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NUIG suspends ‘misogynistic’ menstrual questioning process

Dara Bradley

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Following revelations in this morning’s Galway City Tribune, NUI Galway authorities have suspended a controversial questionnaire which asks prospective employees about their menstrual cycle.

The exclusive story – which went on to lead today’s national news agenda – revealed that questions were being asked such as: “Do you suffer with any problems with your menstrual periods? Do you suffer any breast problems? Have you ever been treated for gynaecological problems?”

The questionnaire asks over 40 questions about the health of someone who has applied for, and offered, a position at the university.

It also asks if “you have ever suffered prostate problems?”

Following huge media attention, NUIG this afternoon said authorities have suspended the pre-screening questionnaire and said they will review the process to ensure it follows best practice in the area.

Here is the full story from this morning’s Galway City Tribune:

Questions contained in NUI Galway’s occupational health questionnaire for prospective employees have been described as “invasive”, “misogynistic” and “excessively personal”.

The university has defended its occupational health ‘pre employment health assessment’ forms which ask female job applicants about their menstrual cycle.

Among the questions asked are: “Do you suffer with any problems with your menstrual periods? Do you suffer any breast problems? Have you ever been treated for gynaecological problems?”

The questionnaire asks over 40 questions about the health of someone who has applied for, and offered, a position at the university.

It also asks if “you have ever suffered prostate problems?”

NUIG, according to the questionnaire, says that the questions are necessary to establish if the appointee is “fit for the job”.

If he or she can, “carry out the job without any undue risk to the health and safety of themselves or others at work”.

And that NUIG “will have reasonable expectation that the appointee will provide regular attendance at work until retirement”.

“The questions are invasive,” said one senior lecturer at the third level institute.

“Particularly for women, the questions are borderline misogynistic. They are such an invasion of privacy it is unbelievable. Why are the menstrual periods of women workers of concern to NUI Galway? If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, what are the consequences? It is a breach of privacy.”

NUI Galway has defended use of the forms.

In a statement NUI Galway said: “On appointment to a position the university issues an individual with a pre-employment health assessment form, among others, for completion. The form is in line with forms used for employment purposes.

“The form is completely confidential and returned by the individual to the university Occupational Health Physician directly. The HR office does not have sight of or record of the completed form.

“A confirmation is simply received of medical fitness for duty or not. The form was introduced a number of years ago by an Occupational Health Physician to replace the medical consultation on appointment.”

Gender inequality issues have been to the fore at NUIG recently. Serious concerns have been raised about the institution’s record on gender equality following Equality Tribunal findings in favour of female lecturers, Sheehy-Skeffington and Dempsey, who were discriminated against. Findings of a HEA survey on gender balance also found serious shortcomings on the part of NUIG. NUIG set up a task force to investigate equality issues but this has been criticised by staff from the outset.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh yesterday said in light of the string of gender balance and equality issues that have emerged at NUIG, he is “extremely concerned” at the type of “misogynist and invasive” questions contained in its occupational health assessment. “It appears excessively intrusive, and it gives rise to gender balance issues, bias and discrimination on grounds of sex and also issues of data protection,” he said.

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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