Thursday, 23 August 2007

Some places are still being offered on the Diploma in Arts course being run by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain, An Cheathrú Rua, Co.Galway. A series of interviews will take place on the 31st of August, for those applying for the course, which is due to start on the 7th of September. The course is suitable for journalists, broadcasters and others who are working with a radio station at present or are dealing with broadcasting through Irish or wish to improve their skills through Irish. This is the fourth year the Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió (Diploma in Radio Skills) is being offered, a one-year, full-time course which covers a wide range of subjects including: journalism and broadcasting skills; sound and radio production and postproduction; ethics and law; and personal communication skills. The main tutors of the course are journalists Norita Ní Chartúir and Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, Norita Ní Chartúir has many years of experience as a broadcaster with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill has experience as Irish Language Editor of The Irish Times and as a journalist with TG4. During the course, great emphasis is placed on practical skills, with the aim of preparing the students for employment in the radio sector, be it in front of the microphone as presenters or behind the desk as technicians or producers. Nora Ní Chartúir, course co-ordinator siad: "The employment opportunities in the Irish language communications sector have undergone great development in recent years. There is a great demand for people who have the appropriate skills in broadcasting and sound, as well as technical skills, from organisations like RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, TG4, Telegael, Abú Media and many other radio stations and production companies. In total, there are about 40 radio stations broadcasting in Ireland and, accordingly, those who do the course have various types of work opportunities". Graduates of the course include Gemma Ní Chionnaith, of RTÉ RnaG's Anocht FM fame who will be visible on our screens as a presenter on a TG4 talent show "Glas Vegas" in the coming months and Nóra Ní Ghríofa, a native from Galway and a graduate from last year's diploma course has recently commenced worked in the newsrooms in RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. Other graduates include Gearóid Breathnach and Máirín Uí Chnáimhsí, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta's most recent recruits as the station's broadcast technicians. Other former graduates include Ciara Dolphin, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta's part-time public relations officer and Máiréad Uí Dhomhnaill who is working as a freelance journalist for RTÉ in Dublin. Due to the support of Údarás na Gaeltachta, there is no fee for the course and a weekly allowance is paid to the course participants. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is the Centre for the Learning and Perpetuation of the Irish language, and it is part of the National University of Ireland, Galway. ENDS

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The NUI Galway Alumni Association is hosting its eighth annual series of information evenings for parents and students commencing their third level education in September 2007 at NUI Galway. An information evening or 'Student Send-off', as this event is called, will take place on: Monday, 27th August in the Pier 1, Donegal Town from 7.00 –9.00p.m. Tuesday, 28th August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Wednesday, 29th August in the Prince of Wales, Athlone from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Thursday, 30th August in the Model Arts & Niland Gallery, The Mall, Sligo from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Monday, 3rd September in Lough Lannagh, Westport Road, Castlebar, Co Mayo from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Tuesday, 4th September in the Old Ground Hotel, O'Connell Street, Ennis, Co Clare from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. NUI Galway Alumni Association Board Members and Students' Union representatives will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Accommodation, Finance and the Students' Assistance Fund, Safety, Careers, Counselling, Clubs & Societies and the Students' Union. "This is an ideal opportunity for both parents and students to get first-hand advice on finding one's way around campus during those first days of term; find out about the University's student support services; and the benefits of becoming involved in the University's many Clubs and Societies," says JB Terrins, Director of Alumni Relations. Admission is free to the information session and refreshments will be served. Ends

