Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG teaching staff ‘will not cooperate with unsafe work practices’

Stephen Corrigan

Published

on

Unions representing teaching staff at NUI Galway have expressed deep concerns that social distancing will not be possible when classes return at the end of the month.

Guidance issued to third level institutes from the Department of Higher Education recommends that a physical distance of two metres during lectures should be maintained “where possible”, but adds that there will be situations where classes can only be delivered with less than two metres.

In this instance, no less than one-metre distance should be maintained, and face coverings should be worn.

However, over 100 staff members of teaching staff at the university who are members of SIPTU academic section unanimously passed a resolution last Wednesday in which they agreed that they would not cooperate with unsafe work practices.

“The members of SIPTU Academic Section resolve that members will not cooperate with unsafe work practices including one-metre centre-to-centre distancing in teaching venues for students and/or staff, in contradiction of best-practice two metre distance,” states the adopted resolution.

They noted the university’s commitment to ‘prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, students and the wider community above all other considerations’, but concerns remain.

They called on the university to adopt a more “sustainable, low-risk, welfare-based approach, which can be built on cautiously, where any agreed on-campus activity, including teaching and learning will be set at the standard two-metre distance as a default and any decisions on the amount and type of any face-to-face teaching are safety rather than target-driven”.

Their resolution states that SIPTU members are not compelled to work in an environment that jeopardises their safety, or that of the students.

Members resolved to withhold their cooperation until agreement on a physical design and working practice that supports a default two-metre distancing is arrived at and installed.

In a separate letter, sent to the Galway City Tribune from a lecturer who wished to remain anonymous, it’d claimed that NUIG was instructing staff to teach with one-metre distance “as standard, in classroom and theatre situations”.

“This is not about labs or any other scenario where distance is a factor in the practicality of teaching. It’s a gross distortion of the IUA [Irish Universities Association] guidelines, which themselves are an ambiguous stretch of the Government guidelines,” said the lecturer, referring to the IUA’s published interpretation of guidelines which state that only in “exceptional circumstances” should less than two metres be observed.

“Control and decision-making has been centralised; usually, decisions about teaching are made by College Boards, where every academic staff member has a vote, and the Registrar appears in person. There hasn’t been a College Board meeting since before lockdown,” the lecturer writes.

Meanwhile, SIPTU has called on the Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris to provide clarity on how the guidelines, which were published last month, should be implemented.

“Some colleges are proposing continued online learning and others are opting for ‘face-to-face’ learning with one-metre social distancing. It is important that there is a high degree of uniformity and clarity on these guidelines for the sector. Such a clear and coherent approach is all the more necessary in light of the increase in the rate of recorded cases of Covid-19 since the guidelines were first published,” said Adrian Kane, SIPTU’s Public Administration and Community Division Organiser.

A statement from NUIG to the Galway City Tribune outlined that the maximum number of people allowed in a class “will be in accordance with the prevailing public health guidance on indoor gatherings. This may change in accordance with the evolving Covid-19 situation nationally”.

“Our preparations include a range of procedures and protocols to ensure our community’s safety, including social distancing, along with a number of other important control measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

“As required by the ‘Implementation Guidelines for Public Health Measures in Higher Education Institutions’, space on campus, including teaching space will be ‘laid out and managed in order to safeguard the health of both staff and students’. A physical distance of two metres is maintained as default in all campus settings ‘where possible’.

“In all cases, without exception, staff and students will be required to take appropriate mitigation measures, including the wearing of face visors and face masks at all times in indoor settings on campus, as well as adherence to good hygiene etiquette. The university is engaging with academic staff representatives to reach agreement this week on planning parameters.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Advertisement

Weather

Weather Icon
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending