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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents fail to prevent go-ahead of new pastoral centre

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Residents in Bushypark have failed in their efforts to prevent the construction of a new pastoral centre beside the local church – they felt that it would have an adverse impact on the church which is a protected structure.

The residents also questioned the merits of providing a pastoral centre given the fact that there are only two Masses in St James’ Church, one on a Saturday evening and the other on a Sunday morning.

It was also argued that the local GAA sports centre provides facilities for the youth while the national school has a community hall, funded by the residents, that can play host to several local events.

According to the residents the former presbytery was sold without consultation with the local community and this could have accommodated a pastoral centre without the need for a new building to dominate and impact on the church and graveyard.

However, St James’ Parish Council have been given the green light to build the new pastoral centre as the appeal by local residents to An Bord Pleanala has failed.

The appeal was lodged by Bushypark Parishioners Group who argued that the proposed pastoral centre is much too big for the site and will be out of character with the church which is a protected structure.

Earlier this year city planners gave the go-ahead to St James’ Parish Council for the construction of the pastoral centre along with the renovation of the church which includes a new porch, new stained glass windows, the replacement of slates and other modifications.

Permission was granted subject to 10 mainly standard conditions being complied with. One of them requires the Parish Council to outline what the pastoral centre will be used for.

Residents expressed a series of concerns about the proposals, while environmental group An Taisce said that while the repairs to the church should be permitted it urged thay the pastoral centre be refused.

When the planning application initially came before Galway City Council, it was opposed by An Taisce while 10 residents – two with addresses in Sligo and Inis Mór – along with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (the former National Roads Authority) also objected to the proposal.

City planners approved the revised application for an 830 square foot pastoral centre (around two-thirds the size of the 1,300 sq ft one originally planned) and restoration and renovation works to St James’ Church. Proposed alterations to the choir gallery were dropped.

The residents, who lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála, argued that there is insufficient car parking at the proposed development. They have also questioned the need for a pastoral centre as there is an existing hall nearby.

They also informed the Planning Appeals Board that the view from the Grotto will be obscured from the pastoral building and have also expressed concerned over what the facility will be used for.

They stated that the proposed treatment plant would be close to the existing entrance and graveyard while enclosing the area in a cage system, as was proposed, would be “unsightly and a health hazard”.

The Bushypark Parishioners Group were also opposed to the felling of mature trees and said that details were unclear as to the applicants’ proposals with regards to existing trees within the site and their protection.

“The pastoral centre is premature pending the determination of the (city) by-pass route,” it was further argued.

However, their appeal failed to win the support of An Bord Pleanála and permission was granted for the pastoral centre.

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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