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Storm rages over new Leisureland charges

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Local swimming club representatives have described as “outrageous” the revised charges drawn up by Leisureland management and the City Council this week in an effort to broker a compromise deal.
The charges mean that parents of regular swimmers could be forced to fork out around €400 extra per child in 2015.
The newly-formed Galway Aquatic Community – which represents Galway, Shark and Laser Swimming Clubs, as well as Corrib and Tribes Water Polo clubs – will be protesting outside City Hall this afternoon ahead of a special meeting of the Council to discuss the ongoing debacle at Leisureland.
They have said the new charging structure agreed this week does not specify that the 50c levy per child is per every 45 minutes, while competitive training sessions last up to two hours.
Five of the seven directors of the facility’s operating company, Salthill Fáilte Ltd – councillors Pearce Flannery, Mike Cubbard and Niall McNelis, along with Roger O’Sullivan of Salthill Tourism and Vincent Finn of Swim Ireland – resigned since last weekend over proposals to increase charges.
As well as increasing the cost of pool hire, it was proposed to charge clubs a levy of €2 per child for every session. Following the resignations en masse, the City Council’s Chief Executive Brendan McGrath met with the manager of Leisureland, Paddy Martyn, and the two remaining directors (Mayor Donal Lyons and Cllr Padraig Conneely) and a reduced levy of 50c per child from January to July was agreed. The levy will increase to €1 in July.
However, one club representative said the charges had not been made entirely clear. “What was not made clear is that the 50c levy is being charged per child per 45 minutes from January 1 – this will increase to €1 per child per 45 minutes in July.
“Considering that most of the competitive training sessions are between one-and-a-half to two hours each, this would mean the levy they are charging the children is €1 to €1.33 per session until July and €2 to €2.66 per session after July – and that’s on top of the 10% increase in pool hire. This is completely unacceptable and outrageous,” one club member said.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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

Tourists duped in Galway City rental accommodation scam

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have issued another ‘beware’ warning in relation to scammers offering fictitious properties to rent in the city area.

The advice comes after a report of a several separate tourists from overseas calling to a house in Shantalla over recent weeks, thinking that they had booked rental accommodation.

It is understood that the fake rental offer had been made through a booking website, but it turned out to be a scam with the tourists having ‘parted’ weeks earlier with a deposit of several hundred euro.

Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that such rental scams were an ongoing reality in relation to the accommodation sector, especially in cities like Galway with huge rental markets for long-term and short-term lets.

He said that the first pieces of advice for anyone seeking to rent a property was to only do business with an established bona-fide rental agency and to always meet the prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.

Sgt Walsh said that the scammers also tended to be more active at times of the year when accommodation was in major demand as in the late-Summer/early-Autumn period as students returned to third level colleges.

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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