The merger of Galway’s two local authorities – and the potential extension of the city’s boundaries – would have a serious impact on the county’s finances, it was warned this week.
And there would be a knock-on effect on the delivery of services for the county, councillors claimed.
Last month, a five-person independent review group was put together by Environment Minister Alan Kelly to examine the possibility of amalgamating Galway City and County Councils, and extending the boundary of the city to include Barna, Oranmore and Moycullen.
At a Council meeting this week, Cllr Tim Broderick said the local authority is currently in the process of extending the Chamber in County Hall at significant cost, and now a review was being carried out on possibly merging the Councils.
“This flies in the face of proper thinking,” he said.
Council Chief Executive Kevin Kelly said he that he and his city counterpart will be meeting with the review committee in a couple of weeks’ time, and he hoped to be in a better position at that stage to provide clarity to councillors for their March meeting.
“We didn’t know this [review] was going to come onto our desks. We haven’t done an analysis yet on the impact of the extension of boundaries, but there would be an impact on commercial rates,” said Mr Kelly.
He said the vast Parkmore industrial estates area – which is in the county area – would be one area where rates income would be affected.
Cllr Jimmy McClearn said: “This would have very serious implications for the county in terms of rates – it could take in Oranmore, Barna and Moycullen where a lot of our ratepayers are based.
“No matter what the position is in terms of compensation, it will be tapered – there will be a definite timeline and it will come to an end.
“As councillors, we all have a duty to inform the public. If there is an extension of the city, it will have implications for the delivery of services for the county down the road,” said Cllr McClearn.
One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip
He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.
The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.
But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.
“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.
“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis
As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.
An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.
UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.
This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.
On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.
Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.
There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.
Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.
“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.
“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.
Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots
Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.
But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.
His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in TheJournal.ie – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.
He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.
Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.
The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.
“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.
Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie