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Galway water meters to be installed in coming days

Dara Bradley

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The water charges crux reaches boiling point in Galway in the coming days as meter installation gets underway in the county against a backdrop of mass protest, boycotting of bills and resistance to meters.

Irish Water, the public utility, has confirmed the roll-out of its water meter installation programme across County Galway has commenced.

Irish Water says it expects to install some 30,000 meters across County Galway.

It has confirmed it is beginning its installation programme in South Galway, starting in Kinvara and Portumna and moving from there across the rest of the county. Irish Water said metering will commence in the city this year but it declined to say when.

In a statement to the Connacht Tribune, Irish Water said: “As part of the current phase of the national metering programme water meters are being installed outside domestic residences on publicly-accessible land. These meters are being installed in line with the survey results as carried out by each local authority, and in compliance with the Water Services Acts. We estimate that there in the region of 30,000 properties suitable for metering. Metering will commence in the Kinvara and Portumna areas and moving from there through the county. Metering in Galway City is not expected to commence until later this year.”

The Galway Right2Water campaign has been leaflet-dropping in city estates over the past few days in attempt to drum up support for Saturday’s protest.

Government has been forced to make concessions on water charges, including a €100 rebate, but the We Won’t Pay campaign say the concessions don’t go far enough.

They are fighting for abolition of the charges.

A spokesperson said: “All the concessions that have been made can be over turned in the future and are therefore meaningless. We need to maintain the pressure on the Government and get these charges abolished completely.”

The group argues that no fines or penalties are due to be issued to non payers for up to 15 months after the first bill is due, and so “the impetus is with the people to withhold payment and keep the pressure on the Government and Irish Water”.

Tomorrow (Monday, February 2) at 8pm, the We Won’t Pay campaign is hosting a public meeting in the Pillo Hotel on the Headford Road. Anti-Austerity Alliance TDs Paul Murphy and Joe Higgins will discuss building mass non-payment of the charges.

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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