Ireland’s massive outsourcing group Abtran continues to be the target of a growing online campaign organised by disgruntled employees.
The campaign initially organised by a few current and former employees gained momentum overnight when it took the form of a Facebook page called “Scabtran.”
Launched about a week ago the page has now gained over a thousand followers. Page’s organisers encourage former and current Abtran employees to share their experience of working at one of the largest customer service providers in the country.
A large number of Abtran’s employees claimed that the company is not allowing them sufficient toilet breaks.
“The company doesn’t treat us like human beings, human beings have a right to use the bathroom,” one current employee said.
“If your desk is at the very end of the floor, one employee said, it may take you a minute or a minute half to actually get to the toilet, given that you must make this journey twice that could take up all your seven minutes other times you have to hold it in. Because if you go over this time, your manager documents it and you can be written up for a disciplinary hearing.”
“ The only time team leaders make an effort to talk to us, one Abtran employee said, is when we do something wrong, they do not care about the instances when you do a good job, only when you failed.”
Several other employees accused Abtran of “providing a poor working environment and ignoring complaints.”
Responding to the allegations Tim Kinsella of MKC Communication whose firm represents Abtran said that his client is “an entirely reputable company and a caring and responsible employer in every respect.”
In an Email sent to all employees, Pat Ryan Chief Executive Officer of Abtran asked workers to “not let the campaign affect their morale.”
“I also personally am intent on ensuring that Abtran listens and reacts appropriately to employees,” vowed Mr Ryan in the now leaked Email.
According to Mr Ryan, the campaign is “entirely malicious” and is “trying to damage Abtran’s reputation.”
“As this campaign has also now made threatening remarks,” Mr Ryan added, “I am working closely with our legal team who are liaising with the relevant authorities to ensure this is dealt with appropriately.”
“There haven’t been any threatening remarks besides constant union pushing,” said Alex Homits, a spokesperson for the campaign.
“Ryan’s Email to employees,” Homits said, “has gained us hundreds of followers overnight.”
The so-called Scabtran posters are visible in bus stops around Cork city centre as well.
Abtran remains one of Ireland’s largest and most successful outsourcing groups. In 2016, Sky awarded a contract to Abtran which created 130 new jobs at Abtran Cork. In 2010, Abtran reported more than 75% surge in profits. Abtran has branches in Dublin and Cork.
Gerry Adams stopped at Cork city tonight as part of his tour around the country as the outgoing leader of Sinn Fein.
Speaking to the crowd of his supporters in Cork, he emphasized the importance of keeping the movement alive after his departure.
” Let’s go forward together united, with courage and hope and the very very highest expectations,” Mr. Adams said.
Gerry Adams expressed his confidence in the party members and commended the party’s Cork councilors – Henry Cremin in particular.
Adams touched on the abortion topic as well and said that the referendum would be the best solution for the ongoing debate.
” I’m not for abortion, but I am a man, women have to protected and trusted,” the 69-year-old politician said.
Gerry Adams’ career as the Sinn Fein leader expands to more than three decades.
The Belfast-native remains the most enigmatic Irish politicians of all time. Mr. Adams never disassociated himself from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) although he insists that he was never an IRA member.
While his supporters hail him as a hero, he is hated by some as an avid supporter of the IRA.
The group is known to be responsible for more than 1,700 deaths.
Adams was accused of helping the IRA carrying out attacks during what became known as the Bloody Friday.
He was later acquitted of all charges.
Adams is the survivor of several assassination attempts.
His brother’s conviction of rape in 2013 brought more unwanted controversy to the life of the seasoned politician.
He was arrested and acquitted of a 70s murder charge the very same year.
Adams has been married to his wife of 47 years Collette who does not make public appearances with her husband. Their son Gearoid is a well-known figure in the Gaelic football world.
Asked by the Logical Radical if McGuinness’s death has influenced his decision to step down as the Sinn Fein leader, the 69-year-old politician said: ” Yes, we had a bond together.”
Adams shook hands and took selfies with his Cork supporters at tonight’s event.
Cork residents gathered outside the City’s Grand Parade Library to demand the legalization of abortion this afternoon.
The event which lasted for two hours included a march from Grand Parade to Parnell Place, Patrick’s Street and back. Speakers from various organizations also spoke to protesters.
Union of Students in Ireland President, Annie Hoey, was the first talker of the event. Hoey compared today’s protest to marriage referendum protests in Cork and said:” We do not need to call for a referendum anymore, we are having a referendum.”
