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Taxi protest may bring city centre to standstill

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Galway City could be brought to a standstill by disgruntled taxi drivers who have seen the minimum fare they charge reduced.
The industry in Galway believe that incomes will be decimated by between 10% and 15% with the fare reduction, which it is good news, however, for customers who will experience cheaper fares on some of the shorter journeys around the city.
However, Galway taxi drivers do not share this view as they feel that their incomes are going to be further eroded. They are considering bringing the city to a standstill in protest to the changes.
At the moment customers are being charged a €4.10 minimum charge when they get into a taxi. This is now being reduced to €3.60.
The regulations have been changed so that taxi drivers can actually charge more for longer journeys with the clock ticking on a more regular basis than currently exists.
But according to Gerry Corbett of Taxi Drivers Galway, these new regulations will benefit the industry in the likes of Dublin and Cork where the journeys are much longer than in Galway City.
“Here in Galway the majority of taxi fares are quite short by comparison to Dublin and that is where we are going to be hit,” he said.
Mr Corbett added that, for example, a taxi fare from Eyre Square to the UHG currently costs €5 but this will now be reduced to €4.60 as part of the new rules that kick in from April.
He said that the situation in Dublin was completely different to Galway where, on a Saturday night in particular, most of the journeys were around a couple of miles and sometimes three or four miles.
“We feel that it is another unmitigated disaster for Galway taxi drivers. This is on top of increased and many illegal taxi drivers on the city’s ranks.
“The taxi industry in Galway rely to a large degree on the shorter fares but the reduction in the initial fixed charge looks like costing every driver up to 15% of their incomes. “This can only benefit drivers who operate in areas where distance runs are the norm which is mainly Dublin and Cork,” he said.
Mr Corbett said that the Galway drivers are now considering a day’s protest which they say would bring the city to an absolute standstill.

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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