Monday, 20 August 2007

NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute, DERI, has developed a Semantically Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC) specification for connecting online communities, which it has recently submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium, the Web standards organisation. The SIOC specification enables the exploitation of knowledge created by communities on the Web in applications such as blogging, message boards and media sharing. It has been initiated at DERI and co-developed with a wide range of companies, research organisations, and volunteers around the world. "DERI Galway is playing a leading role in creating cutting edge Web technology and standard proposals. SIOC is just another example of how technology developed in Ireland is changing the world and the Web for the better, enabling new opportunities for Irish and European industry. The investment Ireland has made is starting to pay off" says Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI. SIOC is already widely deployed on the Web, with extensions for popular systems such as /WordPress, a widespread blogging application; Drupal, a popular content management system; and phpBB, an open source forum software. Several Web 2.0 companies are using SIOC for the exchange and aggregation of community information, enabling them to deliver better services. Dr John Breslin, a researcher based at DERI and co-founder of, Ireland s largest online discussion community, and his fellow DERI researcher Uldis Bojars are leading the SIOC effort at the Institute and are coordinating a world-wide team. "SIOC is crucial for the development of a next generation World Wide Web, it brings the world together," says Dr Breslin. DERI is currently the largest applied research organisation in the world developing the next generation of Internet technology - the Semantic Web. "Founded in 2003 with CSET (Centre for Science and Engineering Technology) funding from Science Foundation Ireland with Hewlett Packard Galway as its main industrial partner, it has since grown to over 100 people and has acquired significant additional research funding from sources such as the European Union Framework Programmes, Enterprise Ireland, and industrial partnerships. Dr Stephen Flinter of SFI states: "Science Foundation Ireland s investment in DERI represents one of its largest investments in the software area, signalling the importance of the Semantic Web. SFI is greatly encouraged by the world class results such as this being produced by the DERI researchers." ENDS

Friday, 17 August 2007

NUI Galway President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh has led tributes to the veteran US broadcaster Merv Griffin who died this week at the age of 82. Mr Griffin, who was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University in 2005, was one of America's most popular television entertainers and an astute media entrepreneur, with a global network of companies and interests. He was a key supporter of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway and was a true friend of the University. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh, who will attend the invitation-only funeral in Beverly Hills on Friday 17th August, was invited by Mr Griffin's son, Tony to participate in the funeral service and to say a prayer in Irish and English. Among the other participants in this service will be Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The NUI Galway President said: "Over a number of years, Merv developed a warm and close relationship with NUI Galway. He was interested in and supportive of developments here, especially of the Huston School which he visited in June 2005. He was a warm, funny, larger than life individual who retained a deep interest in the West of Ireland. On a personal level and on behalf of NUI Galway I extend my sympathy to his son Tony, his extended family and to his many dear friends." Merv Griffin was the son of Mervyn and Rita Griffin, nee Robinson. Both parents were Irish-born, tracing their origins to counties Clare and Tipperary. While enjoying a life-long relationship with Ireland, Griffin s links with the West of Ireland were further strengthened with his purchase of St Cleran s in Craughwell, former home of Hollywood legend John Huston. His painstaking restoration of St Cleran s saw it transformed into one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe. ENDS

Monday, 13 August 2007

Galway Chamber, National University of Ireland, Galway and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology have announced details of The Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture to honour the memory of the late Paddy Ryan which will take place on Wednesday, 5 September, 2007 at Áras Moyola, NUI Galway at 8.00 p.m. Declan Kelly, International businessman and President and CEO of Financial Dynamics in the United States, has been announced as the guest speaker and will deliver a lecture entitled, Business 2007 – How the lessons of the past will shape the realities of the future. Following the lecture, Mr Kelly will be presented with a specially commissioned medal designed by the artist and sculptor, Padraic Reaney. Patrick Denis Ryan was born in March 1920 at 18 Shop Street, Galway. An alderman, former Mayor of Galway, honorary member of Galway Chamber, honorary graduate of NUI Galway, Chairman of Galway Race Committee, Oyster Festival, Rotary Club, Tidy Towns and the Amicable Society, Dr Paddy Ryan lived an exemplary life of public service and will be remembered by many as the man who welcomed US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy to Galway in 1963. Professor Ger Hurley, Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs, NUI Galway said: "The University is very proud to be associated with The Inaugural Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture, which honours a lifetime of public service that serves as a beacon of the highest ethical standards." Speaking on behalf of Galway Chamber, Dr. Chris Coughlan, said: "Galway Chamber is proud to institute this inaugural Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture in recognition of the life long contribution and service of our former President Paddy Ryan and his family to Galway's business, civic and community life." The event will alternate between NUI Galway and GMIT on an annual basis and is kindly sponsored by APC. Attendance will be free and open to members of the public. ENDS

