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Planners want restaurant in Fairgreen Webworks building

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Galway City Coach Station at the Fairgreen needs a restaurant according to planners.

The owner of the Webworks building at the Fairgreen has been told to make space available for a restaurant for commuters, before Galway City Council will consider plans for new Department of Social Protection offices there.

The building was bought earlier this year by Irish millionaire Jason Williams through his Connaught and Whitehall Capital UK Ltd investment company for a figure believed to be in the region of €4.5 million.

That company subsequently entered into an agreement with the Office of Public Works to lease the entire office space in the building to the Department of Social Protection for an ‘Intreo’ office.

However, as well as the three floors of office space, the Dept also required a change of use of a mezzanine level from restaurant (for the coach station on the ground floor) to a public office.

“The proposed existing vacant mezzanine level is to be enclosed and dedicated to the new public offices. However, when originally granted by the City Council this was to have been a café restaurant for the new bus station.

“It appears that the coffee dock and sweet/newspaper kiosk which were to have formed part of the bus station development have not been provided either.

“The additional deficit of the restaurant would leave the bus station with no hospitality facilities at all to service the travelling public,” planners said, asking the applicant to consider retaining the space for restaurant use

They also questioned whether staff or the public will have access to the two levels of underground parking, and to confirm adequate provision has been made for toilet facilities for staff and customers, and that they be fully accessible.

The building will be an ‘Intreo’ office – these offices are the new single point of contact for all employment and income supports.

“[It is] designed to provide a more streamlined approach for jobseekers and employers. The use comprises office use with both a public access element and a backroom office support,” according to the OPW.

“[It] serves the entire city area and the city centre location maximizes its accessibility to all, particularly by public transport,” the OPW said.

 

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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