surveyed imposed no increase in premium for a driver with up to four points, another increased the premium by €50 for two penalty points and by €66 for four points, while another required phone contact for renewals with penalty points.

But one company applied an additional premium of €150.22 if the driver had one or two penalty points, and an additional €309.87 for a driver with three or four penalty points.


Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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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Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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