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GMIT staff boiling mad over Barry’s tea ban

Dara Bradley

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Anger is brewing in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) over penny-pinching policies to ban cups of tea and coffee at meetings – unless visitors are present.

The new hospitality rules, which include rationing hot beverages, have caused a stir among staff since being introduced by college president Fergal Barry.

Among the cost-cutting measures that have left a sour taste include an outright ban on the provision of tea, coffee and food at internal meetings unless “external visitors” are present.

When visitors are present and hospitality is provided for staff, refreshments are still restricted to a ratio of two members of staff per one external visitor.

And even then limits apply: the rules state that, “when applying the two staff to one external visitor ratio a maximum of six staff applies.”

The controversial hospitality diktat states: “The provision of tea/coffee/food for internal meetings must not occur unless there are external visitors present at the meeting.”

It says: “Lunches may be offered to employees who have been identified by prior approval to act as hosts to guests of the institute”. In both instances a “two staff to one visitor” ratio applies.

The policy adds: “Non-alcoholic beverages may be offered to employees required to work through ‘breaks’ but must be restricted to where dispersal of participants during a break period is not desirable.”

The matter was discussed at a GMIT branch meeting of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland trade union yesterday where the new policy was described as “petty and ridiculous”.  When contacted, GMIT TUI branch secretary, Nigel Morgan, said the union had no official comment to make.

“When this directive arrived from the President we all thought April Fool’s Day had come early,” said a senior GMIT staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity.

She added: “Staff are incredulous at his decision to ban tea and coffee from all institute meetings unless there are visitors present and to then restrict it to two staff members per visitor. What are we to do from now on? Ask a visitor coming to the institute to bring a friend as otherwise only two of us will be able to share a pot of tea with them?

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
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

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
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

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
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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