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Investigators unhappy with level of co-operation in €400,000 GMIT probe

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Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)

The investigators hired by Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) to probe a cheating incident at the college, and whether it was covered-up, are not happy with the level of co-operation of senior staff members, who were deemed key witnesses.

The investigation team alleges that “not all relevant correspondence and information relevant to the investigation has been disclosed” to them by GMIT. The team also claims that the investigation, which has cost well over €400,000, was “unnecessarily prolonged” because relevant files were not made available when they started the investigation in Spring 2011.

Extracts of the report of the investigation into plagiarism and possible cover-up reveal that one senior staff member declined to participate as a witness.

The investigation, carried out by Professor Bairbre Redmond of UCD and Mr Ed Madden of NUI Maynooth, was launched in March 2011 and took nearly 30 months to complete at a cost in excess of €400,000.

GMIT President, Michael Carmody, was furnished with the report nine months ago and has so far not published it. The investigation relates to incidents prior to his appointment.

The investigators allege that another senior staff member’s evidence was “at times contradictory, evasive and lacking in candour”.

The investigators claim that there wasn’t “full disclosure” of the incident to the GMIT Governing Body. They point out that a trade union was more in the loop about the case than the Governing Body, which, in theory, oversees the running of the institute.
The investigation team also alleges that GMIT gave information to the media – in response to queries from the Galway City Tribune – that was misleading, and potentially damaged the college’s reputation.

The investigators say emails of Ms Marion Coy, who was GMIT president when the incident occurred and story broke, were deleted. Mr Carmody, informed the investigation team that Ms Coy’s emails were “not available on the GMIT system”.

The investigators make it clear that the deleted emails “might be relevant” to their inquiries. They have recommended that Mr Carmody engages a suitable independent person or organisation to investigate the “deletion of Ms Coy’s email correspondence after she retired from the institute”.

The revelations are contained in extracts of the report of the investigation, obtained by the Galway City Tribune.

The incident under investigation involves a Masters student in the School of Business who obtained an instructor’s manual – which contained model answers to assessment questions – and used the material to cheat in 2009.

The instructor manual could have been legitimately accessible by academic staff online only and was protected by a password. It is alleged the password was passed by a lecturer to the student, who then graduated and is now teaching.

This is the fourth investigation into the incident. The external investigation, according to extracts of the report, appear to be focusing in on whether the incident was “suppressed, concealed or covered up” by staff during internal investigations.

The investigators say the issue would not have been made public without the Galway City Tribune. They say, “the matters at the heart of this investigation are unlikely to have come to light but for the questions raised by the media in late 2010”.

Last month GMIT said it “will not be making any further comment on the report or taking a decision on whether the report is to be published or otherwise until all matters arising from the report are completed.”

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna due to burst watermain

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – There are water outages across Knocknacarra and Barna this morning due to a burst watermain

The burst is in a rising main from Clifton Hill in Galway City to Tonabrucky Reservoir

The city council and Irish Water says while every effort is being made to maintain supply to as many customers as possible, the burst has caused water levels in Tonabrucky Reservoir to deplete

Houses and businesses in Knocknacarra, Barna and surrounding areas will experience low pressure and outages.

Dedicated water service crews have mobilised and repairs are underway and are expected to be completed by mid-afternoon.

Traffic management will be in place and Letteragh Road will be closed between Sliabh Rua and Tonabrucky Cross until 6pm.

Householders and businessses are being asked to conserve water where possible to reduce the pressure on local supplies and allow reservoir levels to restore.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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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