Dáil Questions: Education

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The Minister is missing the point of the Question, the workers unions at NUI Galway have no confidence in this task force which has little experience in these issues and has produced what is a weak list of recommendations. An independent inquiry needs to be established to investigate the culture of gender discrimination, intimidation and bullying at NUI Galway.   

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills in view of the damage to the reputation of the National University of Ireland by recent high profile discrimination against female academic staff and applicants at NUI Galway, if she will back SIPTU’s call for an Independent Equality Review.
Clare Daly

For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 30th June, 2015.
Reference Number: 25700/15

Minister Jan O’Sullivan

I have previously expressed my concerns regarding the very serious shortcomings identified by the Equality Tribunal in the case brought be Dr Sheehy-Skeffington against NUI Galway. However, the response of NUI Galway in unreservedly accepting the ruling of the Tribunal and in establishing a Task
Force to address related issues is to be welcomed. I have repeatedly stated my view that having the broadest possible support for the Task Force is central to its important work and I continue to urge NUIG to ensure that every effort is made to achieve that goal.

I understand the Task Force has already made a number of recommendations to the Governing Authority of NUIG, including –

– the creation of a new post of vice-president of equality and diversity, reporting to the President and responsible for developing gender equality policies, career development paths for women and identifying “gender champions”,
– ensuring all management bodies, promotions committees and interview boards comprise a minimum of 40 per cent women,
– the review of all promotion and progression procedures by an external expert by the end of October, and
– the rollout of compulsory “unconscious bias” training.

I’m sure the Deputy will agree that these are important preliminary recommendation and I understand the Governing Authority has accepted them in their entirety. I now expect the Governing Authority to implement these, and any further recommendations of the Task Force, as a matter of urgency.