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Galway childcare standards exposed

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The standard of childcare facilities at all of Galway’s pre-schools, playschools and crèches is laid bare in the Health Service Executive West’s inspection outcome reports, which have been made public for the first time.

The reports, which are now available for parents to view online, catalogue a litany of bad practices, and in some cases dangerous practices, by some of city’s and county’s well known childcare facilities.

Most of the inspection outcome reports, of around 100 facilities in Galway, show full compliance with childcare guidelines, and others were found to have what might be categorised as minor breaches.

However, several of the facilities inspected had questionable practices – the condition of the buildings was dangerous in some instances, in others there were problems with hygiene practices that was putting children at risk, and others had inadequate ratios of staff to children, while in some cases the staff hadn’t been vetted by Gardaí to work with children.

The HSE only just published the Galway inspection reports online in the wake of shock and outrage over the treatment of toddlers in three crèches in Dublin and Wicklow captured by secret cameras by an RTÉ Prime Time investigation.

Some of the reports, seen by the Galway City Tribune, could cause disquiet among parents about the quality of care their children are receiving. The childcare providers responded to the concerns of the HSE and outlined measures taken to rectify the problem.

In one childcare facility there were insufficient staff working on the day, vetting procedures of staff were not completed and employee references for staff were not kept. The same facility was not meeting the basic needs of children on several counts including eating and drinking, nappy changing and sleeping.

Toddlers were observed being given “steaming hot food”; snacks were served directly onto table tops in all rooms; regular hand-washing by children was not observed.

Nappy changing facilities were “substandard” and the sleep facilities were “not adequate”. There was peeling paint in the baby room posing a hazard; “there was a hanging cord from a baby monitor and lamp within reach of babies”.

Staff at the facility, “did not always demonstrate sensitivity, warmth and positive regard for the children. In particular, a staff member in the baby room spoke with a raised voice.”

The building itself was in a poor state of repair – “communal areas and some rooms in the service were dirty and posed a risk of infection”.

 

 For more on this story, see the 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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