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CITY TRIBUNE

Proposal to resurrect City Council prayer voted down

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Attempts to resurrect the recital of a prayer before every meeting of Galway City Council have failed.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) pushed for a vote on the issue at the latest meeting of the local authority during a discussion on Standing Orders – the rules by which Council meetings are governed.

Cllr Lyons wanted the prayer to be reintroduced at the start of meetings. He said didn’t want the matter to be “divisive”, and he was happy that the matter be voted on, without debate.

In August 2017, councillors voted to replace the recital of a prayer before meetings with a moment of silent reflection.

The new rules came into force at the following September meeting, and silent reflection has replaced the prayer at every meeting since.

The issue of the prayer being reintroduced was discussed at Procedural Committee meetings of the Council again last September.

On Monday, Meetings Administrator Gary McMahon, read into the record the prayer that Cllr Lyons wanted to bring back, which is ‘as Gaeilge’.

The vote was lost by a majority of two to one. Four other councillors (Terry O’Flaherty, Frank Fahy, John Walsh and Declan McDonnell) voted with Cllr Lyons. There were three absent and 10 voted against.

Meanwhile, councillors have agreed to begin their meetings at 3pm for the remainder of this term, which finishes with the local elections in May.

The meetings had been beginning at 4pm for a number of years, but then they fixed them for 2pm to facilitate Council staff, but it has caused difficulties for some elected members.

Cllr Collette Connolly (Ind), a teacher, opposed the earlier starts. She said she couldn’t possibly ask her employer to get time off on Mondays to attend the meetings at 2pm and as such the earlier start times were discriminatory of PAYE workers, and were putting-off certain people from getting involved in local politics. Another Independent, Mike Cubbard, said he too had an issue with the 2pm start. Cllr Maireád Farrell (SF) said it should be left to the incoming Council to decide.

Before a divisive vote on the issue was due to be taken, Cllr Mike Crowe (FF) proposed a compromise start time of 3pm, which was agreed. It was decided that the next City Council, elected in May, can then decide on its own start times.

CITY TRIBUNE

Minister deploys high-level ‘rescue’ team to help University Hospital Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has deployed a high-level National Support Team to help crisis-stricken University Hospital Galway

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer of the Saolta University Healthcare Group – which operates UHG and Merlin Park – confirmed this week that the ‘rescue’ team was in place to tackle overcrowding and delays at the Emergency Department.

Membership of the support team includes at least seven high-level HSE managers, including a hospital consultant.

The team has already met with local staff in charge of patient flow, discharges, bed management and unscheduled care. They will write up an action plan to improve the patient experience, she said.

The hospital has implemented a targeted intervention plan over the past few months to reduce the number of patients on trolleys while awaiting admission to a bed, focusing on timely diagnostics and decision making and the timely discharge of patients.

To achieve this, the hospital had been approved to recruit seven patient flow coordinators, one “data analyst for the acute floor” and one medical social worker.

Management are also in talks to increase bed capacity with the Galway Clinic and the Bon Secours private hospitals.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, and support our journalism, see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also extensive coverage this week of plans for a new cancer Centre of Excellence and the latest meeting of the Regional Health Forum West. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Shoplifting in Galway almost doubles as cost of living crisis takes hold

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The rate of shoplifting in the Galway City has skyrocketed as the cost of living crisis takes hold.

At a public meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Tuesday, it was revealed that the rate of theft from shops in the city had increased by 87% year-on-year.

Chief Data Analyst for the Galway Garda Division, Olivia Maher, said this was in line with a national trend.

“There is some thought that this is as a result of the cost of living crisis and the pressures that people are under as a result – we are seeing these trends at a national level,” said Ms Maher.

She said that overall, property theft had begun to return to pre-Covid levels, with 1,264 incidents in the first 10 months of 2022 – a 50% increase on the same period last year.

“Property crime is beginning to reach pre-Covid figures and while it’s up on last year, it’s down 5% on the 2019 figure.

“Burglary is still trending below pre-Covid figures at 107 compared to 192 in 2019,” said Ms Maher.

An increased awareness of fraud was resulting in a reduction in a number of categories, including accommodation fraud, something that typically affects the city’s third level students.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Knocknacarra Educate Together NS mark World Children’s Day

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune Schools’ Pages – World Children’s Day is celebrated each year on November 20 – it is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.

For the pupils of Knocknacarra Educate Together National School, this day is about teaching children about their rights and raising awareness of how they can use them.

They demonstrated this by hosting the Happy Hour on University of Galway’s FlirtFM 101.3 last Tuesday.

6th Class student Leon said: “We are hoping to raise awareness of children’s rights, mainly because some children may not know what they even are. Not all children know that they have rights. We want to help children understand what they deserve.”

The day is also an opportunity to draw attention to important issues affecting children locally, nationally and on an international level.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of when Ireland first signed the Children’s Rights Charter in 1992. This charter contains 42 articles which specifically outline the rights of the child. These include the rights to an education, to play, to access health care, to have a voice, to have protection from violence and to have a decent standard of living.

To acknowledge this important event, Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, visited the school to learn about its school’s three-year journey to become formally recognised as a Child Rights School. It will be the first school in Galway to earn the UNICEF Child Rights Ribbon.

As part of this work, each class has created their own charter which is an agreement on how the rights of the child will be made real in their classrooms. This links to article four on the Convention of the rights of the child ‘Making Rights Real’.

The whole school has a fortnightly focus on the different articles within the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

This involves highlighting child-friendly information and activities which enable children to explore children’s rights in their classes.

Children have learnt about experiences of children from other countries and shared their thoughts and views. The have explored how the articles from the Convention impact them in their lives and discussed why each one is important. The articles which we have learnt about as a school this year to date are as follows:

Article 12 – Respect for Children’s Views

Article 14 – Freedom of Thought and Religion

Article 15 – Setting Up or Joining Groups.

Article 38 – Protection in War

Article 39 – Recovery and Reintegration

The Student Council are also busy translating the school policies into more child-friendly language in order to make school information accessible for all.

Dexter, a student in third class, said: “I feel happy and feel more important than I did before. I thought I had to always listen to the adults. I feel like I have a chance to speak for myself now.”

For more information, see HERE

■ This article was written by the Child Rights Committee and Student Council at Knocknacarra Educate Together National School.

See the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune for photos and news from Knocknacarra Educate Together NS; St Patrick’s Primary School and Oranmore Boys’  School. You can send us news from your city primary or secondary school for inclusion in our weekly ‘Class Act’ pages to schools@ctribune.ie

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