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More young people ending up on streets

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MORE homeless individuals in the city are coming from the under-25 age bracket with drug usage also on the increase, according to the organisation that takes people off the streets every night of the year.

The COPE charity this week told the Galway City Tribune that the younger age profile of people on the streets with no place to stay at night – along with increased drugs usage – were major concerns.

Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO of COPE, said that along with housing needs, a priority requirement for the homeless was a specialist detox and rehabilitation centre in the city.

“Addiction continues to be a major problem, with alcohol the number one offender, but over the past year or so there also seems to have been an increase in drug usage, such as in the smoking of heroin,” said Martin O’Connor.

He added that at present, the normal treatment route was via the A&E unit of UHG, a system that often just wasn’t accessible enough for people in need of urgent help.

“The provision of a specialist detox and rehabilitation centre in the city would be a great stepping stone for people who desperately need specialist help,” said Martin O’Connor.

He said that the Fairgreen Hostel provided accommodation for 35 male residents while they also put a Cold Weather Response plan in place for the winter period that last year allowed them to provide sleeping accommodation for an additional nine people.

“Not very often, but here and there, we are faced with the dilemma of telling someone that we have no room for them, and this is one of the most difficult things for our staff to do.

“We do also provide a sleeping bag service in cases, where for one reason or another, people do not want to come into the hostel. At least by providing them with a sleeping bag on the street, some level of protection against the rain and the cold can be provided,” said Martin O’Connor.

 COPE employ eight full time staff, to provide ‘24/7’ cover for people who come in off the street with no place to stay. In addition to sleeping accommodation, COPE also provide an evening meal and breakfast for residents. They also have many people who provide their services on a voluntary basis.

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

 

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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