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CITY TRIBUNE

United capable of much better ahead of away league tie against Finn Harps

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Galway United's Stephen Kenny on the ball against Longford Town in last Friday's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

WHERE to now for Galway United? Well, the obvious immediate answer is Donegal, as they head to Ballybofey tonight to take on Finn Harps (8pm), but in terms of the bigger picture of the season, some tough decisions need to be made.

United have been underwhelming so far this season, and while that can be partly excused by the fact that manager, Shane Keegan, has had to rebuild his squad almost from scratch after losing a slew of players following relegation last season, it still doesn’t justify the string of poor performances in their first five league games of the season.

Yes, they are unbeaten in those five games, but they have dropped points against sides – UCD, Drogheda United, and Longford Town – predicted to be battling for promotion honours this season, and they really need to get their campaign going with a win in Finn Park tonight.

At least, last week’s game against Longford produced a clean sheet for the home side – only their second in 38 league matches under Keegan, and just a 5th in 46 league and cup games since the start of the 2017 season – but it was the lone highlight on a dour night in Eamonn Deacy Park.

They go into tonight’s game fourth in the table, four points behind league leaders, UCD, but with the top four at the end of the season all having a part to play in this year’s promotion race, they are still well in the mix at this early stage.

The league winners will be automatically promoted, with the next three sides all taking part in the play-offs. The teams that finished third and fourth will meet in the first play-off game; the winners of that play the team that finishes second; and the winner of that plays the team that finished 9th in the Premier Division.

It’s a long-winded way to get promotion, especially for the side that finishes fourth, so United need to pull their socks up, and a win tonight against Harps would see them do just that.

It might be early stages in the league, but already there would appear to be tough decisions that need to be made by Keegan and his management team, starting with team captain, Ryan Connolly, who has so far this season been a pale shadow of the player who was one of United’s stars in their 2016 Premier Division campaign.

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

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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