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CITY TRIBUNE

Varadkar asks about progress on 2020 plans

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar...reasons to be cheerful.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has met with the Galway 2020 committee to “see for himself the progress to date in preparing for Galway 2020”.

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan confirmed the Government’s commitment to provide €15 million in funding for the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) project.

However, there have been rumblings among councillors that less than two years out from the event, little progress has been made in terms of securing its €46m budget needed to deliver the year-long programme.

Announcing the visit by her party leader, Fine Gael Deputy Hildegarde Naughton said Galway 2020 has the full support of Government.

“The Taoiseach decided to meet with the event organisers in Galway to see for himself the progress to date in preparing for Galway 2020 and offer his support.”

The €15m grant from the Government will be the largest single contribution to the overall cost of the project.

The Government is likely to keep a close eye on the project following the last big arts project in the city. A private company is now running the Pálás arthouse cinema in the Spanish Arch paying a rent of €1 for the first 25 years of the lease – even though it was built with €8.4m of taxpayers’ money.

The balance of the funding for ECOC is to be sourced from city and county local authorities (€6m each), the Melina Mercouri prize of €1.5 million from the European Commission and corporate sponsorship.

The local business community committed to increased commercial rates for three years to support the delivery of Galway 2020 – which forms part of the City Council’s contribution.

“The European capital of culture is not a festival. It is an entire year of activity which will be transformative for Galway and region. It will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of our citizens, as well as increasing tourism to the city and region,” Deputy Naughton noted.

“Its benefit will be felt for very many years, as it will leave a legacy in the form of improvements to infrastructure, increases in visitor numbers, and invaluable enhancement to our international reputation as a place to visit, invest, work and live,” said Deputy Naughton.

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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