Sunday 8 December 2019

Artistic endeavour falls foul of public sector row

Ralph Riegel

A PARALYMPIC champion has been forced to move his first-ever charity art exhibition because a trade union has told its library members not to participate in any events outside normal working hours.

Tom Leahy, from Ballyhooly, in Co Cork, is a multiple Irish Paralympic medallist, and will open his first-ever art exhibition tonight. All the proceeds will go to charity.

The opening was to be held in Cork County Council's Fermoy library but the local Special Needs Support Group was told this week that the event could not go ahead as planned at the chosen venue.

The exhibition, which will be opened by Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley (FF), takes place at 8pm, more than two hours after the library's scheduled closing time.

The Irish Independent understands that library staff felt they had no alternative given their union's (IMPACT's) ruling on out-of-hours events, as part of the campaign against public sector pay cuts.

The opening will take place at St Colman's College, but the week-long exhibition will be in the library.

Mr Leahy said of his work: "Sometimes I feel closer to the countryside around me than to people, more a part of the fields around me than to human beings and this more than anything is reflected in my work."

Irish Independent

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