A new umbrella group opposed to water charges will hold a protest at the Spanish Arch at lunchtime today (Saturday).
The ‘Galway Unites Against Water Charges’ group has rejected the revised charges announced by the Government last week and branded them “a few crumbs from the Fine Gael and Labour table”.
The GUAWC involves anti-water groups from around the city and county, including We Won’t Pay, Galway Against Water Charges, Right2Water Galway, Galway Lockout and Glór na Tuaithe (Rural Voice).
A spokesperson for GUAWC said: “The groups have come together to send a clear message to the Government and local TDs that people will not be bought off with the so-called reformed water charge package announced last week. This represents the thin end of the wedge.
“The Government are clearly just looking to get the charges established any way they can, than over time they will implement the full range of costs, meters and privatisation that people have rebelled against in recent weeks.
“The Government’s claim that they have listened to the people and addressed the issues amounts to little more than rhetoric and does very little to address people’s real concerns into the future.
“The fight against water charges has nothing to do with people wanting something for nothing. People in this country already pay for water through central taxation, the Government have not made clear what would happen to the €1.2billion that is currently set aside for the provision of water services if direct charges were to come in.
“They have also missed one of the main points of the protests, which was never about free water as such, but about how water is paid for and where the burden is placed.
“Low and middle income people have borne the brunt of the past six years of austerity and are simply not willing to take another hit, water charges are the final straw. The people have risen and will not settle for a few crumbs from the FG and Labour table,” the spokesperson said.
Today’s protest takes place at 1pm, and is a prelude to the national demonstration outside Dáil Éireann which takes place on October 10.
€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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.