Not a single household water meter has been installed in Galway City, as the charges controversy continues.
Irish Water confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that its planned “metering programme has not yet commenced in the Galway City area”. It did not say when metering installation would commence in the city.
The revelation comes as anti-water charge groups attempt to drum up support for more city protests. At the same time, Government representatives locally are hailing the new charging structures announced midweek.
The new utility, which has been submerged in controversy since its inception, did not say when metering would commence in the city.
A key reason for the new water charges is supposed to be water conservation, and meters are supposed to help homeowners reduce consumption.
Irish Water said it has installed half a million meters nationally, which is “significantly ahead” of schedule – but not one in the city. It said that the first phase of its metering programme is due to be completed by the end of 2016 but it did not elaborate whether Galway City was included in that plan.
The company said it will notify city residents in advance of when it starts metering. “Householders will be notified at least two weeks before the installation and will receive an information pack explaining our work, and what to expect when we install your water meter. At least two days before the installation we will notify householders of the date when the water meter will be fitted,” Irish Water said.
The official rate of ‘unaccounted for water’ in the city has been confirmed as 44.8%, which means that percentage of water produced is ‘lost to the system’ or goes missing, every day.
Independent City Councillor Catherine Connolly has pointed out that Irish Water bills will arrive to city homeowners on April 1, 2015 – April Fools’ Day.
Galway West Labour TD Derek Nolan said even after paying for water charges, householders will still be “better off” next year due to other tax measures introduced in the budget.
Deputy Nolan said: “We know now that the net amount of water charges that households will pay will be less than the savings workers will make due to income tax, USC and child benefit changes.
“For example, a couple with two children and one income of €35,000 per annum will save a total of €312 over the course of the year. Taking the water charge of €160 from this figure, this family are still left with €152 extra in their pocket. Furthermore, a couple with two children and one income of €45,000 per annum will save a total of €520 over the course of the year.
“Taking the water charge of €160 from this figure, this family are still left with €360 extra in their pocket. From January, the changes in income tax and the USC will have a small but meaningful impact on people’s pay and put a little money back in their pockets.”
But Sinn Féin has poured cold water on the new flat charges with City Councillor Mairéad Farrell describing them as a ‘confidence trick’.
Cllr Farrell added: “The people want the water charges scrapped. The truth is this flat rate is only a temporary con-job measure and then the installed water meters will come into play and the cost of water will spiral.”
She has urged all her council colleagues to sign the petition published by the Right2Water campaign calling on the government to “abolish water charges and respect our human right to water”.
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.
“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.
These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.
But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.
Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.
One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.
The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.
They lifted and footed his turf.
John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.
He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.
“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.
Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!
“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.
Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.
They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.
Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.
After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.
“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”
But it could have all been so different.
Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.
She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.
Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.
Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.
Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.