Hoey encouraged everyone to get registered to vote in the long-awaited 8th Amendment referendum.
Liz Madden of Cork Feminista was the second speaker of the protest. “ Statistic from the U.K. Government shows that 3000 Irish women have traveled to the UK to access abortion,” said Madden to the crowd. Madden counted poverty, being underage, being in unhealthy relationships, dealing with mental issues as some of the reasons for why women are willing to travel to the United Kingdom to access abortion. “There are many reasons why women want to have an abortion, and it’s not even our place to ask,” added Madden.
Actress, comedian, and writer Tara Flynn also spoke to the crowd. Flynn said that since her experience with abortion (having to travel to Netherlands to access abortion) she has become involved in this campaign.
“Anti-choice rhetoric has had the floor all to itself. That’s why we need to let people know what exactly pro-choice means. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It is pro-facts, pro-reality, and pro-kindness. It is pro-pregnant people from every class and background,” added the Irish comedian.
After the rally, more people spoke to the crowd including a South African asylum seeker who had traveled to Ireland while pregnant and was shocked to find out that abortion was illegal in the country. “ It was a huge culture shock for me because where I come from in South Africa, abortion is legal. It has been since 1994.”
Eli Doliver from University College Cork’s feminist society was the last speaker of the gathering. “ The government fails the women who leave the country to seek medical help. Last year alone more than 3000 women went to England and Wales to access abortion. Doliver called the fact that Irish women have to travel to England to seek abortion “an international disgrace” for the country.
Pro-life activists also stood behind with their banners and displayed their objection throughout the event.
One Pro-life activist crashed the pro-choice rally and was trying to convince the protester that they are wrong. Abortion rights in Ireland were specially brought into the spotlight in 2015 and after the death of Savita Halappanavar. Halappanavar was a young dentist who died due to complications of a septic miscarriage after being denied an abortion.
Banners printed and advertised around the city by Diarmaid Ó Cadhla and his followers shames Cork people for not supporting the campaign for changing British street names in Cork.
The campaign was first started by Ó Cadhla back in October last year when the Cork man had not been appointed as a County Councillor yet.
The banners invite people to Ó Cadhla’s office located at 99 Douglas Street on June 27th to discuss the issue. This meeting is part of series of sessions devoted to changing British street names in Cork, such as Victoria’s Cross, Marlborough Street, etc. Inside O’Cadhla’s Meetings
Ó Cadhla’s meetings usually take place in his tiny office at 99 Douglas Street. Corkonians who attend the meetings are usually older citizens. The same group of his supporters regularly attend the meetings – except for people who attend out of curiosity or to object the cause.
This campaign along with the Irexit activism has given Ó Cadhla a considerable amount of publicity lately, helping him to get elected as Cork County Councillor from Cobh.
Just a few months ago the Councillor was detained on charges of vandalism when the Gardaí caught him painting on British street signs of the city. Ó Cadhla claims he was verbally abused by the Gardaí during an alleged two hours questioning.
In an exclusive interview with The Logical Radical last year, Ó Cadhla painted a gloomy image of the country and promoted nationalistic ideas.
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Independent Councillor for Cobh, set the EU flag on fire in front of the City Hall this evening.
Ó Cadhla who was surrounded by dozens of his supporters and bystanders spoke to them before setting the EU flag on fire.
Counting examples of other Europen Union countries Councillor Ó Cadhla said:” We’ve seen the heated debate in France and Holland, we know European Union membership is a red hot issue,” before going to praise Italy’s nationalist party for promising to hold a referendum on leaving the EU (Italexit) if elected in the next general election.
Ó Cadhla counted the entrance of the United Kingdom the main reason behind Ireland’s joining the EU back in 1973. ” We are going to modernize you, they said. What has happened? We now have the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Famine,” said O’Cadhla blaming country’s housing crisis on the European Union Membership.
” We have a lack of future for young people, every day is filled with anxiety. Senior citizens are afraid to get sick, so they’d be left on hospital trolleys. This is what modernization has brought us!”
Ó Cadhla finished his speech in Gaelic language and set the EU’s flag on fire in front of the City Hall to his supporters’ delight. He then invited his supporters to his office at 99 Douglas Street to have ” many cups of tea.”
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla who considers himself an independent politician had made news recently when he got arrested on charges of vandalism while painting on British street signs in Cork. Ó Cadhla was released after a couple of hours of questioning by the gardaí.
