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CITY TRIBUNE

Plan to ‘squeeze’ more new homes into Council estates

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A plan to squeeze more new houses into four of Galway City’s most established council estates has been criticised as ‘piecemeal’.

Galway City Council has signalled its intention to build 26 new houses at “infill” sites or green areas in four of its existing housing estates.

It is proposing to build 10 units at Ballinfoile Park on the Headford Road; four more at Corrib Park in Westside; four more at Castlepark in Ballybane and six more at Carn Ard on Circular Road.

Design teams working on behalf of the Council have visited the sites in recent weeks and it is envisaged that building work could commence later this year, or next year.

It’s part of the Government’s plan to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis through building new social housing.

However, the plan has been met with stiff resistance from residents in the four estates, as well as Councillor Ollie Crowe.

“They’re driving on with these plans and it’s madness – absolute madness. They’re trying to squeeze in more housing into estates that are already the four biggest Council estates in the city.

“Corrib Park is the biggest housing estate in the Westside and Newcastle. There are 332 there – 317 in Corrib Park and 15 on Carbry Road. It was built 45 or 46 years ago and now around 75% of the estate is privately owned. There are around 1,000 people living in this estate since it was built and many of them are now elderly. There is only one entrance into the estate and one exit. The Council now wants to build more houses in on top of them. Families living in these estates need these green areas. It’s not good enough and if I’ve to stand at the entrance to Corrib Park to block the diggers from going in, that’s what I’ll do,” fumed Cllr Ollie Crowe.

The Fianna Fáil councillor insisted he was not against social housing but he said the government has got it wrong in its approach.

“This is piecemeal and it makes no sense. I’m not for one minute against building more social housing. But the City Council has large landbanks across the city including out in Knocknacarra where they can build social housing, or a mixture of social, affordable and private housing estates. Cramming more houses into the biggest estate in Westside, or into the other three established Council estates, is not going to solve the problem. We do need more houses in the city, and I’m not anti social housing but this is not the way to go about it,” added Cllr Crowe.

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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