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Jailed anti-war activist gets support in West Bank demo

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A group of Palestinian villagers showed solidarity with jailed Galway anti-war activist Margaretta D’arcy during their weekly protest against the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank on Friday afternoon.

The people of Bil’in, who have staged a protest every week since an Israeli-built wall cut off 60% of their land some years ago, demonstrated placards in honour of Ms D’arcy before being fired on with tear gas by Israeli soldiers.

They were alerted to Margaretta’s imprisonment by Galway activist Tommy Donnellan, who stayed in Bil’in during a three month visit to the West Bank last year.

Mr Donnellan printed off a number of posters in support of Margaretta at I Supply in Galway and then emailed them to village photographer Haitham Al Khatib, who printed off the large placards in the city of Ramallah.

Bil’in was made famous by the film ‘5 Broken Cameras’, which was nominated for an Academy Award last year.

“I have been in Palestine six times since 2008 and I always stay in Bil’in,” said Mr Donnellan yesterday. “They hold a weekly protest every Friday since 60% of the village’s land was cut off by the Apartheid Wall.

“Often the protests end with tear gas, rubber bullets, or even live bullets being fired on the demonstrators. I knew they would be protesting last Friday, so I got the posters printed off at I Supply in Galway and I was able to email them to Haitham.”

One of the placards shows Ms D’arcy and her late husband, John Arden, at a stall in support of the people of Palestine at Shop Street in Galway some years ago.

Mr Donnellan said the Palestinian villagers were delighted to honour Ms D’arcy (79) after hearing of how she had been jailed 13 days ago for refusing to stay away from the restricted areas of Shannon Airport. She has refused to back down.

“When I went on to the runway I did so to stop war crimes,” she told supporters on Sunday. “It would seem it is ok for me to witness crimes, but not to do something to stop them.”

Demonstrations in support of Margaretta – and against the US military use of Shannon – were also held in Galway, Limerick, London, and Dublin over the weekend.

Fifteen MEPs from eight countries have also written to the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, to call for her to be released from Limerick Prison.

Mr Donnellan will distribute some of the 1,000 postcards he has printed in support of Margaretta D’arcy at Shop Street today (11am to 6pm). Supporters will be asked to send them to Ms D’arcy at Limerick Prison.

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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