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Minister urged to intervene in NUIG row



Unionised workers at NUI Galway are ‘angry and frustrated’ by university management’s refusal to attend the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) to resolve a dispute over an equality taskforce.

SIPTU and IFUT, who represent up to 1,000 academic and non-academic staff at NUIG, have called on Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan to intervene in the dispute by urging management to attend the LRC.

The two unions have insisted the equality taskforce established by the university to tackle endemic gender discrimination within NUIG is not independent. The unions this week reiterated their members have “no confidence” in that taskforce and have urged management to attend the LRC to discuss the issues.

NUIG president, Jim Browne, called a meeting with union representatives recently where he updated them on the progress being made by the equality taskforce that was appointed in February.

The taskforce, which issued an interim report in June, was criticised by unions from the beginning for not being independent. They also argued it would not be effective.

At the recent meeting, Mr Browne stood by the taskforce and told unions management would not be attending LRC.

In a statement, issued by SIPTU and on behalf of IFUT, the unions said they were “astonished” that NUIG, a publicly funded organisation, would “completely disregard the State’s industrial relations machinery”.

SIPTU organiser, Noel Maguire, told the Galway City Tribune that NUIG workers had no confidence in management to resolve this dispute internally.

“We heard nothing new at this meeting. Management presented a version of events that denies current and historical reality. Oblivious to the extent of the problem, Jim Browne, sought to lecture staff representatives on management’s ‘bravery’ and ‘achievements’ on equality.

“We believe that the meeting was not held in good faith. It is our view that the management strategy was more about simulating engagement, while in reality trying to frustrate any input from worker representatives. Our members have no confidence in NUIG management to resolve this problem internally.

“For a proper investigation of these matters the intervention of an independent third party is required. The refusal by management to accept this is a further demonstration of its abject fear of independent scrutiny on this subject.”

Mr Maguire said both unions were ready to discuss the issues at LRC. He added: “If the President is serious about ending discrimination and is genuine about co-operating with unions, then agreeing to attend the LRC would restore some semblance of confidence.

“Our members are frustrated at the toxic environment they face every day; they are losing patience with management’s arrogant and obstructive attitude and are demanding action.”


Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport



From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Pamela’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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