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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Pony Clubs on the rise again after period in doldrums

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Members of East Galway Hunt Pony Club in Ballinasloe enjoying their training at the local Showgrounds

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

Ater a fall-off in numbers participating in pony clubs during the economic downturn, the sport has begun to grow again much to the delight of those involved, particularly those engaged in the plethora of pony clubs in Galway.

One of those is Ruth Waldron who is District Commissioner for the Ballinasloe-based East Galway Hunt Pony Club – Waldron explaining her ‘District Commissioner’ title, and role, is basically the equivalent of a club chairperson.

“You would be dealing with the same things such as Garda vetting, all the child protection courses and all the committee duties, so it is just the admin side to it,” she says.

It is a busy time for Waldron and Galway’s pony clubs at present. At the beginning of the month, they held their area finals – in which all the Galway clubs took part – while in late July the winners from that event will go on to compete at the Irish Pony Club Festival 2018.

Waldron explains there will be a large representation from Galway travelling to the national championship finals in Barnadown Equestrian Centre in County Wexford between Thursday, July 26, and Saturday, July 28, including a number of teams competing at U12 and U14 levels. Among the disciplines riders will be competing in are showjumping, dressage and mounted games.

For East Galway Hunt Pony Club’s part, Waldron is hopeful they can contribute to some Galway success. “Please God. We had a decent enough run of it last year. Our Robert Bailey team came third in the nationals and we are hoping we might do something again this year. But, sure, we will go and enjoy it anyway.”

Many would perceive being involved in a pony club is all about sho jumping but nothing could be further from the truth. Waldron outlines there is now such a variety, with their members investigating other avenues of the sport as they get older, such as dressage, eventing and the increasingly popular modern pentathlon.

“You might be familiar with Pentathlon as it is an Olympic sport,” continues Waldron. “There are five disciplines in that. There is a run, a shoot, swim, fencing and then they have the cross country on the ponies. In pony club now, we have a three-phase competition and that would be a run, swim and cross-country riding on the pony.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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