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New collective wants to add environmental issue to city’s vision

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A new initiative aiming to accelerate the transition to a low carbon sustainable future has been launched in Galway.

The Post Carbon Galway (PCG) initiative aims to work in partnership with all sectors to ensure that environmental issues are to the fore in the coming years.

And the team believe that – with Galway’s recent successes in landing the 2020 Capital of Culture crown as well as the European Green Leaf award for Sustainable City in 2017 and European Region of Gastronomy in 2018 – their vision can add another string to that bow.

“While the eyes of the world are upon us, Galway now has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of world cities in leading not only in the more traditional vision of arts and culture but in the green transition to a more sustainable future, in effect becoming Ireland’s first CO2 neutral capital,” explained PCG’s Brendan ‘Speedie’ Smith.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating impacts of climate change and the historic United Nations’ Paris Climate Agreement recently ratified by nearly 200 nations means climate change can no longer be ignored, urging us all to undertake a rapid shift to a fully sustainable renewable energy culture and economy over the next two decades,” he added.

The Post Carbon Galway collaboration acknowledged that transitioning to a renewable energy-based culture and economy needed an all-inclusive partnership approach.

“While climate change is seen as the main focus, the plans and solutions proposed need to be cognisant of the wider picture on biodiversity, culture and heritage, growth versus sustainable economy and human and community well-being, that would enable a sustained, citizen-led engagement.

“We now need to unite all of local society in planning and creating a just, managed, transition to a secure, flourishing, and authentically sustainable post-carbon Galway,” explained Mr Smith.

Post Carbon Galway was set up to devise and monitor a local pathway to a low carbon Galway, by working collaboratively in setting ambitious and achievable targets to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and to promote sustainable development within Galway City and County.

Its members include Galway City Community Network, An Tasice, INSIGHT and The Ryan Institute NUI Galway, Transition Galway, Collaborative Ways, Third Space Galway, Galway Cycling Campaign and Conservation Volunteers Galway.

Brendan Smith recently highlighted on social media how the 2020 bid process forced us to look beyond our individual sector and community towards an ambitious holistic vision that can only be achieved by a unity of purpose.

“They have shown us that ‘culture’ is not something that belongs only to the realm of the arts but underpins all aspects of our local lives, from business to scientific research to environmentalism, from life in rural villages to urban neighbourhoods,” he said.

“Let us all take full advantage of the unique opportunities being presented to make ‘culture’ synonymous with Galway in all its identities and to use it as a catalyst to improve both the natural environment and the quality of life of all its people,” he added.

If you would like to get involved or for any further information on the Post Carbon Galway initiative, contact project coordinator Martina Finn 0872201972 or visit their website.

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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