Author Archives: mich3c

Mediation extended!

The Irish Examiner has reported that the mediation between the four female lecturers taking High Court cases and NUI Galway has been extended for another two weeks!  It seems our previous post on Tuesday reporting how it had failed and detailing what we had heard about NUI Galway’s Machiavellian moves may have done some good! We hope this time NUI Galway have the sense to treat the women seriously. As we made clear in our last post, in the short term NUI Galway may have gained by stopping our demo outside the High Court against their hypocrisy, but in the long term they were worse off because the campaign was not going to go away. We would be there demonstrating at the next hearing, when ever it happened, and in the mean time Micheline would be touring the US telling everyone about the gender discrimination at NUI Galway and then making a documentary about it.

All five of the female lecturers have a very strong case. So they are right to stand firm and insist on getting what ever they’re asking for. Most of the facts that Micheline used for her Equality Tribunal win applies equally to them. In fact one of the women has an even stronger case as she was ranked higher than Micheline by the examination board. She was ranked highest of those not promoted. Because Micheline’s case revealed that one of the men promoted wasn’t even eligible to apply, this woman opted to take a Labour Court case rather than the expense of the High Court, arguing that she should be promoted in his stead. We hear that case is also on hold, presumably while the mediation with the four happens.

We in the campaign are not privy to what is going on in the mediation but we wish them all well. What they are doing is very brave. High Court proceedings are very expensive and NUI Galway has bottomless pockets. But NUI Galway also really cares about its reputation and there’s a lot of scandal which will be exposed in any public court cases.

If you haven’t done so already, please support the filming of Micheline’s US tour for the documentary by clicking the picture opposite this post on our web page or here.

Mediation fails – the fight for justice and gender equality goes on.

The mediation between NUI Galway and the four women taking High Court cases for gender discrimination in promotion has failed. A report of the failure will be published in the High Court on Thursday and another date for the pre hearing will then be arranged.

It means the four women’s cases have been delayed yet again. They had to wait more than six months for the previous date. They will also incur substantial legal costs for their lawyers’ time in mediation. And of course, in addition, the demonstration against the hypocrisy of NUI Galway that Micheline and the campaign had worked towards for six months didn’t happen. We now estimate that at least 200 and perhaps 400 supporters would have been outside the High Court on the day, and television, national papers and even the The Times of London were going to cover it. Obviously the four women are pretty disappointed, as are we.

We are told that neither party initiated this mediation, which we find hard to believe. The four women certainly didn’t – they knew nothing of it till 5.30pm on the Friday before the court hearing. However, President Jim Browne walked into the meeting of the university’s Governing Body at 2pm smiling and announced that things were moving with the court case and that he didn’t expect it to be a problem. We’ve also been told university management appeared to be making no preparations for the court case or demonstration during any of that week, as if they knew they weren’t going to happen.

Someone who fought a long legal case with NUI Galway tells us that they were treated to tactics by NUI Galway’s lawyers that were similar: surprise legal moves at the last moment, the stress of having to deal with decisions over the weekend, being cut off from their support, bullying and delay.

Micheline and the campaign didn’t hear about the adjournment for another four days. That’s because the women were advised to tell no one while they considered what to do. By then it was too late for us, or their unions, to suggest caution and that they should ask for some guarantee from NUI Galway’s management to show that they were serious. Instead, all we could do was hope for the best.

We fully understand why the women agreed to mediation. Preparing their cases has taken a lot of time and caused them a lot of stress. They all have families as well as full time jobs, so of course they would welcome a resolution. We know they were prepared to compromise and we would have supported them in what ever they accepted. What really annoys us, is not the fact that NUI Galway seems to have been so Machiavellian but that the university management then offered them what must have been peanuts in the mediation. We don’t know the details as the women had to sign confidentiality agreements, but we know they all turned it down without question. NUI Galway are loaded with money, they have 57 million euro sitting unused for years in their foundation , they spent  €700,000 on the office of the new Vice President for Equality, but they couldn’t find their way to offer these four women anything they could accept. That smacks of bullying and vindictiveness to us.

So the fight must go on. Personally we feel a renewed sense of determination because of the way NUI Galway have just behaved. If you do also then please make a resolution now that when the High Court case comes around again you will be there with us demonstrating against NUI Galway’s actions. We are convinced that justice will win out if we don’t give in.

You might also consider supporting the filming of Micheline’s US tour. The eventual documentary, as well as her lectures and media interviews in the US, while primarily about Hanna Sheehy Skeffington’s fight for justice and equality, will also cover Micheline’s own campaign for the five women and for gender equality at NUI Galway. Let’s ensure that NUI Galway management are kept uncomfortable while we wait for the next High Court hearing.

Please share this post. It’s important that everyone knows that this injustice hasn’t gone away – that’s what university management want!

Note: this post initially reported that the mediation failure would be posted at the High Court on Tuesday. It will be Thursday. We apologise. We are not allowed to talk to the four women involved until the mediation is over so we have to rely on other information.

 

Hanna and Me: Micheline’s US tour documentary

Micheline would like to film key parts of the US lecture tour she’s undertaking late this summer. This repeats her grandmother Hanna Sheehy Skeffington’s epic tour one hundred years ago. She hopes to make a documentary for broadcasting which will be about Hanna’s fight for justice, but also about Micheline’s equality win and her campaign for the five women. Joanna McMinn, who is organising the project, is seeking crowd funding to pay for the filming. They need €21,000 to pay for flights and costs for Joanna and Eddie, who made all our great promo videos, to go out twice during the tour.

