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‘Projects will suffer’ if city cuts Property Tax

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City councillors could find themselves in a ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’ situation on Wednesday when they vote on a reduction proposal for the Local Property Tax.

Sinn Féin are pressing for a ‘one swoop’ 15% reduction in the Local Property Tax that goes into the coffers of the City Council for the provision of local services and amenities.

But some councillors fear that if such a cut is made to the income of the City Council, important sports and amenity projects will end up once again going on the long finger.

“There isn’t a councillor in the city or indeed across the country who wouldn’t favour a 15% cut in the property tax, but I’m afraid that the reality of this will be, that some major sporting and amenity projects will suffer,” said Cllr. Billy Cameron.

He said that in the past he had seen the juggling and effort involved on the part of the City Council where adjustments of around €250,000 had to be made – if the full 15% cut was to be made, schemes would be impacted upon.

Cllr. Cameron said that while the 15% cut might be a populist stance for Sinn Féin to adopt, the Council would have to look at the implications for projects such as the St. James’ GAA club development, phase two of the Corrib Park amenity project and the provision of the artificial playing surface at Cappagh Park.

However Sinn Féin councillor, Cathal Ó Conchúir, told the Galway City Tribune, that the issue had to be looked in a national perspective and in the context of the whole principle of the tax.

“We will be seeking the full reduction in the local property tax. This has been an unjust tax based primarily on people’s debts as they struggle to pay off mortgages.

“We really are a people that are at exhaustion level with taxes. We have the pensions levy, the universal social charge, PRSI and we just threw another €150 million into consultants to set up Irish Water. It’s well time to shout stop,” said Cllr. Ó Conchúir.

A spokesman for the City Council said that there was a statutory obligation on the local authorities to take a decision on any alteration to the Local Property Tax rate before September 30.

“At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, we will be setting out in detail the implications of any changes in the Local Property Tax rate. We will have a ready-reckoner guide for councillors to indicate how any change in the rate will impact on our finances,” said the spokesman.

Earlier this month, Environment Minister Alan Kelly, outlined that 10 local authorities, including Galway City Council, would be able to implement the full 15% tax reduction and still retain a surplus.

From 2015, local authorities will receive 80% of the Local Property Tax directly, with the remaining 20% to go into an ‘equalisation fund’ aimed at propping up ‘poorer’ Councils.

Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man

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Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.

Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.

He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250,  the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

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