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CITY TRIBUNE

Transport key driver in new Government Agreement

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Sharing the reigns: Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin.

Following weeks of intense negotiations between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, a Programme for Government was published this week with huge investment promised for transport infrastructure in Galway.

However, the document, which was negotiated by party teams involving three Galway representatives, has been met with mixed views locally – with Galway West TD and Fianna Fáil stalwart Éamon Ó Cuív vowing to oppose the deal, warning that it would not be good for Galway or for the West of Ireland in general.

The formation brings together the two Civil War parties in coalition for the first time and would put Micheál Martin in the Taoiseach’s office next weekend, with Leo Varadkar to return to the role in December 2022.

Included in the draft document, which now must be approved by members of the three respective parties, is a 2:1 ratio for investment into public transport over new roads.

The programme – which was negotiated by teams including Galway TDs Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Hildegarde Naughton (FG), and Senator Pauline O’Reilly (Green) – also commits to a ‘Park and Ride’ service for Galway City and prioritisation of rail projects in Galway.

A BusConnects programme for Galway is also promised, similar to that in Dublin where new bus corridors and integrated public transport continue to be developed.

Other commitments for Galway City and County include ‘consideration’ of the long-overdue report on the Western Rail Corridor; continued funding of the Galway to Dublin Greenway; and to commission an economic evaluation of higher speed rail links between Ireland’s five cities.

Outside transport, the coalition partners have pledged to deliver a new radiation oncology unit in Galway and to re-establish the Galway City Community-Based Alcohol Treatment Service.

A number of Fianna Fáil representatives locally have hit out at the draft programme and declared their intention to vote it down, including Deputy Ó Cuív.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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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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