Everything is being done frugally, Joanna is taking no payment for all she is doing and Eddie is working for peanuts, they will stay in Air B&B’s and Joanna will act as Eddie’s sound person.

We really hope you can help. This is a great opportunity for all of us to donate to something which will both celebrate what Hanna and Micheline have done for women and also really help the five women fighting NUI Galway.  You can find out more at the dedicated crowd funding site on Indiegogo – Hanna and Me. Please share the site with friends and encourage them to help too.

100 years ago today….

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One hundred years ago today Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was welcomed to San Francisco on her epic tour of the US. Everywhere she received the kind of welcome this newspaper article describes. “Hundreds of Irish men and women called at the hotel to pay their respects…”  For sixteen months Hanna toured the US to fight for justice: to tell the Irish there how the British Army shot her innocent husband by firing squad, and to tell them the truth about the rest of the British atrocities in reaction to the Easter Rising. Her tour was an incredibly courageous thing to undertake, newly widowed and accompanied only by her young son, Owen, Micheline’s father.

Hanna’s example inspired Micheline to take her Equality Tribunal case, even though she had little hope of winning it. Then, when she did win, it was that courage which inspired Micheline to support the five other women by giving them her €70,000 award and then setting up this campaign.  Now she will follow Hanna to the US and repeat parts of Hanna’s tour. She is doing it to honour Hanna and to try to get more recognition in Ireland today for what Hanna did in the US. But Micheline will also speak, both in her lectures and to the media, about her own fight for justice: against the gender discrimination practised by NUI Galway and their refusal to promote the five women.

Here is the program for the lecture Hanna gave the next day in San Francisco. 100 years ago tomorrow.

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Micheline’s US Tour now has a Facebook page

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Micheline’s lecture tour of the US is rapidly taking shape. Following her grandmother’s epic tour one hundred years ago Micheline now, in her turn, also has invitations to speak in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, St Louis, Seattle and smaller places like Butte, Montana with strong Irish connections, that Hanna spoke in. There have been many offers of support and people have sent information about what Hanna did in the US. There is now a facebook page where you can find out more about the tour, which will have regular updates. If you are on Facebook please sign up, like it and share it. Micheline will use this page to crowdfund filming for the documentary she hopes to have broadcast, so the wider this page can be shared the better. All her lectures will reference her own gender discrimination case against NUI Galway and the campaign to support the five women, as will the documentary.

Micheline would be particularly happy to receive invites from NUI Galway Alumni associations and other places providing funds or with a connection to NUI Galway. As well as any Irish American associations. In the U.S. they really care about gender discrimination, and NUI Galway are very keen to keep receiving American money!

Invitations, information or offers of help can be sent to mich3c@gmail.com or to the facebook page where they will go direct to Joanna McMinn who is organising Micheline’s tour and the documentary.

NUI Galway continues mediation with women taking High Court case

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Micheline with her placard for the High Court demo last month. President Jim Browne claimed  in a graduate magazine that he ‘walked the walk not talked the talk’ with gender discrimination .

The mediation which the four women taking the High Court case and NUI Galway agreed to is continuing. Neither Micheline nor the campaign are privy to what is happening. All the campaign knows is that it started a week ago and is still on going. Normally such mediation is over in a few days, with either an agreement or a return to court. We surmise that NUI Galway has not yet offered the women anything near to what they seek – promotion back dated to the 08/09 promotion round. The women’s case is strong, many of the facts that led to Micheline winning her Equality Tribunal also apply to them, so why should they compromise excessively?

NUI Galway will have taken note, we are certain, of the recent decision by University of Limerick to appoint an Independent Enquiry to investigate their scandal involving female staff, following the exposure of the underlying facts by RTE Investigates. They will also realise there are a lot of similarities!

We wish the women strength and patience. If, through this, all five women get something they are happy with, the campaign will celebrate with them, but we will not be triumphant or give NUI Galway a hard time about how long it took. And, providing that management offer the same terms to the fifth woman, who is taking a Labour Court case, we will wind up this campaign. But should the other four women return to court, then we will continue to support them, emotionally, financially and inevitably with yet more bad publicity for NUI Galway.

Micheline takes the campaign to the U.S.

Micheline has resolved to repeat her grandmother, Hannah Sheehy Skeffington’s, epic tour of the U.S in this it’s anniversary year. Her principal motive is to try to get Hanna the recognition she deserves for what she did.  Newly widowed after her husband had been murdered by British firing squad, Hanna toured the States, filling large

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Hanna and Owen (Micheline’s father) in the US

auditoriums, including Carnegie Hall, meeting the president and telling everyone about the British response to the Easter Uprising. It was an important and courageous contribution to the fight for Irish Freedom which has been mostly forgotten today – probably because Hanna was a woman.

Micheline also decided to repeat the tour because it will be a great opportunity to publicise NUI Galway’s actions regarding women. Micheline really hopes that the present mediation will result in the university seeing sense and promoting the five women who she has been supporting, but if they do not, then Micheline will use all the media coverage here and in the US and the lectures themselves to tell people about the campaign.

Micheline has already made a start. She was on the History Show on RTE radio announcing the tour and mentioned NUI Galway and the campaign. You can listen to it here.

Micheline is being helped with the organising and hopes to film the tour and have it broadcast as an RTE documentary. The itinerary and plans are well under way. We will give you an update when there is more to share.