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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway’s new busking bylaws ‘outlaw’ champion Sean-nós dancer

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Galway City Tribune – One of Galway’s most-loved street performers fears the city will become a busking ghost town if the new bylaws, passed this week by the City Council, are not reversed.

All-Ireland champion Sean-nós dancer, Emma O’Sullivan says the new daytime restrictions on circle acts and a ban on amplification – which come into effect after this Summer – will drive buskers away from Galway. They will also deter international buskers from visiting, she warns.

The Connemara native wows audiences with daily Irish dancing sets outside Tigh Cóilí and her images and videos are regularly used in promotional material for Galway as a cultural destination. Her performances, in their current guise, will be banned under the new bylaws.

The use of battery-powered background music gives her act reliability. Ms O’Sullivan says hiring musicians – possibly five would be needed – to replace the backing track she uses now, is “not practicable and not viable”.

“Every time a child comes up and grabs my hand and has a dance with me – that’s audience participation. What I do has elements of dance, which is a circle act, which is banned until 6pm.”

Acts like Ms O’Sullivan’s popular dance set will be banned from the streets during the day: A) because she uses a backing track, which is amplified and B) because her performance sometimes includes audience participation, which is a ‘no-no’ under the ban on circle acts.

The issue divided opinion at a Council meeting this week – nine councillors voted in favour, nine voted against, and it was carried on the casting vote of the Mayor, Pearce Flannery (FG).

Mayor Flannery said he was a musician who had busked for five years; and he regularly accompanies his teenage son when he busks on the streets of Galway to earn pocket money. He said: “We’re not banning anything. We’re not outlawing anything.”
For extensive coverage of the bylaws discussion and how each councillor voted,, 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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