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Connacht Tribune

Hundreds of Galway rental homes fail to meet minimum standards

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Twelve hundred private rental properties in Galway City and County inspected by two councils last year were not compliant with minimum standards set for landlords.

The National Oversight Audit Committee (Noac) said that 100% of rental homes inspected by Galway City Council in 2020 were deemed to be non-complaint with rental property regulations. This included 387 rental properties in the city.

The rate of non-compliance in Galway County Council’s jurisdiction was 99.5%, which included 859 rental properties that did not meet standards.

As well as Galway City, 100% of all rented properties inspected in Carlow, Cavan, Laois, Waterford and Kilkenny were found not to be compliant with Standards Regulations. Monaghan County Council had the lowest fail rate for private rented accommodation at 55%.

Inspection rates in the city are lower than in the county. Around 3% of rental properties were inspected in the city last year, whereas more than 12% of rental properties in the county were inspected.

Nationally the inspection rate of registered tenancies “continues to be low” at 6.7%, down from 9.9% in 2019.

The Housing Standards for Rented Houses Regulations states that landlords must ensure that rented flats, apartments or houses are “free from damp and in a proper state of structural repair”.

They require that roofs, roofing tiles, slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, fascia, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, furnishings, gardens and common areas, “must be maintained in good condition and repair”.

The landlord must ensure that electricity or gas supplies are safe and in good repair, and that every room has adequate ventilation and heating that tenants can control, and both natural and artificial lighting.

The standards also stipulate that tenants have access to a washing machine and a clothes-dryer if there is no yard or garden to dry clothes; and there must be adequate cooking and food storage facilities.

Meanwhile, Galway County Council had the highest vacancy rate for its local authority housing stock.

Some 7% of all of its Council houses were vacant last year, Noac said.

This means that 176 Council houses were vacant last December in County Galway.

That was ten times the vacancy rate of South County Dublin (0.07%), and more than trebled Galway City Council’s vacancy rate as of December 31, 2020 which was 2.08% or 45 vacant Council houses.

NOAC said it understands that while there is always a level of turnover of local authority rented properties, “every effort should be made by local authorities to ensure the stock is utilised to the greatest extent possible to meet the demand and needs of applicants on the housing waiting list”.

It added that Councils are funded by the Department of Housing to minimise housing vacancies.

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s snaring of Shefflin is riveting tale of the unexpected

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Galway's new hurling manager Henry Shefflin in action against the Tribesmen's David Collins during his legendary playing career with Kilkenny.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

The process took over a fortnight longer than expected, there were many twists and turns, but Galway hurling eventually got their man – and what a spectacular coup it represents.

How Galway ended up snaring Henry Shefflin as their new senior team manager was hardly straight forward, but the appointment of the Kilkenny legend to succeed Shane O’Neill has energised the county’s hurling heartlands.

That appeared an unlikely scenario over two weeks ago when the Galway Hurling Committee Chairman Paul Bellew – addressing a specially convened meeting of club delegates in the Lough Rea Hotel – spelt out how the search for a new hurling supremo had stalled. They would have to start all over again.

With the bush telegraph and social media going into overdrive with some wildly inaccurate commentary and a vacuum in terms of reliable information, Galway had to now move quickly to retake control of the situation and quell rising discontent.

But few anticipated that, within ten days, the county would have enticed the sport’s most decorated player to come West, especially a man whose allegiance to Kilkenny has been without compromise and was already perceived as Brian Cody’s successor in the Noreside dug out.

When Galway had begun their quest to fill the managerial vacancy, the initial scouting led to four candidates emerging – former boss Micheál Donoghue, outgoing minor supremo Brian Hanley, an external former inter-county manager (not Davy Fitzgerald) and a local coach who didn’t have a big profile and withdrew from the race within 48 hours.

Family reasons prevented the ‘outsider’ from getting involved, while Hanley found it difficult to commit to the selection process with Donoghue’s shadow hanging over events. In the end, officials never even got to the negotiating stage with Donoghue who opted out due to a combination of family responsibilities and the timing of a possible return to the Galway sideline.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

That’s the spirit!

