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Hotels blast back at ‘widespread abuse’ claims



Hoteliers in Galway have rejected claims of employee abuse.

The hospitality industry in the city has rubbished claims by a Galway senator of “widespread abuse” of conditions, payments and rights for younger and non-national workers.

Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has claimed workers’ rights are being undermined – wages are being withheld; tips are not being distributed properly; they are being verbally abused by management and there are no proper breaks. He added that if a complaint is made, workers are sacked.

However, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) have both refuted the allegations, branding them “without foundation”, encouraging employees to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission if they have a grievance.

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the RAI said: “Tell us who they are and we will name them and shame them. I have no problem doing that. I’m in Romania at the moment trying to recruit staff because of a shortage in Ireland. The last thing I want is an employer abusing staff back home and creating the wrong impression.”

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said this week: “It is totally unacceptable that ruthless employers would flagrantly abuse employment law in the way that they are and that a culture of fear is being created to discourage employees from reporting this type of conduct to the relevant authorities, which I firmly believe is the case.

“There are reports of people not getting proper breaks, the withholding of wages, tips not being distributed properly to staff, people on fixed sums being made to work hours over and above those agreed and threats of hours being reduced, or people being sacked if a staff member complains about the conditions.

“I have been told of widespread abuse happening in the hospitality sector in Galway,” he said.“It is quite clear that young people and non-nationals bear the brunt of a lot of the unacceptable treatment, but behaviour of this type in relation to any staff member is simply not good enough.

“I would urge workers who are being abused in their workplace to come forward to the relevant authorities, or to elected representatives to get advice on how this should be tackled,” said Senator Ó Clochartaigh.

In statements to the Galway City Tribune, the IHF and RAI organisations both rubbished the allegations.

RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said: “The RAI totally refute the issues raised by Senator Ó Clochartaigh. Under Irish Law any employee has the right to raise concerns with Workplace Relations which provides information on industrial relations and rights and obligations under Irish employment and equality legislation. I would advise any employee to take this route if they have any concern.

“Over the last five years, not one member of the RAI has been found guilty of any of the allegations that Senator Ó Clochartaigh has raised. I would be delighted to find out what employers Senator Ó Clochartaigh is referring to.”

The IHF said it “refutes these assertions entirely”.

“Irish hotels have a well-earned reputation for excellence as employers and are committed to the highest standards in looking after their employees.

“People working in Irish hotels are among the most highly protected workers in Europe, and this applies equally to all workers regardless of age or nationality.”

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots



Galway roots...Pat Connaughton.

An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.

The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.

Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”

One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.

“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.

“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”

Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists



Ireland rowers (from left) Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Eimear Lambe from Dublin, Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen and Emily Hegarty from Cork celebrate on the podium with their Olympic bronze medals after the Women's Four final at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’

At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.

It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.

Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.

As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.

It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.

Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.

Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from   

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Connacht Tribune

Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star



Cillín Greene's parents Sinead and Cole and sisters Iarlaith (left) and Miriam above the Olympic flag on the Nine Arches in Claregalway. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.

On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.

He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.

Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.

“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.

“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.

Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.

But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.

The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.

See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from

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