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CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG seeks five-star hotels as students face rent hikes

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Students last Thursday protest rent rise at NUIG, which is about to splash €180,000 on hotels

Bradley Bytes – A Sort of Political Column with Dara Bradley

NUI Galway is set to splash €180,000 on hotel accommodation, including five-star hotels.

That’s quite a lot of public money for any institution to spend on hotels. But the timing of this invitation to tender for hotel accommodation is, well, unfortunate – in the midst of a rent-rise controversy on campus.

Regular readers will recall last week’s column, where the Students’ Union was criticised for not mobilising the wider student population against the planned 4% increase in rent.

The hike in rents at Goldcrest student accommodation on campus – where a single room will rise to €750 per month from September – was announced around the same time NUIG was preparing tender documents for hotels.

NUIG has advertised that it is establishing a service panel for the provision of overnight accommodation and related services for use by the university in Galway City.

The contract value is €180,000. The accommodation sought is three-star, four-star, and five-star hotels within a five-kilometre radius of the city campus, as well as for guesthouses and B&Bs.

The accommodation must be of a certain quality, according to the tender. Firstly, the business must be registered with Fáilte Ireland. Wifi must be available to guests free of charge. And breakfast must be available and included in the room rates provided to NUIG.

The closing date for applications is March 12, and accommodation providers will be notified whether they are successful or not by March 23.

It is highly likely the department within NUIG that is responsible for issuing the tender for booking local hotels, has nothing to do with whoever is responsible for setting the rate of rents for on-campus bedrooms. And maybe it’s too simplistic to suggest the €180,000 to be spent on hotels could instead be used to alleviate the burden of rent rises on students. But there is an air of ‘Let them eat cake’ about it.

 

Part-time protestors

As was mentioned here last week, about a dozen students and Students’ Union members at NUIG camped out at the Quadrangle last Thursday night, in protest at proposed rent rises for on-campus rooms.

It was a short-lived protest, however. Citing concerns about storm Jorge, which was due to arrive in the West on Saturday, the SU decided to take the weekend off.

You couldn’t make it up: it took students over a week to respond with direct action to the rent rise and when they did, a day later, they packed up their tents!

If ever there was a metaphor for students’ apathy, the protestors effectively being ‘rained-off’ after just one day protesting was surely it.

*For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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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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