18th June 2014
You may remember that 2 of the 3 appointments to the new VEC committee now known as the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board were filled at the first Council meeting but the majority pact on the Council adjourned the third nomination to see if they could avoid complying with gender regulations.
Happily the clarification received confirmed that they could not and Cllr Terry O’Flaherty was appointed!
Also one or two other issues which came up at the meeting which are worth highlighting:
Regional Cities Bike Share Scheme
Disappointingly the proposed roll out of the ‘Regional Cities Bike Share Scheme’ will not happen this Summer in Galway and the commencement date now seems to be September/October.
As part of this scheme there will be 19 docking stations throughout the City but unfortunatley Salthill is not included.
This gap was highlighted by myself and other Councillors and through City Management we have asked that the National Transport Authority (NTA)who are in charge of this scheme re-look at the locations and include Salthill.
Labour Activation Scheme
We received an update on the operation of this scheme and it was confirmed that 94 ‘applicants’ have been interviewed by Council staff to-date and that they hope to take on 55 people under this scheme by the end of the year following clearance by the Garda Vetting system but no one has been employed to-date.
We were also informed that this is a government initiative to reduce the unemployment figures by providing on the job training for participants who are in receipt of job seekers allowance for a minimum of 24 months. The scheme provides for a fixed term contract o f 22 months between the individual and local authority for 19.5 hours per week and that the placement will not displace any existing core work and will principally focus on outdoor work programmes.
Now just examine this scheme against the background of what has happened: the City Manager (from now on to be called the Chief Executive Officer!) confirmed that the City Council has lost 26% of its staff in the last four years due to cut backs, is prevented by the embargo from hiring staff and even prevented from replacing an employee who is on sick leave and all the while is struggling to provide essential services!
In the circumstances to impose a ‘Labour Activation Scheme’ is total hypocrisy and simply a manipulation of unemployment figures rather than lift the embargo on employment.
Update on the Knocknacarra Community Centre
You may remember that at the last City Council meeting prior to the Local Elections my motion calling on the City Manager not to proceed with the privatisation of this wonderful facility was passed unanimously by all Councillors.
Following this step, it has now been confirmed that there is an advertisement in today’s Galway Independent calling on the Community and/or Interest Groups to submit their proposals to manage and operate this Centre. You will see from this advertisement that any such submission must be in accordance with the criteria set by City Council Management.
So let’s see how this process develops.