Date Published: 19-May-2011
BY CAROLINE WHELAN
Galway County Council is paying a private company €75,000 a year to maintain two public toilets – which between them bring in just over €1,000 a year.
The Council charges 50c to use either of the two single unisex automated facilities, located in Vicar Street in Tuam and in the Fairgreen in Loughrea, and the revenue taken in for both toilets since they were installed in 2007 amounts to little over €5,000.
But the local authority has revealed that each facility costs €37,500 per annum to maintain. The self flushing units are cleaned on a daily basis and it’s ensured that they are always stocked with toilet paper and soap. It’s also estimated that a superloo can cost anything up to €100,000 to install, factoring in the initial cost of plumbing, sewerage and electrical services on top of the facility itself.
Councillor Bridie Willers who represents the Loughrea Electoral area, described the cost as ‘ludicrous’, and said it was time the Council revisited the contract.
“I will be making further inquiries about this. The income the facilities is generating is very small. It’s an absurd figure for maintenance; it makes no sense whatsoever, we have to go back to the drawing board here. You would imagine that if that contract was put out to tender again, there would be many local contractors who would snap it up and be prepared to do the work at a more reasonable rate,” she said.
But the Ardrahan based councillor acknowledged the individual units are extremely expensive to acquire.
“We had hoped that they would be partially self financing but that has obviously not been the case. There is absolutely no point closing them down for the money they cost to construct in the first place, but I would expect that the price to maintain them would be considerably less. We’re in straightened times and every penny that can be saved must be saved,” she said.
With regards to public conveniences in Galway city, the city council has also tendered out the maintenance work to a private company that is used by 90 local authorities around the country. The local authority is shelling out €137,000 for the maintence of eleven superloos at five different locations.
There are seven public toilets around Salthill with a number of units located in Blackrock, Ladies Beach and Palmers Rock and in the city there are facilities at the Millennium Park on University Road and in Eyre Square. There is a charge of 20 cent to use the amenities and on average they bring in around €16,000 per annum in revenue.
A City Council spokesperson said the superloos are an essential service that the council must provide to the public. He believed it was mostly tourists using the conveniences and that they would tend to be used a lot more during the summer, he also added that to provide a ‘good, clean, efficient service, it will cost you’.
The City Council’s ten year maintenance contract for the units expire this year and asked if he thought the above figure represented good value for the taxpayer, the city council spokesperson said the authority ‘always seeks to obtain good value for money’.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.