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NUIG chair turns down equality meeting request

Dara Bradley



The chair of the Governing Body of NUI Galway has declined to meet elected Oireachtas members over their concerns about the ongoing gender equality issues at the university.

Justice Catherine McGuinness, a former senator and retired Supreme Court judge, says her role as chair of the Governing Body is “very limited”, and she has declined to meet with public representatives about their concerns.

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh wrote to Judge McGuinness seeking a meeting to “discuss concerns raised with me by workers representatives in relation to equality issues and their concerns as to the manner in which the university is addressing these”.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh pointed out that NUIG president Jim Browne has declined a request to meet.

“The President has rebuffed my requests for a meeting . . . I am quite disappointed at the attitude of management to myself and other representatives in this regard. I do not think it is acceptable,” he said before requesting to meet with Judge McGuinness.

Citing sections of the Universities Act, which set out the role of chair of the Governing Body, Judge McGuinness said her role is very limited.

“I am sure that you will appreciate that in these circumstances I do not feel that there is anything practical to be gained by my meeting you to discuss matters of management of the university. I should inform you that I have replied in a similar way to other Teachtaí Dála who have written to me,” she told senator Ó Clochartaigh.

However, the Connemara senator disagrees and has responded to Judge McGuinness. He said the taskforce on gender equality was set up with the imprimatur of the Governing Body, and therefore it has a role.

“I also understand that due to a lack of confidence in the taskforce, unions are advising employees not to co-operate with them. This surely does not augur well for an effective resolution of the issues which the taskforce is purported to address and would need to be examined . . . I am not trying to be vexatious or difficult in my representations, which I believe has been implied in a recent statement from NUIG.

“On the contrary, I believe that the opinions I am sharing indicate that increasing numbers of staff and students are expressing a substantial lack of confidence in the management’s handling of this situation,” he said.

He added that he would like Judge McGuinness to reconsider his meeting request. Judge McGuinness, in January, is quoted as saying achieving gender equality is a “complex problem” and not exclusive to higher education sector.


Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara



Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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