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Free parking plan comes off the rails

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Paid-for parking in county towns needs to be reviewed and at least some free time allowed say traders

Any attempts to provide a period of free parking in the county’s towns in an effort to boost trade have been scuppered after members of Galway County Council failed to reach agreement on the matter.

A two hour debate often bordered on the bizarre as several different councillors wanted different free parking arrangements to be put in place on a trial basis but in the end it was agreed that the status quo remains.

It has come up at several meetings of Galway County Council over the past year with demands that a period of free town centre parking be provided for shoppers in an effort to boost business for the local traders.

But there was a major disagreement on when the period of free parking should apply. Some councillors wanted it between 9am and 10am in the morning while others were in favour of an hour long period of free parking that could be taken at any time during the day – however, this was said to be very difficult to police.

Council officials had warned that any period of free parking would be costly and the revenue would have to come out of the roads budget – this sent ‘the wind up’ several councillors who wanted the roads budget maintained.

A committee was established to come back with a recommendation and Cllr Mogie Maher from Loughrea came back with four possible options – one hour in the morning, two free hours in the morning, a floating one hour period and a floating two hour period.

The latter two hour floating free parking period would cost the Council almost 435,000 in lost revenue and that this would be stripped from the roads budget.

Cllr Maher proposed that a one hour morning free parking period be applied on a trial basis for six months and that the situation be reviewed after that.

It resulted in heated exchanges between councillors with Cllr Maher’s Fine Gael colleague Cllr Michael Finnerty producing a picture of a street in Ballinasloe one morning and it showed that there were no cars around.

Cllr Finnerty said that the paid parking were boosting the edge of town big retailers who provided free car parks while the main ratepayers were struggling. “Our county towns are dying and we are doing nothing to address the situation.

There was then controversy when it was revealed that Clifden’s parking charges do not apply until 11am in the morning. Cllr Eileen Mannion said that this had been the case since parking charges in the town applied and it was passed by members of Galway County Council.

This prompted Cllr Donagh Killilea to propose a two hour period of free parking which, he said, would mean that there would be consistency between all of the towns in the county.

But Fianna Fail’s Cllr Malachy Noone wanted each of the five Municipal Councils in the county to rule on their own parking fees and arrangements. He was told by Chief Executive Kevin Kelly that any free parking arrangements had to be passed at a full Council meeting. This sparked a further row.

In the end Cllr Mogie Maher withdrew his original proposal of one hour free parking and instead proposed that the current situation remain the same. This was agreed on a vote of 21 for and nine against.

The traditional free parking arrangements in the run up to Christmas will remain.

Connacht Tribune

Over half of west’s adults have no will

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Almost six out of every ten people in the west do not have a will – and that’s in line with the national average of 59%.

And according to the Royal London’s “Let’s Talk About Death” survey, one-third of the population say they’ve been meaning to, but just haven’t gotten around to it.

The survey was undertaken as part of a campaign launched by Royal London, which aims to tackle the taboo surrounding death to encourage a vital dialogue on bereavement, to help people enjoy the time they have with those they love and to honour those lost.

Padraic Benson, Royal London’s Broker Consultant for Galway, acknowledged that it was understandable why many people are reluctant to discuss the topic of death and dying.

But he added: “this survey indicates that it’s hampering the necessary provisions to be made. While men appear to be slightly more prepared than their female counterparts, with 48% saying they have a will compared with just 34% of women, it still leaves over half the population unprepared.”

But the pandemic has helped to focus the minds of many, he said.

“Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 254,870 recorded cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, with 10,511 confirmed cases in Galway alone.  And when asked, 55% of people surveyed said Covid-19 had made them realise how important it is to have a will in place,” he revealed.

“While the survey results do show that most people have a sense of when they should make a will, it seems the majority aren’t following through with the necessary actions. Many people have the best of intentions, with 34% saying they’ve been meaning to get around to it. Others believe they are too young (25%) and many more, 23%, have just never thought about it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Council has no cash for tourism sector dig-out

Declan Tierney

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Cllr Evelyn Parsons

Hopes of a post-Covid helping hand for tourism interests in East Galway has been dashed by the local authority which said that any such leg-up could only be part of the budgetary process for later in the year.

The matter was raised by Cllr Evelyn Parsons at a recent meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council when she said that the east of the county needed to reap the economic benefits from the lifting of restrictions.

Cllr Parsons asked that a presentation be made to area Council members with a specific focus on works to develop, enhance and stimulate tourism growth for the area.

The independent councillor proposed that Director of Services Alan Farrell outline details of the various outdoor spaces and potential business opportunities to allow for the successful reopening of businesses, outdoor dining, drinking, retail, hospitality and outdoor entertainment as soon as possible.

Cllr Parsons also wants Director of Services Liam Hanrahan to consider short term and immediate measures with regards to sanitary and public needs should as portaloos, bins, benches, Covid-19 signage as well as outdoor power points.

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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Connacht Tribune

Transport key to success for west

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Ibec’s Helen Leahy....recommendations.

A world-class transport infrastructure is critical to the west achieving its economic potential, according to the umbrella group for the Irish business sector.

Ibec has again reiterated its shopping list for the West region, which it outlined in its recent NDP submission.

It wants to see the state step up to progress a host of key road projects – including the N6 Galway City Ring Road, and the Atlantic Economic Corridor from Galway northwards by completing the M17 Tuam to Sligo and N15 Sligo to Letterkenny.

It has also called for the implementation of the Galway Transport Strategy to deliver vital public transport across metropolitan Galway – and investment in future Port of Galway developments and expansion, including the facilitation of offshore renewable energy projects.

And in more general terms, across the region, Ibec has called for an increase capital investment in the further and higher education sector and establish a Technological University in the region, and the acceleration of the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan and ensure a supportive regulatory environment for the successful roll-out of 5G.

The body also wants to see town centres revitalized, to ensure their future viability and underpin recovery across the region.

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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