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CITY TRIBUNE

Gardaí put brakes on speeding motorists

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A Garda crackdown on speeding along the Kingston Road resulted in 100 fines being issued to motorists.

Meanwhile, a massive percentage increase in the number of fines issued to cyclists who break the law – up by 186% – has been welcomed by some city councillors.

The total number of Fixed Charge Penalty Notices (FCPN) issued to motorists speeding in the city, from January to the end of November 2019, was 2,481.

This was an increase of 10% on the same period the previous year, or an additional 230 speeding fines.

The figures were contained in the local Garda crime report, presented to a Galway City Joint Policing Committee meeting by Chief Superintendent Tom Curley.

In a separate response to a written question submitted by JPC chairman, Councillor Niall McNelis – about Gardaí helping to police 30km/h zones in city estates – Chief Supt Curley said: “Gardaí continually monitor 30km/h zones in relation to speed and other offences. For example, the Kingston Road area, where a number of operations were conducted recently and 100 people were issued with FCPN.”

There were no fatal accidents on city roads in the first 11 months of 2019, and accidents causing serious injury were down by 33% from 12 to 18.

Meanwhile, Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) has welcomed a 186% increase in the number of FCPN issued for pedal cyclists. Some 63 cyclists were issued with fines in the 11 months to the end of November, 41 more than the corresponding period the previous year.

Offences for no insurance were down 31% to 157 incidents, and there were 1,505 parking offences between January and November, a reduction of 18%.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) welcomed an increase of 26% in the number of Mandatory Intoxication Tests (MIT) checkpoints but said that there were too many drink driving offences, which stood at 141 incidents (down 9%).

Elsewhere, begging offences were down by 66% to 14 detections. This reduction was a matter of concern to a number of JPC members, who said begging continues to be a problem. Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said a number of beggars were purporting to be homeless but were not homeless at all – it was giving off a bad image of the city, he said. Cllr Fahy said some beggars were operating at 3am or 4am after nightclubs close.

Chief Supt Curley said he had to prioritise resources. If there are 3,000 people congregating at Eyre Square after a night out, he would allocate Gardaí to policing that potential Public Order situation.

Begging was not being ignored, and it was being dealt with – including on the Headford Road – but he could not have a Garda on every street corner.

Public order offences were up by 12 incidents (2%) to 550; assaults causing harm were down 1% to 90; and minor assaults were up 14% to 296 incidents.

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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