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Worker right to quit over non-payment of wages

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A worker who was deemed to be ‘right’ to quit his job because of non-payment of wages at a County Galway joinery installation company was awarded more than €15,000 in compensation.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has ruled that Burke Fabrications Limited in Milltown breached trust of employee Kevin Kilkerr by failing to or refusing to pay him wages that were due over a three year period.

The company argued that Mr Kilkerr left his employment and was not dismissed but he took his case to the Tribunal arguing that was not getting paid over a period of three years and had no option but to leave his employment.

Mr Kilkerr started work in October 2009. On February 2010 his pay cheque was returned by the bank. He told the Tribunal he had regular discussions with the company director about not receiving his pay.

The pay issues continued and in September 2012, the company, in response to letters requesting payment, replied to say that he would receive all monies due.

Mr Kilkerr took a case to the Rights Commissioner and was compensated €5,000; and he left employment due to the conduct of his employer.

Burke Fabrications Limited told the Tribunal that the claimant was paid up to date at the time he left work. The Tribunal heard that the business had experienced difficult years but it had now started to improve.

During the difficult times Mr Kilkerr’s hours varied each week; the company admitted there had been issues with PRSI and PAYE in relation to the claimant in the past but all contributions had been brought up to date.

The Tribunal ruled Mr Kilkerr was justified in resigning his employment due to the company’s failure to pay his wages.

It said: “When an employee provides labour and services to an employer it is reasonable for the employee to expect to be paid for its labour and or services. In the present case the respondent, over a long period of time, made part payment of wages to the claimant and furthermore requested that the claimant return to his workplace, on a promise that wages due and owing would be sorted out.

“The claimant did not return to work as the mutual trust, which is an essential component of the contract of employment, was breached so many times by the respondent’s promise to pay his wages and then failing or refusing to do so. False promises, delayed and inconsistent part payments from the employer do not dilute the breach of trust between the employee and employer.”

He was awarded €14,000 under the Unfair Dismissals Act, and €1,212 under the Working Time Act.

Connacht Tribune

Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run

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A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.

He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.

The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda

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Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.

He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.

Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.

In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.

There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.

The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.

Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.

Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.

In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.

He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway

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Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.

That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.

“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.

“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.

“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.

“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.

Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.

“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker.  Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.

“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.

“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.

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