Monday, 13 August 2007

NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is to host the 7th IEEE Peer to Peer Conference which will examine the changes P2P makes to the way we exchange information on the Internet. The conference will be launched at DERI's centre at the IDA Industrial Park, Dangan on Sunday 2 September and continues until Wednesday, 5 September, at the Meyrick Hotel, Galway. Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology has come into the limelight recently with applications like Skype and collaboration applications like Groove. Peer-to-peer has already been used in the design of the original Internet where it has enabled global scalability and robustness against failures. The next stage in its development will see the application of semantics technologies to P2P technologies that will enable more effective inter-business communication and personal collaboration. IEEE P2P is the flagship conference gathering the leading international experts both from academia and industry. It is the pronounced goal of the conference to promote the collaboration in research among academic institutions, government organizations, and companies. This is also reflected in this year s conference program which features tutorials and keynote talks from the world s leading academic and industrial experts. "P2P2007 is another high-profile event hosted by DERI at NUI Galway which demonstrates the international reputation of research in Ireland," says Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Vice Director of DERI Galway and program chair and local organiser of P2P2007. "This conference will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the state of Irish technology base to experts from around the world, and will give Irish companies access to expertise from abroad. As a helpful side-effect, such high-profile conferences allow local Irish companies and Irish subsidiaries of multi-nationals to take a 'cost-free' look at the next generation of experts in the domain." Prof Hauswirth added that the P2P conference would attract a large number of PhD students and post doctoral level experts in ICT, who would be vetted by leading international experts both in industry and academia. "Companies attending the conference have the opportunity to see what these highly qualified individuals have to offer. This in turn delivers a desperately needed injection of know how given the dramatically low numbers of Irish students in the ICT area." The high profile speakers at this year's conference include; Dr Sandeep K. Singhal, Director Windows Networking, Microsoft Corporation, who will give a tutorial on the Peer-to-Peer and Collaboration Platform used in Microsoft s Windows operating system; Dr Wolfgang Kellerer, Senior Manager Future Networking Lab, NTT DoCoMo Euro-Labs, whose keynote speech will address 'The Bright Future of P2P: a Telecom Operator s Perspective'; and Prof Karl Aberer, Director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research - Mobile Information and Communication Systems, who will discuss how P2P can be used to improve search engines. ENDS

Monday, 13 August 2007

Leading global experts in air quality and climate change are due to gather at NUI Galway for the International Conference on Nucleation and Atmospheric Aerosols (ICNAA) from 13th – 17th August 2007. The University's Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, based at the Environmental Change Institute, and the Department of Physics will host this prestigious event which was last held in Kyoto, Japan, in 2004. The conference will examine the latest developments in nucleation, which is a phase-transition process that produces aerosols or haze particles. While atmospheric aerosols help to reduce the rate of global warming induced by greenhouse gases, they also contribute to poor air quality. The ICNAA event will also hear of the current state of the art technologies being developed globally to combat the effects of climate change. The conference is co-chaired by Dr Colin O'Dowd, Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies and lecturer at the Department of Physics, and by Professor Paul Wagner from the University of Vienna. "NUI Galway has been chosen to host this prestigious event on the basis of our research reputation in the field and complimented by the location of Galway," explains Dr O'Dowd. "This will bring additional international profile to atmospheric, air quality and climate change research, not only in Galway but also in Ireland." Keynote speakers at this year's event include Professor Ramanathan, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California San Diego and Finnish Academy Professor Kulmala, University of Helsinki. These eminent scientists have published numerous papers on aerosols and climate change in the world leading scientific journal Nature and lead large international consortia focused on addressing the key impacts of aerosol pollution on climate. Both have also received numerous international awards for they research achievements. ENDS

