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Minister urged to intervene in NUIG row

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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.”

Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway-Limerick rail service records busiest year since its launch in 2010

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Ceannt Station

The Galway to Limerick intercity rail service enjoyed its busiest year in 2022 since it was re-opened in 2010 at a cost of €110 million.

Passenger numbers on the Western Rail Corridor grew by 14% last year, compared with the last pre-Covid year of 2019.

Supporters said the growth in usage has ‘defied the naysayers’, who argued against the service reopening over a decade ago – and it has reignited the campaign of those in favour of reopening the line from Athenry to Claremorris.

The National Transport Authority has confirmed to former Gaeltacht Minister, Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív, that usage of the Galway/Limerick line grew last year, compared to 2019, by 14.4%.

This was at a time when railway patronage as a whole dropped by an average of 25% on intercity routes. Usage was also down by 35% on commuter trains and fell by 26% on Dart.

The only other lines showing an increase in passenger numbers last year were the Dublin/Tralee service and the Cork/Middleton service which were up by 1.6% and 1.4% respectively.

In 2019, more than 500,000 passengers used the Galway to Limerick route, according to Irish Rail. Growth of 14% last year indicates that patronage has passed the 600,000 mark for the first time.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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