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NUIG Equality task force flawed from the outset – Ó Clochartaigh

24 February, 2015

Irish Version Follows - Leagan Gaeilge Thíos

Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has expressed serious concerns about the composition of the Task Force being set up to investigate Equality Issues at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).

He says:

“Matt Carthy MEP, Councillor Anna Marley and myself have made numerous attempts to meet with the NUIG President, Jim Browne and the University's Executive to discuss the legitimate issues raised with us by union representatives in relation to Equality issues in the college and he has rebuffed our requests, which we find both worrying and disappointing.

“SIPTU had outlined their concerns to us that the review being undertaken needed to be an independent, external one. SIPTU'S stance is supported by the Irish Federation of University Teachers and the Students Union. That request for an entirely external, independent review was rejected by the university. It was also outlined that the makeup of any Task Force should be agreed with union and worker representatives in advance and that has also been dismissed.

“The arrogant attitude that the University management has taken on this issue and in their approach to elected representatives is extremely worrying. I would have serious concerns that the findings of their proposed Task Force will be undermined by their lack of independence and that the process is flawed before it begins.

“It is clear to me from statements made by representatives of the Higher Education Authority in an Oireachtas sub-committee that the Equality issues of concern in NUIG are common across the Higher Education sector. I believe that we will hear of more equality issues in relation to NUIG in the near future and that these will all need to be addressed in a comprehensive and transparent manner. I believe that should be done sooner rather than later.  

“The proposed timeline for NUIG's Taskforce of 18-24 months as well as the manner in which it has been set up means that it is not fit for purpose to deal with these issues in a timely and efficient manner.

“It is our intention in Sinn Féin to pursue this matter further, through whatever channels are appropriate to get a satisfactory response to the genuine concerns raised by staff with us.”

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