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Repeat fees hike to boost NUIG coffers by €200,000



The cost to students of NUI Galway who fail exams and have to repeat has increased by more than 50% this year.

Students repeating examinations this summer were hit with a €100 increase in repeat exams’ fees – the new rate is €295.

NUIG hopes to raise €200,000 from the measure.

The fees hike was fiercely resisted by student leaders but was agreed following a vote by Údarás na hOllscoile, the university’s governing authority, which is responsible for managing and controlling all affairs of NUIG.

The issue of increasing fees on repeat exams was divisive, and split the Governing Body.

According to minutes of the Governing Body’s December meeting, “strong views” were put forward for and against the fees increase.

“Exchanges were heated at times and the discussion often circulatory as both sides of the argument were explored,” the minutes record.

The minutes were released to the Galway City Tribune under Freedom of Information (FOI).

The President of the Students Union, who was then Phelim Kelly, was supported by some members when he said the “proposed increase in repeat examination fees was simply a revenue raising measure to take advantage of the misfortune of students”.

The university Bursar pointed out the projected income from repeat exams was about €200,000, which was “3% of the €7 million loss of income which the university was endeavouring to manage”.

Some members at the meeting said repeat exams “imposed a high administrative burden” on NUIG, and they “questioned whether the fees were high enough to incentivise examination pass rates.”

Cathaoirleach of the Governing Body, Catherine McGuinness, according to the minutes, said NUIG failure rates were “too high”, which was “due in part at least to some students not applying themselves to their study”.

Two members were “outraged” by this comment and repeated the view that the fee increase was “opportunistic and insensitive”.

The meeting was told that if the increase was not passed, they would have to find €200,000 “via other cuts”.

There was a “strong statement” from the An Meabhránaí (registrar) and Uachtarán Ionaid (deputy president), who said the university, “was not profiteering from students and that some students were strategically defaulting on their fees”.

A proposal was put to the meeting that the proposed fees increase be rejected. Ten members voted in favour and 17 voted against.

A subsequent motion to increase the fee by €100, bringing it to €295 was then passed. The motion included ‘free remission’ measures in the order of €100-€200 for disadvantaged students. Some 20 approved the motion and six voted against.

However, that was not the end of the matter and it was raised again at the following February meeting.

The SU President claimed the December minutes “omitted to make full reference to remarks made by An Cathaoirleach in relation to high examination failure rates”.

The secretary said the minutes captured the views expressed and that minutes were not supposed to be stenographic.

Mr Kelly said that he found the chairperson’s comments at the previous meeting, in relation to student failure rates, to be “personally distressing” and it was “not appropriate” for a chairperson to make those remarks.

The minutes were then altered to show: “One of the members who expressed outrage at the comment was of the view that the comment should not have been expressed”.

Under matters arising from the minutes, Mr Kelly referred to a letter he had received from the university Bursar relating to fees. The letter was “cold and stark”, he said.

“He stated he was being put in an invidious position with his membership,” the minutes state of student voice, Mr Kelly.

NUIG President, Jim Browne said he understood his point of view but the matter “had been decided and was therefore closed”.

Following a discussion, Mr Browne offered to meet with the Student Union Council to “appraise members” of the decision to increase repeat fees.

At a subsequent strategic planning committee meeting, Mr Kelly said it was “insulting” for him that he could not raise the issue of repeat fees on the Governing Body agenda.

He said students were “deeply unhappy with the increase in fees” and the Students Union would return to the issue after the Summer repeats are finished.


No end in sight for work on junction near Galway Clinic



From the Galway City Tribune – The City Council has declined to set a date for the completion of the Martin roundabout replacement near Galway Clinic – which was due to have opened more than a month ago.

In a statement, the Council would only confirm that the project was over 50 per cent completed.

“The project is now progressing to the surface type works including the installation of roadside kerbs, provision of footpaths and cycle lanes and road surfacing. These elements of the works will progress quite rapidly over the next month and there will be more of an appreciation for the progress on this project and the final layout will start to become apparent,” said a spokesperson.

“Ducting and preparatory works for the traffic signal installation is in progress and installation of the lights themselves will commence once the majority of surface works are complete. The final phase of the works will consist of significant landscaping of the junction.”

Work began on the junction in February, with an expected six-month schedule.

“There have been some delays to the programme as a result of industry-wide, supply-chain issues related to the war in Ukraine. There has also been further delays due to rock being encountered on site.

Rock was expected, however the hardness of the rock has been greater than anticipated and as such, has been slower to break and excavate on site,” according to the Council.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article and to support our journalism, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway Docklands Festival set to make a big splash in the city!



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The city’s link to the sea is to be celebrated later this month with the staging of the inaugural Galway Docklands Festival featuring a range of culinary treats, sea tours, demonstrations and talks.

Running from the weekend of Friday, October 21 to Sunday, October 23, the event has the aim of celebrating the city’s bond with the sea and the local waterways network.

Organised by the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, Galway Bay Boat Tours and Galway Bay Seafoods, the spectacle has a packed schedule of events – many of them free – through each of its three days.

The ‘pay events’ – ranging from €5 to €15 – include a coffee morning, beer and seafood sampling as well as an historical boat tour of the Claddagh and Galway Bay (€15).

Boatbuilder Cóilín Ó hIarnáin will be giving free demonstrations of his skills on each of the three days; Ciaran Oliver will give a walking tour of the seafront (€10); while there will also be a free Galway Hooker rigging demonstration.

For the more adventurous, there are supervised powerboard ‘taster spins’ (€10) while for ‘the foodies’ the Galway Bay Seafoods fish’n’chips, the Hooker beer and seafood sampling, as well as the family cooking demonstrations – all priced at €10 each – look set to be big attractions.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Mayor told to stay away from homecoming over funding snub



From the Galway City Tribune – The Mayor of Galway was asked to stay away from homecoming celebrations for extreme adventurer Damian Browne, the Galway City Tribune understands.

Mayor Clodagh Higgins was told that she was not to attend the event at the Docks on Tuesday as there had been disappointment in the ‘Project Empower’ camp that funding had not been made available from Galway City Council.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that Project Empower, which is led by Voluntary Manager MacDara Hosty, applied for €30,000 in funding from the local authority’s Marketing Fund in September 2021, but was deemed ineligible.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council confirmed this week that Project Empower did not meet the criteria set down by the fund which seeks to support the holding of major events and festivals in the city.

In documents seen by this newspaper, Project Empower proposed that Galway City Council be the title partner at a cost of €30,000 plus VAT.

The Tribune understands that the Council’s refusal to provide this funding was at the root of the Mayor’s snub on Tuesday, which drew attention online as members of the public questioned her absence.

When contacted, the Mayor refused to be drawn on questions relating to the Marketing Fund, but said it was her intention to offer a Civic Reception to Damian Browne at the nearest opportunity.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story and extensive coverage of Damian Browne’s homecoming, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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