City Hall staff harassed and abused following allegations made by senator

Allegations described as 'very broad and very damaging' to reputation to 'all staff of Galway City Council'

City Council staff have been subjected to abuse and harassment over the past week, as a result of serious allegations regarding alleged abuses of the Affordable Housing Scheme, made public by a senator last week.

The abuse of staff by members of the public was highlighted last evening by a spokesman for the Council who confirmed that it is currently examining files in relation to the allegations.

He said that the files relating to the Affordable Housing Scheme and its operation in Galway City Council are being examined and reviewed following recent "very serious allegations" made by a Galway senator.

The chief executive of Galway City Council Brendan McGrath ordered the review following allegations by Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh in Seanad Éireann and to the media - allegations a spokesperson for City Hall described as "very broad and very damaging" to the reputation to "all staff of Galway City Council".

Sen Ó Clochartaigh claims he has been given documentation which suggests a local authority official was allocated a house, for which s/he was not eligible as the individual's income was above the income limit of €36,500 for this scheme. The documentation also alleges that some individuals were possibly allocating better houses to colleagues, who were getting priority over others on the waiting list.

Following these statements, chief executive Brendan McGrath initiated a review of files relating to the Affordable Housing Scheme and its operation.

However a spokesperson for City Hall, as well as saying the allegations are "very damaging" to all staff, added: "Current staff of Galway City Council have been the subject of harassment and abuse in recent days on foot of reporting of these broad claims in the media."

Mr McGrath has made a number of attempts to contact Sen Ó Clochartaigh in order to clarify the claims and allegations, but it is understood he was unable to contact him. City Hall intends a report on this issue will be finalised in the coming week for circulation to councillors. The report will also be sent to the Department of Housing, Planning, Community, and Local Government.

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