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CITY TRIBUNE

Ministers to hear case for Galway waterways rejuvenation

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Galway City Tribune – Progress on a community campaign for a massive rejuvenation of Galway’s canal network is gaining momentum, with a meeting planned today with the two key ministers responsible for funding and seed money promised by the 2020 organisers.

Phil James, head of the Galway Waterways Initiative, will hold talks with the Minister for Transport and Tourism Shane Ross and Junior Minister for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran in a meeting arranged by fellow Independent Noel Grealish.

Mr James said he will press the need to open up links with senior staff in the OPW and aim to secure backing for the creation of a long-term masterplan for the waterways.

The campaign group’s wish list includes restoring canals so that vessels can navigate along the Eglinton Canal from Lough Corrib to Galway Bay, building a walkway over the old railroad pillars on the weir connecting the city to the proposed Connemara greenway, and the creation of a ‘blueway’ linking the Galway canals to the Ballyquirke canal network in Moycullen.

A meeting with Galway 2020 CEO Hannah Kiely elicited a commitment to give seed money of €10,000 to tease out plans to stage a programme of events during Galway’s Capital of Culture year.

Events earmarked include water and light displays, a hydro-energy conference and the first hydro-energy installation, kayaking, canoeing and diving regattas, a design competition for the weir walkway, setting up a virtual “museum of the waterways”, with a plan for an actual museum.

The group have proposed a renaming competition for the rivers and canals and a gala event in 2020 marked by a concert from a floating stage in the Claddagh Basin.

Mr James also held a meeting with Fáilte Ireland, who were enthusiastic about the tourism potential of the project.
To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

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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