He was also briefly jailed for refusing to disclose his campaign donations for his unsuccessful run in Ireland’s 2011 general election. The jail time was due to his refusal to pay a 300 Euro fine.
He is currently serving as Councillor for Cobh in Cork County Councill.
The second edition of Cork Loves Music event will kick-start on 27th of April in Patrick’s Quay’s Village Hall Vintage Shop.
The evening of talks and live performances will feature writer and Editor Jamie Coughlan former radio programming director Colm O’Sullivian, and music bloggers Gary Meyler and Siobhán “Shiv” Brosnan.
Lowli, Spekulativ Fiktion & JusMe and Circuits of Heaven are going to perform live music at the event.
The changing faces of music journalism, the place of Irish artists in foreign and domestic media and media relations policies for artists and producers are among the topics that will be discussed at Thursday night’s event, according to the announcement published on the event’s social media page.
Mike McGrath-Bryan Music journalist and one of the main organizers of the event said that he is hoping to expand the knowledge of art and music in the community with these series of events.
“Local, interesting acts are the ones that we choose,” said McGrath –Bryan about the organizers’ preference in selecting the event’s acts.
McGrath-Bryan also described the first Cork Loves Music event as an introduction to these series of events that would hopefully “lead to larger ones.”
Music journalist Jamie Coughlan who is also a guest speaker at the event described his concern for addressing the issues in the music industry and starting a dialogue between “people from different sides of the industry” as the primary motivations behind his participation in the event.
Coughlan believes that the exchange of insights between people from the sector is the most significant opportunity that the event is providing for the individuals involved in the music industry. The journalist is hopeful that such talks would take place all over the country.
The last Cork Loves Music event was held back in February at Coughlan’s Live. Young, budding musicians performed in the February’s event. Journalists such as Irish Examiner’s Ellie O’Byrne and also First Music Contact’s (FMC) CEO Angela Dorgan were the event’s guest speakers of the previous gathering.
The event first started in September last year as part of TEDx talks and got expanded following its success.
Nicola Brandonisio’s apartment window opens to a large-scale concrete building in Cork’s city center called Sample Studios. Being a researcher at Tyndall National Institute his mind is always preoccupied with data and research progress. “I like to start the day feeling calm and happy considering the amount of work I have to do during the day, but I look out the window every morning and I see this giant ugly building. It really depresses me,” says the young researcher.
On the busy desk of Marcus Mulvihill at the glass building of Cork City Hall erasers, pencils and numerous pencil-drawn sketches make the visitor mistaken it for an artist’s desk. Asked why not completely switch to a computerized design, Mulvihill smiles and says that he finds drawing on paper “more pleasurable.”
That is the story of Cork. A city that has its fair share of unsightly buildings but also has architects who draw her pretty structures on paper in hope of passing them by in real life one day, looking just as they envisioned them to be. But right now the old Sample Studios unknowingly ruins a beautiful morning for a young researcher, every day.
Ironically, Sample Studios is now a semi-operational art studio that is going to be completely closed in the unknown future. The artist residents of the former tax office have tried to give it a better look by drawing graffiti on the building’s old entry and parking walls. The building has or used to have a white coat of paint as dark patches have emerged upon its concrete surface.
Sample Studios is not the only building in Cork that has aged badly and Cork residents find it a “depressing site” to look at. If you go to St. Patrick Street on a Sunday afternoon and ask everyday people to name the least aesthetically pleasing buildings in the city you’ll get a long list of answers: Gardner House on South Mall, the Fire Station, Garda Station, the library- this last one might surprise you since Cork Library has competed in the category of People Choice Awards for Architecture at Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland’s (RIAI) annual Architecture Competition in 2016.
City architect Marcus Mulvihill blames fear of change for the functional, simple designs of some of Cork’s buildings. “I think the reason why there are so many white, bland designs in Cork is that we’ve become a developer-driven society and most people are in fear of doing anything that isn’t standard and normal. So we stick to the most neutral designs as much as possible.” Mulvihill thinks that regrets and what ifs after every project are an inseparable part of a city architect’s job. “You’re strongly encouraged to stick with the average and mundane for the sake of a quick and easy fix,” says Mr. Mulvihill.
Looking at the history of Cork architecture one can find stories of hope, ruined beauties, and risings from the ashes. Cork Opera House has such story in its long history. Originally called “The Athenaeum”, the building was built in 1855. Irish architect Sir John Benson along with his British colleague C.J Phipps were the designers of “The Athenaeum”. Their design follows a style that is close to Neo-Classical architecture. Renamed to “The Munster Hall” in 1875, it became known as the “Cork Opera House” we all know today in 1877.
