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SVP in urgent appeal to cope with Galway crisis

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St Vincent de Paul (SVP) have this week issued an urgent appeal for volunteers, with hundreds of needy families in the city bracing themselves for a ‘cold, cold Christmas’ as the poverty trap continues to grow.

Already, SVP in the city has recorded a major increase in applications for assistance through the month of September, and they predict that the situation will worsen further in the run-up to Christmas.

Electricity cut-offs and a lack of fuel to heat up homes tops the urgent list for the SVP – with the approach of the cold season and Christmas, demand is expected to reach record levels this year.

“There is no doubt about it – there is a major increase in the numbers of families and individuals who are in serious need of help to provide for the basics of food, clothing, footwear, electricity and fuel,” said Acting SVP Administrator Madge McGreal.

She added that in the present economic climate, more and more families and individuals are turning to SVP for help.

“A variety of skills are needed to fulfil this work. Volunteers are trained in the ethos of the society and offer assistance in a non-judgmental spirit of compassion, based on the need of the individual or family,” said Madge McGreal.

She said, that as things stood, the SVP had up to 300 volunteers operating around the city but they needed more, especially on the East side of town.

According to Michael McCann, Area President of SVP, given the extent of the Society’s activities, they could not survive without the contributions of hundreds of volunteers

“In the present economic climate, more and more families and individuals are turning to SVP for help. A variety of skills are needed to fulfil this work and volunteers are trained in the ethos of the society and offer assistance in a non-judgmental spirit of compassion, based on the need of the individual or family,” said Michael McCann.

SVP in the city are holding an information evening to recruit volunteers on Thursday, November 7 (6pm to 8pm) in the Ballybane Enterprise Centre, comprising of a short presentation followed by a chat with current Society volunteers.

The volunteers are trained to offer assistance in ‘a non-judgmental spirit of compassion, based on the need of the individual or family’. Volunteers operate in teams of two, undertaking visits to individuals and families in need of assistance.

Following the information evening, those interested will be invited to apply for membership, and volunteer training will then take place on Saturday, November 16 from 10am to 4pm, also in the Ballybane Enterprise Centre.

The SVP have also issued a special thanks to the many individuals and businesses who make contributions to fund the activities of the Society. Anyone unable to attend the information evening can find out more about the work by calling 091-563233 or email: info@svpgalway.ie.

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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