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Two NUI Galway students will represent Ireland at this month's World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand. Meadbh de Búrca from Newcastle and Niamh Fahy from Killanin will line out with the Irish Ladies Soccer team for the two week tournament which kicks off on 7 August 2007. Meadbh, a third year Commerce student has played internationally at under 17 and under 19 levels, and currently lines out with local club Salthill Devon. Second year science student Niamh has also played at international level with the under 17 and under 19 teams. The talented student is also a first team regular with the Galway senior ladies Gaelic football panel. The girls are pictured receiving sponsorship for their involvement in the tournament from NUI Galway President Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh and Mr Tony Regan, Sports and Recreation Officer at the University.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Daniel O Mahony, Director of NUI Galway s Technology Transfer Office, Donald Causton, President of Micromill Systems Inc., Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland and Maura Glennon, Commercialisation Specialist, Enterprise Ireland. A deal worth Euro 10m was agreed between Micromills and NUI Galway creating a joint spin-out company called Eirzyme to produce high yields of low-cost biofuels. A new company, Eirzyme Ltd., which has been founded on technology developed at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a €10m investment from Canadian company Micromill System Inc., is set to be a major player in the biofuels sector. Eirzyme has incorporated in Ireland and has set up initial R&D laboratories at the Enterprise Ireland funded bio-incubator facility at NUI Galway. The new company will produce low-cost enzymes to convert biological materials such as brewers' grains into bioethanol and biogas. These renewable fuels produce environmental benefits by reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases and are sustainable alternatives to petrol and diesel. The ultimate goal for Eirzyme is to set up a large scale enzyme production facility which will manufacture specific enzyme cocktails to work on a range of raw materials. Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director of Technology Transfer at NUI Galway said; "There has been considerable industrial interest in the patented technology developed by Dr Maria Tuohy and her research team at NUI Galway. The formation of Eirzyme is the first step towards unlocking the inherent commercial potential of their breakthroughs. Eirzyme will have global reach and we are confident that the company will make a valuable contribution to addressing future energy needs." Dr O'Mahony added; "Without the funding support received from Enterprise Ireland and other funding agencies, this break-through technology would not have emerged. As a research-intensive organisation, NUI Galway has a strong commitment to supporting technology development leading to technology transfer and commercialization. In the past 12 months the University has executed 8 license agreements across different industry sectors and looks forward to executing a number of other licensing agreements on other technologies later this year." Dr Paul Roben, Director of Lifesciences & Food Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland said; "Through our Commercialisation Fund and our Commercialisation Specialists we have been working with NUI Galway to find a route to market for this excellent technology. We are very excited about the potential of this venture." ENDS

Friday, 3 August 2007

NUI Galway has secured over €23 million in research funding under PRTLI Cycle 4 - the Programme for Third Level Research in Third Level Institutions, announced today (Friday, 3 August), by Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin T.D. Research areas to benefit from this funding include the Humanities; Social Sciences and Innovation; High End Computing; Biophotonics; Biomedical Sciences and an Environment Graduate Programme. The funding brings to €91 million the total sum awarded to the University under the PRTLI initiative. Welcoming the announcement, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "I am delighted to welcome this very substantial support for NUI Galway s research activities. It is particularly gratifying to note the broad spread of the funding across projects in the Sciences and in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This support will enable NUI Galway to continue to develop the infrastructure and graduate education programmes which will support the Government s policies on national competitiveness." Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, described the funding award as "extraordinary" and highlighted the collaborative nature of each of the proposals with other Universities within the State. NUI Galway's research policy prioritises an interdisciplinary focus on specific areas of excellence towards the development of world-class research institutes and centres. ENDS

