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CITY TRIBUNE

Shortage of swim coaches a big disability for promising athletes

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Members of Galway Speeders who have been selected to represent Ireland at the IWAS International World Games in Athlone from June 30 to July 6. From left: Mark Henderson (Table Tennis), Caoimhe Folan (Table Tennis), Alicia Winter (Table Tennis), Sinead Keon (Athletics) and Shane Curran (Athletics). Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

Five members of Galway Speeders, the group which promotes sports for children and young adults with a physical disability, will compete in the IWAS (International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports) World Games when they take place in Athlone next week.

Mark Henderson, Caoimhe Folan, Alicia Winter, Sinead Keon and Shane Curran will all be involved in the Games, which run from Saturday, June 30 to Friday, July 6. Their chosen sports are athletics and table tennis.

“There is a team of 20 representing Ireland at the Games,” outlines Galway Speeders Secretary, Delia Boyce, “and out of that 20, five come from Galway City and its surrounds and they are all involved in our club.”

Although Galway Speeders, a multi-sports club founded in 2011 to provide for children and teenagers, participate in an array of activities, these Games only cover a select few such as athletics, table tennis and swimming. “We would have had a team from Galway in the swimming but, unfortunately, we had no coach,” continues Boyce.

Well-known local swim coach, founder of Octopus Swimming Club and volunteer Mary Arrigan-Langan has generously facilitated the club many times, but what the club would love is to put a programme in place for those in Galway Speeders who would love to pursue the sport more vigorously.

“Until recently, we kind of started going once a week with Galway Swimming Club so we are hoping to develop that and get someone who will work with the children. That is all Galway Speeders can do. We need to move on now but, at the moment, we feel we are banging our head against the wall.

“So, we want to get [swim] coaches because we want them [members] in the water morning, noon and night if they choose to go along that path. So, we are pursuing it but it isn’t that easy as you can appreciate,” says Boyce, who notes she has seen the benefits of swimming first-hand through her own daughter and Galway Speeders member, Alicia.

“When she gets into the water, it’s the freedom. It benefits her because she is just coming back from surgery. Listen, they are not all going to be going to the Olympics, it is nothing like that, but you would like to give them the opportunity to be the best they can be.”

While the dearth of swim coaches may be an issue, they do boast of great coaches in the other disciplines. No more so than in table tennis where Rena McCarron Rooney, who represented Ireland at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and later at the 2014 World Championships in Beijing, is one of the head coaches alongside her husband, Ronan.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

 

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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