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CITY TRIBUNE

Labour combs city in search for successor to Cameron

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The Labour Party is combing Galway City in search of suitable candidates to contest the 2019 local elections.

Party veteran Billy Cameron, who served three terms on Galway City Council, has conceded he will not be seeking re-election – this has sparked a hunt for someone who might be capable of holding his seat in the City Central ward.

Labour also needs to find a candidate to contest in the City East ward, a former stronghold where voters deserted the party in droves at the last local election.

In 2009, Labour was the dominant force on Galway City Council with five out of the 15 elected members (Billy Cameron, Colette Connolly, Tom Costello, Derek Nolan and Niall McNelis).

At the following local election Labour was almost wiped-out and reduced to just two City Councillors, despite the overall number of elected members increasing by three to 18. Only Cameron and McNelis survived the wrath of the electorate in 2014 when Labour was making unpopular decisions nationally in a coalition government with Fine Gael.

Galway West TD Derek Nolan, who topped the poll in the 2011 general election, Labour’s best, took the seat won and held for years by Michael D Higgins, but he subsequently lost as the tide went out in 2016, when the party suffered its worst ever election result since its foundation in 1912.

Party sources have confirmed that a number of potential candidates capable of filling Cllr Cameron’s boots will be ‘sounded out’ in the coming weeks.

Among the names being mentioned as possible candidates are Ger Bane, a teacher at Galway Community College in Moneenageisha, who is involved with Corrib Rangers; Páraic Breathnach, the director of Galway Arts Centre; and Shane Lennon, volunteer and founder of Manuela Riedo Foundation.

Shantalla-based John McDonagh polled just 4% of the first preferences vote in 2014, when Labour had a three-candidate strategy that backfired and sitting Councillor Collette Connolly lost her seat.

Councillor Connolly subsequently left Labour and was co-opted again onto the City Council when her sister Catherine (also former Labour) vacated her seat after being elected to the Dáil in 2016. Collette won’t be flying the Labour flag next time out, and McDonagh could make a case to be ‘given another go’.

Another possible candidate is Pat Hardiman, a popular taxi man who is well known through is connections in Liam Mellows Hurling Club.

Possible candidates in the East Ward, where the party once held two Council seats, aren’t as plentiful.

Tom Costello retired and did not contest the last time out while Nuala Nolan, who was co-opted to her namesake Derek Nolan’s seat, lost out. One potential candidate who may be approached is Phil Grealish, who is involved with St Columba’s Credit Union and SCULL Enterprises.

Billy Cameron, a postmaster in Newcastle for almost two decades, was first elected in 2004, and became deputy mayor of the city two years later.

He topped the poll and was elected on the first count in 2009 and retained his seat despite the Labour tide going out in 2014.

Efforts to persuade him to remain on and go again have proved fruitless, and party sources fear that unless a high-profile candidate is sourced soon, the likes of Social Democrats member Niall Ó Tuathail, and the Green Party’s Colm Duffy, could get a foothold in the traditionally left of centre City Central Ward, which includes Westside, Shantalla, Bushypark and Newcastle.

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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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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