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Treatment of staff at City Hall is slammed

Stephen Corrigan

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The treatment of Council staff at City Hall has been condemned by a Sinn Féin councillor.

Cllr Cathal Ó Conchúir criticised the conduct of some councillors when dealing with employees at City Hall and said that respect, equality and dignity at work are hugely important issues – particularly inflection and projection of voice when dealing with staff.

He told of how in his two years as a city councillor, he had witnessed “perceived intimidation” of full-time workers with the Council.

“We have to be cognisant as councillors of respect of equality at work.

“There is too much intimidation of people and too much shouting at people who work here on a nine to five basis,” said Cllr Ó Conchúir.

He was speaking after a presentation to Galway City Council by Fiona Dunne of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Cllr Billy Cameron (Lab) denounced attitudes towards trade unions in the business community and slammed employers who refuse to recognise them

“The power of unions has been decimated – collective bargaining has been diminished by multinationals; I believe in a living wage and the onus is on us as public representatives to respect the dignity of workers,” he said.

Cllr Cameron also referred to the treatment of workers by Samuel Kingston Construction while the regeneration of Eyre Square was taking place – something which he believed the council should ensure never happens again.

A motion supporting the introduction of a living wage of €11.50 per hour, proposed by Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab), was passed by council.

The motion states: “This council supports the introduction of a Living Wage to all directly engaged, contracted and sub-contracted staff.”

It also recognises the importance of collective bargaining and negotiation with trade unions.

Cllr Frank Flannery (Fine Gael) believed that while the living wage was appropriate, he said it should be an aspiration for start-ups.

“There are conditions where businesses can’t afford to pay €11.50 per hour – sometimes there has to be an exception.

“We have to leave the door open for those in that position,” said Cllr Flannery.

In response to this, Ms Dunne argued that businesses are not the only ones struggling, with some families choosing between eating and sending their children to school.

“We do understand that businesses have their difficulties but there are also struggling families,” she said.

Dunnes Stores workers were highlighted by many councillors and Ms Dunne as an example of the poor treatment of workers and interaction with unions.

Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind) noted that Lidl had started paying employees the living wage and asked the ICTU representative if there had been a similar move from Irish companies like Dunnes.

Ms Dunne informed the council that despite a wage increase a year ago, there had been no improvement of conditions for the Irish supermarket chain’s employees.

“In terms of Dunnes Stores, they increased the hourly rate a year ago but they have reduced the hours of employees there – they don’t talk to unions and don’t go to the Labour Court,” said Ms Dunne.

CITY TRIBUNE

Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail

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A still from the video of the brawl close to the Garda HQ in Renmore.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.

Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.

The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.

The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.

Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.

They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.

Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.

Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.

He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.

Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.

Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.

“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cycle plans for Galway City get bumpy ride from councillors

Francis Farragher

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A computer-generated image of how Eglinton Street would look if restricted for buses and bicycles only.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A €24 million plan to transform the greater urban area into a cycle friendly zone got a bumpy ride when introduced to city councillors at a meeting this week.

Councillors were presented with four consultants’ report outlining a framework for the narrowing of many city roads to facilitate cycle lanes and better pedestrian access.

However, several councillors hit out at the way the cycling proposals which were presented to them just hours before their scheduled meeting.

Former Mayor of Galway, Cllr Frank Fahey (FG) said that it just wasn’t good enough to have to consider such detailed proposals on city transport issues after only being emailed the details that morning shortly after 11am.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind), said that there was no joined-up thinking as regards the proposals and he asked if the residents of the east side of the city were consulted about what was being proposed.

“There is a real issue here with communication and consultation. We have businesses in Salthill that are down €25 million in terms of their business turnover and yet there was no consultation with them. It’s absolutely crazy going forward with no consultation,” said Cllr McDonnell.

Independent Knocknacarra councillor, Donal Lyons said that he had only received these detailed consultants’ reports just four hours before the meeting – he also wanted to know why Salthill was being treated differently to other areas.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the proposals, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Four-storey apartment block planned at Renmore cottage site

Stephen Corrigan

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A computer-generated image of the apartment block and (inset) the cottage at Renmore Road.

Planning permission has been sought to construct a four-storey apartment block and three two-storey homes on a 0.8-acre site off the Renmore Road.

K King Construction Ltd is proposing to demolish the existing cottage at 78 Renmore Road to create access to the site, which backs onto Nolan Park.

The plans include 19 residential units in all, consisting of three detached four-bed houses to the south of the site, adjacent to Dún na Mara; 10 two-bed apartments and six one-bed apartments, to be accessed by a new vehicular entrance road where the cottage currently stands.

According to the planning application, the development would provide “a positive net gain of new residential units on an under-utilised infill plot” on lands which are zoned ‘Residential’ in the City Development Plan.

Some 22 car parking spaces are to be provided on-site – two for each detached house and one space per apartment unit; in addition, 34 covered bicycle parking spaces are provided for.

Each apartment will have a balcony while a children’s playground is proposed for an area south of the apartment block.

The materials and finish of the buildings are to be similar to those used in the adjacent Dún na Mara development that was completed in recent years by the same developer.

The development would include provision for new pedestrian access for residents to Nolan Park/Renmore Playing Fields by utilising “previously inaccessible” recreation and amenity lands.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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