Date Published: 11-May-2011
A right old battle has broken out in Galway Fine Gael between Councillors Padraig Conneely and Hildegarde Naughton over which of them should be the new Mayor in June. But the word in informed circles is that Minister Phil Hogan could be looking at long term plans of his own.
There is well-informed speculation in political circles this week that under possible local government reform changes, a move could be made by Environment Minister Hogan to have just one local authority for all of County Galway.
The basis for a possible merger, or replacement of the two local bodies, appears to be the line in the ‘Bord Snip’ report published some time ago, which suggests in relation to local authorities that the government should “reduce the 34 city and county councils to 22 local authorities”. Remember, this is a government which is looking about for reform and change and might not shirk from such action.
Little has been heard of the proposal by Colm McCarthy which is aimed at cost reduction at local authority level, but I understand that ‘it hasn’t gone away you know’ and is at least being discussed in high-powered circles as the government searches around for spending cuts.
One could see how there would certainly be savings in areas such as administration – for instance there might be only one planning section in an amalgamated council for the entire county.
Certainly, the amount of work in areas such as planning has tailed-off dramatically since the demise of the Celtic Tiger, with the hundreds of planning applications and one-time queues in the planning offices being replaced by a mere trickle in more recent times.
Under any such change, the Croke Park Agreement might mean job transfers, for instance, or prople moving from one department – or indeed authority – to another. Details on this are a long way from worked out and this is at a very preliminary discussion stage but it is being considered.
My instinct is that there would certainly be opposition at political level, though there is no official indication of what might happen in relation to the 15-member city council and the 30-member county council and what might replace them, or its make up and its numbers. Local areas jealously guard their input into decision-making at the best of times.
Could I venture to suggest that there would be a substantial body of opinion in the county which feels that, in such a situatiion, safeguards would have to be implemented to ensure that Galway City did not dominate the situation. I don’t think I would have to scratch the surface too deeply, for instance, to find a body of opinion which feels that Galway City has had a dominant role in the county for many years.
Key areas like Connemara might also feel that they have special planning considerations … of course, a lot would depend on the strength of any regional, local or other committees, or bodies, which, one feels, would have to be part of any restructuring.
Meanwhile, back to that row which has blown up in Fine Gael circles in Galway in recent weeks over who should be the next Mayor of Galway – the new term starts in June but there is a total standoff between Councillors Padraig Conneely and Hildegarde Naughton, with no agreement in sight.
Right now there are hushed and rather delicate discussions going on in Fine Gael circles in Galway City over the standoff between Conneely and Naughton. Both want the Mayoralty and Conneely has the backing of the sole other Fine Gael member of the City Council (Frank Fahey).
But the Hildegarde Naughton camp are standing firm on the basis that, they say, it has been understood in FG that the Mayoralty would go by ‘rotation,’ and that Padraig Conneely previously held the Mayor’s Chain, then she is entitled to the term which starts next June. There has been some tut-tutting in FG circles.
Conneely held the Mayoralty a few years ago with the highpoint being a visit to The White House on St Patrick’s Day, with photos taken with President Obama.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.