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CITY TRIBUNE

Governing Body told to google proposed new NUIG President

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Members of the Governing Body of NUI Galway were told to ‘google’ information about the university’s new President – at the meeting in which they approved the appointment.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh was ratified as the university’s new President by the Governing Body of NUIG at its meeting last September. He replaced Dr James Browne in January.

The meeting was given a short report about the recruitment process for the appointment of a new president, including the work of the search committee, the selection committee and the role of an international recruitment company, Perrett Laver.

They were then informed that the selection committee was recommending Prof Ó hÓgartaigh.

Members were given a “short bio” of the preferred candidate at the end of the written report, but this was not sufficient for some members, according to minutes of the meeting, released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

“Some members expressed the view that they had expected a more comprehensive report on the presidency recruitment process than that tabled for the Údarás meeting. They stated that they would have welcomed more information in the report such as the personal vision of the preferred candidate, his research experience and standing, his CV, assessment criteria applied during the competition and the identity of the shortlisted candidates. A few members at this point in the meeting, thought themselves unable to support the ratification of the preferred candidate for appointment as President without recourse to further information,” the minutes said.

In response, Gearóid Ó Conluain, secretary of NUIG, said 33 colleagues from the Governing Body, the Academic Council and externally, had a role in the recruitment process. He said that the process of selection had been agreed previously with the Údarás.

Mr Ó Conluain added the selection committee had been entrusted by the governing body to recommend the best possible applicant for appointment and he warned “they should not be second guessed in the work that they had carried out in that regard”.

A discussion about the identify of Prof Ó hÓgartaigh having been “widely known” on campus prior to it being made officially known to the governing body ensued.

A motion to ratify Prof Ó hÓgartaigh was subsequently put to the meeting and it was “agreed without any reservation”.

Following his ratification by Údarás, members of the governing body discussed the recruitment process for the presidency.

During this discussion, Cathaoirleach Justice Catherine McGuinness, “advised members interested in acquiring more information on Prof Ó hOgartaigh, than that presented in the short bio before the meeting, ‘Google’ him as she had drawn down quite an amount of information on that basis”.

The then incoming Student Union President, Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, attending his first Údarás meeting, “expressed a degree of discomfiture regarding the ratification of the new president without some understanding of the vision the new president would have for the student body.”

Justice McGuinness said students had contributed to the work of two committees that were “indispensable” to the competition process.

In response Mr Ó Conluain said the previous SU President and other students had “exercised strong leadership” in helping to shape the advice of the committees on the desirable attributes of a new appointee, including a vision for students.

The meeting took a short break at this point, and when they reconvened, a governing body member who was also on the selection committee said the new president was an “exceptional candidate”, whose appointment should be acclaimed by the Údarás.

She called for a “bualadh bos (applause)” in recognition of this. Another member asked the meeting to record a “céad mile fáilte” to the new president.

The minutes added: “A round of applause ensued and the discussion concluded”.

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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