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CITY TRIBUNE

Uninsured driver jailed after nabbed in four different cars

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A 43-years-old father of five shouted abuse at a Judge who had imposed an eight-month sentence on him for continuous driving offences, at Galway District Court.

“You’d want to get the right brother – I didn’t rob your house,” the defendant roared at Judge Mary Fahy, before being surrounded by a large number of Gardaí and led away.

“Eight months for what? I didn’t rob your house.”

Trevor Harlowe, with an address at 74 Corrach Buí, Rahoon, had pleaded guilty to having no insurance on a number of occasions, with not wearing a seat belt, and driving with a mobile phone.

Garda Kieran Quinn told the court that he was on duty in the early hours of November 6 2016 when he stopped the Opel Astra driven by Harlowe, and demanded to see his insurance.

In a separate incident, in January, he was detected driving a different car at a speed of 85km in a 50km zone along the Quincentenary Bridge. He was found to be without a seatbelt, and he had no insurance again on this occasion.

In April, in a third car, he was stopped at a checkpoint and found to have had no insurance again, and the vehicle was seized. On July 23 last, a Garda stopped him driving a fourth vehicle while using a mobile phone.

“He had four different vehicles – seizing them doesn’t seem to be any punishment for him,” Judge Fahy remarked.

The court heard that Harlowe had 40 previous convictions, among them five for driving without insurance, the last of which was imposed in 2012.

His solicitor, Sean Acton, told the court that his client technically had had insurance in 2016, but that this policy was not worth the paper it was printed on.

“He had been asked to disclose any convictions he’d had in the previous five years, but he didn’t,” he said.

“He had cover, but it was like throwing money into the abyss, it was useless, he had even made a down-payment of €1,400 on it.

“The policy was not cancelled, but this would have rendered it void. If something had happened, the insurance company would have used this as a ‘get-out clause.’”

He asked the court to consider a Community Service order for his client, considering that he had five children, and was now “a marked man.”

The Judge, however, said that Harlowe’s continuous level of offending was proof that he had not learned his lesson.

“The first time he was unable to produce his insurance should have stopped him in his tracks, but he continued on,” she said.

“Once is bad enough, twice is getting worse, but three or four times, that’s totally reckless.”

She imposed a total of eight months imprisonment, and a five-year driving disqualification.

Recognisances were fixed, in the event of an appeal, on his own surety of €400, and an independent surety of €400, half to be lodged in each case.

Free legal aid was granted.

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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