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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Sessions celebrates harmonica

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Actor and musician Patrick Bergin who will launch this year’s Galway Sessions.

Actor and harmonica player Patrick Bergin will launch the Galway Sessions Festival programme for 2018 in the City’s Crane Bar this Friday evening.

The Festival, which will run from June 13 to  17, will focus on the harmonica, known in the Irish tradition as ‘The Tin Sandwich’.

Its versatility has allowed it to adapt to a wide range of music genres, including roots, folk, jazz, blues and traditional, according to Festival director, Mick Crehan. The harmonica is “a deceptively simple looking but quite complicated and powerful instrument”, said Mick, and it has experienced a strong revival in the past decade with more people than ever playing it.

“That’s due mainly to the efforts of great practitioners such as the Murphy Brothers from Wexford, Carlow’s Mick Kinsella and one of Ireland’s greatest imports, Rick Epping from the USA. We’re proud to present these greats and many more wonderful artists in what promises to be a memorable week of music, song and dance,” said Mick of the Galway Sessions.

Highlights will see TG4 Musician of the Year and de Dannan co-founder, fiddle player Frankie Gavin, join forces with Rick Epping on harmonica and concertina for a concert the Róisín Dubh. Rick is a former member of Pumpkinhead, one of pioneering folk groups of the 1970s.

Another legend, the Planxty and Patrick Street star Andy Irvine, will bring his unique voice and talent to the Róisín too. A more contemporary sound will be provided by The Spook of the 13th Lock and Landless, at the same venue.

A series of afternoon and evening recitals will take place in the King’s Head and St Nicholas Collegiate Church, and there’ll be night-time gigs in the Crane Bar, including the launch of Up She Flew, a new album by flautist and singer Stephie Geremia. There will also be daily gatherings at Tigh Chóilí, Taaffes and Tigh Neachtain.

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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