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Roy enjoys one glass of whiskey every night before bed and only one, he stresses. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Lifestyle – Roy Court, born in Scotland and living in Craughwell, dedicated his career to improving the process of distilling spirits, especially whiskey. His job took him all over the world and involved a stint with the UN. His new book explains what’s involved in creating a great whiskey and is based on skills he gained during more than half a century in the business. He talks to STEPHEN GLENNON.

If there is one thing that Roy Court knows about, it is what constitutes a good whiskey. So much so, he has written a book about it called How We Put An ‘e’ in Whiskey.

A native of Scotland, Roy, who worked as a chief chemist for William Grant & Sons and as a development distiller for John Jameson & Sons (later Irish Distillers) moved to Ireland in 1965. He has spent the last 40 years in the West of Ireland.

Sitting in his home in Craughwell, alongside his daughter Ruth, who has followed in his footsteps into brewing and distilling, the 84-year-old reflects on a career that took him all over the world.

Born in 1937, Roy began his journey as a laboratory assistant in Scotland with the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) – based at Menstrie, near Alloa – in 1955. He also attended third- level education on a part-time basis, qualifying as a research chemist.

“It (the laboratory) was the old Glenochil Distillery, at which my grandfather had been one of the excise officers,” he explains. “The distillery was closed many years and they had it converted to a yeast factory, but, onsite, they had various laboratories because it was part of the distillers’ company.”

The scientific work for the five main grain distilleries was centralised in these laboratories, and Roy’s duties included measuring the moisture content in maize and malt, along with malt analysis.

Through his studies, Roy identified a better way to speed up kilning in the malting process.

“I had the idea that when the water was evaporating, it actually holds down the temperature. So, what you should do is hit it with a lot of heat at first, get rid of the excess water, and then slow it down.

“Anyway, the company took this on and I was sent to the various maltings to supervise doing that, which resulted in them increasing their production.”

In the whiskey industry (whiskey is spelled without the ‘e’ in Scotland), Roy became hot property and was offered a job with Associated British Maltsters in England. He spent three years with them before he was head-hunted by Scottish firm William Grant & Sons and became their chief chemist in a new distillery in Girvan in South Ayrshire.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Familiar foes are set for intriguing senior decider

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Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s Claire Dunleavey and Claregalway's Charlotte Cooney in action during the 2019 Galway senior ladies football final in Milltown. The clubs meet in the decider for the third consecutive year on Saturday.

By Ivan Smyth

IT will be a case of familiar foes meeting when Kilkerrin/Clonberne and Claregalway square off in the county final in Annaghdown on Saturday (4pm). Willie Ward’s all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne side will be aiming to win their ninth county title in a row, but they come up against a Claregalway outfit who drew with them in the group stages of this year’s championship.

The sides will meet in the county final for the third year running and the fifth time in seven years. Last year’s decider ended in a nine point win for Kilkerrin/Clonberne, although the victory margin slightly flattered the champions. Claregalway manager Eugene Kearney is aware of the difficult task his side faces when they come up against this all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne outfit.

“We are well used to the opposition and we are looking forward to taking them on. We have a huge task ahead of us. We are under no illusions to the size of the task we face. In terms of preparation, we have tried to improve ourselves in the year since. We are just focused on our own dressing room and our own players. We are trying to improve the mindset and show we can achieve with Kilkerrin/Clonberne have.”

Kearney’s charges will be monitoring the fitness of Ciara Burke who is suffering with a hamstring issue. His side have impressed in this year’s competition remaining unbeaten, while drawing with Saturday’s opponents in the group stage. They ruthlessly put Corofin to the sword in the last four, prevailing by 5-17 to 2-5.

“If you stand still you are going backwards so that’s why we aren’t going through the motions in any game. We’ve had a full squad since the Coen Cup finished up so we have been able to work together and improve game by game. We are under no illusions to the size of the task. I’m quietly confident in this squad’s ability, but it will all come down to who is better on the day.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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