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Taxpayers fork out €50,000 per year on city stray horses

Denise McNamara

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Galway City Council has spent €265,000 over the last five years impounding stray horses without recouping a penny.

The scourge of horses being illegally kept in city estates means that ratepayers are being forced to cough up over €50,000 a year to get them rounded up.

Independent Councillor Terry O’Flaherty said the money was a complete waste of resources. What was more infuriating was the fact that not a single euro has been recouped from the Department of Agriculture by the city council, when Galway County Council are recouping €450 for each lift.

“In 2013 Galway County Council recouped €150,000 from a total expenditure of €180,000 paid out in respect of impounding horses,” she remarked.

“It seems incredible that Galway City Council have failed to recoup a single euro in the last five years, despite Galway County Council being reimbursed €450 per lift.

“This needs to be fully explained, as the only explanation forthcoming is that the system for impounding horses in the city did not fall within the framework of the recoupment scheme and the burden therefore again falls on the hard pressed ratepayer.”

Galway County Council provides a round the clock service for the lifting of horses. The Renmore councillor said she will be urging city officials to meet with their counterparts in Galway County Council to discuss the setting up of a similar system.

“I will be seeking answers from City Manager Brendan McGrath as to why the City Council are failing to recoup any monies and I will also be asking him to explain the continued failure of the City Council to stamp out the keeping of horses in city housing estates which is totally unacceptable.”

The grass in some of these estates does not require cutting due to the number of horses being allowed to graze on the open spaces, particularly on the east side of the city which appears to be suffering the most from this situation.

“This would not be tolerated in other more affluent parts of the city,” she insisted.

 

Last July, Galway City Council passed a motion which called for the eviction of local authority tenants who keep houses in their back gardens. The keeping of horses in housing estates was banned, but a spokesman said it was impossible for local authority staff to monitor what was happening in city estates 24 hours per day.

 

“We are at present working with other local authorities in the West region on a collaborative tendering process for impounding services, in order to establish if this will enable the Council to reduce its costs in this area,” stated the director of services for housing, Joe O’Neill.

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
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

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
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

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
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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