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Small businesses to benefit from reduced rates

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Small city businesses are being offered a commercial rates’ reprieve next year.

In an early Christmas present, Galway City Council announced plans to reduce the commercial rates of city businesses who pay their liabilities early in 2017.

The measure, which could shave as much as €250 off small rate-payers annual bill, will be introduced as a pilot measure next year.

The Pilot Rates Payment Incentive Scheme was passed at the City Council’s Budget 2017 meeting.

Edel McCormack, Head of Finance, outlined the details of the scheme which involve offering discounts of 5% on commercial rates for rate-payers who have a yearly liability of less than €5,000.

They can avail of the discount if they pay their commercial rates for the full year before June 2017.

Some 65% of the rate-payers would be eligible for the pilot scheme, which she said may be extended in 2018 depending on how successful it is.

The measure was being trialled in order to help that cohort of commercial rate payers, who were vulnerable, and who were identified as more likely to be struggling to pay their rates. She said it was also an incentive to them to pay their rates.

Fianna Fáil City Councillor Mike Crowe said it was “unfair” that 35% of rate-payers were being excluded from the scheme.

Councillor Crowe said that all rate-payers were under pressure to pay their rates, and they all deserved equal treatment.

He said that big businesses with big rates’ bills could use the 5% discount to possibly take on another staff member, or invest it in other areas of the business.

The scheme is expected to be worth €270,000.

Ms McCormack said the pilot would be reviewed next July and she would report back to Councillors.

Overall, she said rates collections have improved in recent years.

Councillor Collette Connolly (Ind) wondered why 25% of businesses were not paying any rates at all. Ms McCormack explained that the rates collection used to be 62%, and then it was 66%, and now it was expected to be 75% by the end of this year.

CITY TRIBUNE

Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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 Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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