A city councillor has accused City Hall of neglecting law-abiding residents in a Ballybane housing estate who have had to deal with mounting health hazards as a result of illegal dumping.
Speaking at a meeting of the Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) for Environment, Recreation and Amenity, Independent councillor Colette Connolly said that residents were “sick, sore and tired of the inaction of the Council” and claimed the local authority was “doing nothing” to improve the situation.
Fána Glas has become a black spot for illegal dumping with a small number of residents disposing of rubbish in common areas of the estate.
Items such as broken-down cars, dumped mattresses and scattered household waste – as well as illegally-parked caravans – have blighted the area for a number of years.
Several attempts to tidy the area in the past, by means of community clean-ups and Council-led operations have failed – with the status quo returning shortly after the work is completed.
Cllr Connolly said that it was unacceptable that a small number of residents were able to behave in this manner and called for action from the City Council.
“I am told that there are rats up there now – this is a repeat performance of what we had when Hillside was there.
“It is disgraceful to treat law-abiding residents in this manner,” she exclaimed.
Cllr Connolly demanded that the Director of Services for Housing take direct action and said that those residents who have no regard for their tenancy agreements should be severely reprimanded.
Administrative Officer in the Environment and Climate Change Department, Helen McDonagh, refuted claims that the Council were doing nothing and said that they would soon be piloting a new anti-dumping initiative in Ballybane.
The Council have secured funding for the pilot scheme and as part of its ‘Managing your Waste, Caring for our Environment’ campaign and has been working with residents’ associations and city councillors in the area.
“We held a public meeting in August and invited all the residents in Ballybane where we outlined the initiative. We want people to come in and work with us and we will be sending out press releases and leaflets.
“We will be doing clean-ups but they will only happen after the campaign; we need people to tell us when dumping is happening,” said Ms McDonagh.
In a recent Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey carried out by An Taisce, Ballybane was declared ‘clean to European norms’ – with a significant improvement in the area’s cleanliness noted in the results.
However, Fána Glas was highlighted as an area that remained in need of attention.
The survey found that many individual properties in the estate were very well-maintained while others were quite neglected.
It described the overall impression of the estate as one of terrible neglect – overgrown, weeded and heavily littered.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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.
GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.
College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.
Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.
“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.
In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.
“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.
“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.
Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.