Galway Chamber of Commerce has pleaded with the Finance Minister to introduce support measures for the retail sector, claiming it is a key ingredient in attracting tourists to the region.
In a pre-Budget submission, the Chamber called for a series of changes, including the reduction of the standard rate of VAT to 18% (on a phased basis from 23%), a commitment to the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector, a fairer commercial rates system and for black marketeers to be tackled.
Michael Coyle, Chief Executive of Galway Chamber said: “The domestic economy, particularly the retail and related services sectors have borne the brunt of the effects of the austerity programme that has been implemented, of necessity, by Government over the last five years.
“Galway Chamber believes it is now time to introduce measures that will help these sectors recover. Consumer confidence must be restored and consuming spending must be stimulated in order to protect that tens of thousands of jobs at risk in these sectors.
“Galway’s retail sector is a key ingredient in its attractiveness as a tourist destination – it must be supported in the forthcoming Budget,” said Mr Coyle.
The proposals include a rates reduction for companies located within town and city centres, “which provide much needed employment and contribute to the quality of life in these areas, a reduced VAT rate on housing repair, maintenance and improvement which would stimulate goods demand and support so more retailers have an online presence”. They would also want local authorities to be given flexibility over rates to encourage an attractive retail mix in town centres.
The Chamber has also called for a reduced VAT rate on housing repair, maintenance and improvement, which they believe would stimulate goods demand.
Other proposals include:
- support more retailers to have an online presence
- challenge black market activity
- develop car parking policies sensitive to retailers needs
Other elements of the submission from the Chamber include: public sector cost savings/reform, infrastructure, pensions, education, taxation, stimuli for Small and Medium Enterprises, and the subject ‘Maintaining Ireland as an Attractive Area for Investment’.
Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.
It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.
General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.
She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.
Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.
Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.
Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.
She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.
Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!
Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.
Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.
Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.
The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.
Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.
“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.
*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune
Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison
A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.
Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.
The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.
A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.
At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.
They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.
Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.
The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.