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Galway credit unions take on the banks

Declan Tierney

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Galway’s two biggest credit unions are considering entering the very competitive mortgage market – a move which would send shock waves through the main banks and lending institutions.

St Jarlath’s CU in Tuam and St Anthony’s and Claddagh launched a joint promotion of their education loans in Galway city last week . . . but admitted this could all be leading to a much bigger picture.

St Jarlath’s recently merged with Mountbellew-Moylough Credit Union as the Tuam-based financial house spread its wings – but its manager admitted it now it has even bigger ambitions.

Mick Culkeen told The Connacht Tribune that they were very excited to be associated with St Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union for the education initiative that will benefit third level students and masters students.

“We are the two biggest credit unions in the county and we are starting out with education loans in the hope of this leading to something much bigger in the financial market.

“It will lead to better efficiency and better expertise when it comes to our members applying for loans and we intend to be more competitive than the banking institutions,” Mr Culkeen added.

They expect to be offering loans at 5.5%   in most of the mainstream banks they are 2% more expensive.

While both credit unions are currently talking to students about educational loans, their eye is definitely on a much bigger picture and are seriously contemplating offering a mortgage product to their members.

“We are both very good at what we do. So we are willing to explore further avenues and we will be doing so over the course of the coming months,” added Mick Culkeen.

The big one is the provision of mortgages and their financial rivals are now fearful that the credit unions will be in a position to give their customers a much more competitive product and this could well shake up the market locally.

They are also looking at extending their car loan facility along with providing an out-of-hours service.

“Gone are the days when customers will have to wait days for a decision on loans as it will be given to them on the spot. It is just going to be more streamlined,” Mr. Culkeen added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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