Burnt down in 1955, the beloved building stood there burnt, ugly and looking disheveled for almost a decade, only to regain its beauty in 1965 thanks to one of the most famous – arguably the most creative as well – Irish architects Michael Scott. The building got a modern makeover in the 20th century when it was renovated in 2003. Cork-based architecture firm Murray O’Laoire Architects designed a huge shiny facade for it that has connected all three floors of the place together from a visual standpoint. The exterior changes were fundamental: stone entrance, tower-like components, and wooden doors. The building is currently going under development again.
The English Market is another old building that is going to get a new look. Mulvihill and his colleagues at Cork City Hall envision a glass ceiling for the tourist-favorite spot. The Victorian style designed market has been around since 1610. However, the “covered market” we all know today was built in 1786. Just like the Opera House, English Market is a survivor of fire (1980 and 1986 fires) and has been restored twice. Both restoration processes remained loyal to the original Victorian architecture of the market.
The market is also getting a new neighbor as construction work on the site of the former Cinema Capitol is almost finished and a new modern building with a chocolate brown clock on its top has emerged in its place. Wilson Architecture is the firm behind the design of the soon-to-be five-storey retail and office complex. The sharp contrast of modernism and tradition between the two neighbors is an interesting sight to look at. It is like watching tradition gasping for air while Capitalism swiftly inhales oxygen into its massive lungs.
Irish architecture has gone through many styles and movements. From towers and castles in the medieval Ireland to the reasonable forms of Palladian architecture in the early 18th century, architecture in Ireland has come a long way. Cork is a city that has at least one structure from most architecture movements. Cork City Hall that has been designed by Jones and Kelly in the early 1930’s keeps the light of Georgian architecture bright, while English Market originally designed by Sir John Benson is a constant reminder of Victorian architecture. Traces of 1950 to 1970’s modernist movement such as the controversial Brutalist architecture can still be seen in the old houses at Douglas and Mayfield.
It is true that Ireland has lost some of her most talented architects such as Michael Scott and Andrew Devine (who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright). However, there’s still place for creativity and art in Cork’s buildings while there are architects like globally- recognized John Tuomey and Sheila O’Donnell who are still alive and working today. They do not like the idea of specifying their style, in their own words they like to design buildings that are “strangely familiar”, (novel but free of intimidation).
University College Cork’s Lewis Glucksman gallery was one of their projects. Finished in 2005, the building stands on the edge of the college. It is raised among the trees in a series of twists and turns and has a calming view of both up and down the river. O’Donnell and Tuomey decided not to worry about measuring the space between the trees and let the building stand free among them as to create an illusion of turning. It is as if the Glucksman plays a mediatory role between two places: the campus and the city. It turns to keep an eye on Cork but turns to the college again. The gallery’s café has also a unique feature, in that it appears interconnected with the surroundings outside the building. As in most O’Donnell and Tuomey Avant-garde projects the concept behind Glucksman is also open to interpretation.
There is no doubt that bringing art into architecture requires a great amount of funding from the government. Dublin-based architects Marcus Donaghy and Will Dimond of Donaghy + Dimond Architects, learned this fact the hard way as their artistic vision for West Cork Art Center (Uillinn) won the favor of jurors at a 2009 international competition but encountered many difficulties to come to life as the country hit the recession and the promised funds could not be delivered on time. Even today, the digital illustration of their design for the Uillinn appears slightly different from the actual building.
As the aftermath of the recession, the homeless crisis started to worsen in the country and is still ongoing today. Does that mean designing artistic, beautiful buildings would be wrong when there are so many people that don’t have a simple roof over their heads? Marcus Mulvihill does not believe that there’s any correlation between the two issues. Calling them two separate issues this architect thinks that building beautiful buildings does not have to be more expensive than building ugly ones, “if you do everything in a proper way.”
But it might not be as simple as that. Some architects strongly believe that the government contracting system (GCC contracts) is limiting the control of architects over the final outcome of projects. Mulvihill confirms this argument and believes that after the architects are done designing the buildings; contractors take over and might sacrifice the artistic aspects of the building for delivering a low-cost project in order to increase profit margins.
The reflection of buildings in Cork’s River Lee fools the daydreamers as a watercolor painting. Construction workers talk and laugh together after a long working day. The shadow of art dances on some buildings and dies little by little on others. That is the story of Cork City and her buildings.