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Traders across the county step up free parking drive



Paid-for parking in county towns needs to be reviewed and at least some free time allowed say traders

A County Galway town is stepping up a campaign to introduce two hour free parking in an effort to prevent any further business closures.

It has been suggested by a group in Athenry that Galway County Council hold an emergency meeting to discuss paid parking in towns across the whole county.

The request has come from Sara Walls of the Athenry Revival Group who are now campaigning for free parking in the medieval town in order to save businesses.

The matter has come before several meetings of the five municipal councils across the county with members being told that any agreement would have to apply to every town where paid parking applies.

It is known that senior officials are reluctant to agree to a free parking arrangement as it is a major source of revenue for the local authority. However, they did agree to allowing free parking during certain periods in all towns last Christmas.

But there is a growing campaign across the main towns in County Galway to have a two hour free parking slot in the mornings – or else allow motorist two hours free parking regardless when they come into the towns.

In an email to all councillors, Ms. Walls expressed frustration over the fact that it had not been fully discussed at any Council meeting. She is also not impressed by responses from elected members of Galway County Council.

“As I confer with different county councillors I find that different information is given,” she said.

Referring to Athenry, she said she had scanned the paid-for car park at the church in the town on a recent early afternoon to discover that there were only nine cars parked. In the Church Street road section, there were just five cars there leading her to conclude that paid-for parking was not making money.

“Not only is the pay parking pricing people out of the town but it is probably running at a loss,” she said and asked what revenue was being collected from parking meters in Athenry on an annual basis.

She added: “There does seem to be a very long County Council route to voting on two hour free parking for Athenry.

“Athenry Revival Group is quite clear on the issue; there must be a short route now and the relevant roads county councillors can and should be given instruction to hold a short emergency meeting prior to the full County Council monthly meeting.

“The by-law can be changed very promptly. While I have full respect for anyone who is doing their job well, it is the end of the line for totally unjustified dilly-dallying on the free hour slots.

The slots need to be at any time of day to give true flexibility and choice to users,” Ms. Walls added.

Connacht Tribune

New President for Local Ireland



Left to right, Bob Hughes, Executive Director, Local Ireland, Dan Linehan, Head of Irish Times Regionals and Declan McGuire, Operations Manager of the Connacht Tribune.

The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.

Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.

Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”

Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.

He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.

Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.

Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.

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Connacht Tribune

Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region



Pictured at Regional Insight Series in the Galmont Hotel are: Trevor O’Rourke, (CEO, Fibre Networks Ireland); Senan Colleran, (Head ESB Assets, Generation & Trading, ESB); Eilish O'Sullivan, (Human Resources Director, Medtronic); Danny McCoy, (CEO, Ibec); Helen Leahy, (Head of Regional Policy, Ibec); Ruairi Conroy (Diligent Corporation) and Fergal O’Brien, (Executive Director of Lobbying & Influence, Ibec). PHOTO: Michael Dillon.

The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.

At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.

Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.

“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.

“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.

Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:

  • Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
  • Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
  • Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
  • Investment in people and skills
  • Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
  • Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth




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Connacht Tribune

Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless



Conor Quirke of BOI Payment Acceptance: move to card payments.

One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.

In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.

Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.

Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.

Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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