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Householder in tears after ESB fell her trees



An Oranmore woman was left in floods of tears after ESB staff removed twelve trees from her garden.

It was one of a number of fellings that has left residents in the city and county angry – and accusing ESB Networks of ‘butchering trees’ in Renmore and Mervue as well as Oranmore.

One woman traumatised by this, who wishes to remain anonymous, has spoken about her devastation over what she described as the ‘bloody mess’ that the ESB crew left her garden in.

ESB protocol states that if a tree is close to interfering with an electricity line, they will ‘trim the branches back a safe distance’.

However, they say, ‘if the trees are in an unstable condition and there is danger they could fall on the electricity line we will cut them down completely.’

The Oranmore woman was informed that ESB would be trimming trees in her local area.

But she said she had specifically stated that she didn’t want any work done on her trees because she was looking at getting them trimmed herself.

The woman did acknowledge that some of the trees in her garden were ‘bending slightly’ and did need work for safety reasons.

She said that nobody was present in her home when the trees in her garden were cut down.

“They ripped out twelve 25 feet trees,” she said, “I cried.”

She felt her garden had been left in a terrible condition after the removal of the trees.

She continuously contacted ESB about the issue but she said they eventually stopped answering her calls and emails altogether – ultimately claiming that she was harassing them.

They have since contacted her but she said that they still “refuse to accept any responsibility.”

The woman has contacted a solicitor, Citizens Advice and the Tree Council of Ireland.

Project Supervisor at ESB Networks Paddy Gorman, who was initially dealing with the complaints regarding the trees in Renmore, declined to comment on the issue but said he is working with the City Council on the situation.

Last month, Councillor Terry O’Flaherty demanded that ESB Networks return to Renmore Park and “finish the job properly”.

“They have left the area in an unholy mess – they really have to be seen to be believed.

“It’s simply not acceptable. Local people are very proud of their area and are very upset by this,” said Cllr O’Flaherty, adding that there is now a concern among locals that the condition of the trees could pose a safety risk.

“Some of these trees are now lop-sided, with all the weight on one side, and some people are worried that if we have another storm like we did last month, one of these trees could be blown over – and who will be responsible then if they cause damage to property, or worse injury?”

The City Council’s Senior Executive Parks Superintendent Stephen Walsh said he was on the ‘same wavelength’ as Cllr O’Flaherty on this issue. “I’ve made it clear that we’re not happy,” he said.


Six Shinners to contest Galway City local elections in 2024



Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Sinn Féin is planning to run two candidates in each city electoral ward in the next Local Elections in 2024.

Party number-crunchers nationally want to flood local election tickets with candidates to pick up extra seats and capitalise on anti-Government sentiment that is circulating among a cohort of voters.

The Shinners ran too few candidates in the last General Election. It meant they could not capitalise fully from a swing to the party during that campaign. They left seats behind them.

Now they’re planning to run a record number of candidates. In Galway, that would mean two candidates in each of the three areas, City West, City Central and City East.

The thinking is that they need to pick up additional seats in local authority elections, so that they have sufficient councillors to vote for Sinn Féin candidates in Seanad elections. More councillors equals more senators.

Sinn Féin is very much preparing for Government; and while the polls suggest it’s the most popular party (at 34% according to the latest in the Sunday Times last weekend) and would likely win most Dáil seats if an election was held tomorrow, it would still need numbers in the Seanad to pass legislation.

One problem faced by Sinn Féin is the party might find it difficult to source six credible candidates to contest local elections in Galway.

Another problem with running two, rather than one, in each ward in Galway City is that SF could split the vote and end up not winning any seats at all.

In 2019, Councillors Mairéad Farrell, Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir all lost their seats after dismal local elections. Farrell was since elected to the Dáil following her Lazarus comeback but the organisation locally is still wary of a fickle Galway electorate.

If Sinn Féin doesn’t win back those three seats lost in 2019, then the next locals would be deemed a massive failure.

Winning more than three seats on Galway City Council would be a success but are the Shinners willing to risk running two candidates in each ward, splitting the vote and ending up with egg on their faces?

Photo: Mairéad Farrell with fellow Sinn Féin members Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir (back left) after she was elected to the Dáil in 2020. All lost had their seats in Galway City Council in 2019 after dismal local elections.

This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway is seventh-worst city in Europe for car traffic congestion



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Car traffic congestion in Galway is quickly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, with commuters spending up to 94 hours caught on the city’s gridlocked arteries last year.

According to data compiled by INRIX, a world-leader in mobility data, Galway is the seventh-worst city in Europe for congestion, an 84% increase on its position in 2021.

The data shows that Galway places in the worst 50 cities in the world for congestion – taking 39th place, with Dublin the only other Irish city placing higher at Number 12.

While the figures show that car traffic has not fully returned to pre-Covid levels, the 2022 figures came within 13% of 2019 congestion rates.

This was despite vast numbers continuing to work from home last year, a worrying trend according to the local People Before Profit representative Adrian Curran.

In Cork, Limerick and Dublin, there had been a more lasting effect, showing decreases of 20%, 26% and 29% respectively, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Galway 2020 paid €110,000 for PR while cutting spends on arts events



From this week’s City Tribune – Galway 2020’s bank account statements for five months of 2020 reveal thousands of euro were spent on public relations firms and media advertising when its cultural programme was being cut and ‘revised’ during the upheaval at the onset of Covid-19.

The AIB statements date from April to September of 2020, when Covid-19 had seriously curtailed cultural activities of Galway 2020, the company behind the city and county’s European Capital of Culture. They show more than €110,000 was paid to Dublin-based public relations firm Q4 PR, in three separate payments in April, May and June of 2020.

Thousands more were paid to other public relations firms, radio stations and, to a lesser extent, newspapers.

In March of that year, Galway 2020 announced it was reviewing its programme of events due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Government after a global pandemic was declared, curtailing all events.

On April 7, it confirmed it was laying off staff and had ended its agreement with Helen Marriage and Artichoke which was providing creative direction.

Later that month, it issued statements to say it was exploring a ‘re-imagined’ programme of events to take place at the end of 2020 and 2021.

Although the amounts paid to media and PR companies other than Q4 PR are relatively small, compared with expenditure on other headings, the payments suggest the importance Galway 2020 placed on image and public perception around that time.

The bank statements were released to the Galway City Tribune following a protracted Freedom of Information request and after an appeal to the Office of Information Commissioner.

Many of the payees in the bank statements were redacted but the names of several PR and media organisations are listed as having been paid by Galway 2020.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article with details of the spending, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also coverage of this week’s rebranding and new vision of Galway 2020. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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