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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Docks developer vents ire at ‘serial objectors’

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The backer of the proposed €130m ‘urban quarter’ office and student accommodation projects at the Docks has hit out at “serial objectors” who have prevented development in Galway over the past decade.

A spokesperson for Edward Capital said “Galway City centre cannot be held to economic ransom by a small clique”, in a thinly-veiled criticism of environmental watchdog group An Taisce.

The spokesperson has welcomed An Bord Pleanala’s decision to hold an oral hearing on the six appeals against the €104m office element of the scheme. Appeals against the €25m accommodation element may yet be added to the oral hearing process.

The company – which is headed by developer Gerry Barrett – has said there have been numerous enquiries from foreign companies which are interested in Bonham Quay, including one which requires space for 400 workers.

The criticisms have been rejected by Derrick Hambleton, Chair of the Galway Branch of An Taisce, who is one of the appellants in a personal capacity, while the organisation also submitted a separate appeal.

“You can count on the one hand the number of appeals made by An Taisce over the past decade. We look at planning applications and make submissions, and in some cases, objections. There’s a difference,” said Mr Hambleton.

A spokesperson for Edward Capital told the Galway City Tribune: “Galway has experienced a lost decade, in which no development of consequence has occurred. Where development has happened it has been the subject of objections and appeals by the same small clique of individuals, who are serial in their approach and methodical in their opposition. They can afford such a luxury as they have no ‘skin in the game’.

“But can Galway afford their vision, where the status quo ante is maintained indefinitely and as a matter of course? As Galwegians we must ask ourselves can our city afford to lose the opportunity offered by Bonham Quay.”
To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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