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Tharla tine bheag in íoslach Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag thart ar 9.30pm Dé Céadaoin, 26 Meán Fómhair 2007. Cuireadh plean dóiteáin na hOllscoile i bhfeidhm láithreach bonn agus aistríodh na comhaltaí foirne agus na mic léinn ar fad amach as na foirgnimh éagsúla. Níor gortaíodh duine ar bith. Bhí an bhriogáid dóiteáin i láthair mar aon le Comhaltaí Foirne Slándála na hOllscoile. Tá Oifig na bhFoirgneamh agus Bord Soláthair an Leictreachais i mbun an damáiste a mheas faoi láthair. Beidh Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin, An Bhialann (ceaintín na mac léinn agus na gcomhaltaí foirne) agus siopaí Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn dúnta go gcuirfear a mhalairt in iúl. Tá léachtannna ag dul ar aghaidh mar is gnáth. Seo a leanas a bhí le rá ag Keith Warnock, An Leas-Uachtarán um Acmhainní Fisiciúla, "Táimid i mbun an damáiste atá déanta a mheas, ach is léir ag an bpointe seo go mbeidh an Leabharlann agus na foirgnimh eile a bhfuil damáiste déanta dóibh dúnta as seo go ceann roinnt laethanta. Cúis díomá dúinn a bheith ag cur isteach ar obair na hollscoile, ach tá sé tábhachtach a lua freisin gur déileáladh go héifeachtach leis an eachtra seo agus nár gortaíodh duine ar bith. Cuireadh an plean éigeandála dóiteáin i bhfeidhm gan deacracht, agus thar ceann phobal na hOllscoile, ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil leis an mbriogáid dóiteáin agus ár gcomhaltaí foirne slándála as an dea-obair a rinne siad." Cuirfear an t-eolas is déanaí ar fáil daoibh i rith an lae. DEIREADH

Thursday, 27 September 2007

A small fire occurred in the basement of the James Hardiman Library of the National University of Ireland, Galway at approximately 9.30pm on Wednesday, 26 September, 2007. The University's fire plan was put immediately into action and all staff and students were promptly evacuated, with no injuries. The fire brigade attended the scene along with University Security. The Buildings Office and the ESB are currently assessing the situation and as a result the James Hardiman Library, An Bialann (student and staff canteen) and Student Union shops will remain closed until further notice. Lectures have not been disrupted. Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Physical Resources said, "We are reviewing the situation, and initial indications are that the Library and other buildings affected will be closed for several days. While the disruption to university activity is disappointing, it is important to recognise that the incident was met with a very effective response, and there were no injuries. The fire emergency plan was carried out smoothly and effectively, and on behalf of the University community, I want to thank the local fire brigade and our own security staff for their professionalism and dedication." ENDS

Monday, 24 September 2007

- Invitation to come closer to the Creative Arts - NUI Galway has launched a new Arts in Action Programme for 2007 – 2008. The programme will seek to cultivate awareness of the Creative Arts, where each student will have the possibility for increased engagement in the various creative arts forms. This programme is specially designed for the 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Celtic Studies. It includes illustrated performances and lectures in art forms such as: Theatre, Traditional Arts, Architecture, Literatures in English and Irish, Dance, Music, Opera, Visual Art, Film, Circus and Street Spectacle. Mary McPartlan, Director of 'Arts in Action Programme' for the College of Arts & Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: "We are creating a new inclusive arts programme which demonstrates the University's commitment and recognition of the creative arts. This programme will provide opportunities and accessibility for students interested in creative arts, to enjoy and experience specific performances, in a specially designed programme, and also opening up possibilities for further studies in the creative industries." The programme starts this month when Druid Theatre Company present Long Day's Journey into Night directed by Garry Hynes and starring Marie Mullens. Literary Manager Thomas Conway will be guest speaker on the night. The Huston School of Film and Digital Media will present a master class in October by Italian Ensemble Gatto Marte, presenting the original score and screening of the F. Murnnau film Faust. The final event in semester one will be a workshop opportunity for students with Rod Stoneman and Mary O Malley (Huston School of Film & Digital Media) on how to prepare a portfolio for postgraduate study. In semester two, the programme includes a Con Tempo concert and lecture with Dr Jane O Leary; a traditional concert and talks by leading artists such as Frankie Gavin, Roisin Elsafty, Roisin Ni Mhainin, Ronan Browne and Máirtín O Connor; and a field trip to the Irish Museum of Modern Art and a production at the Abbey Theatre Dublin. Each student attending four or more events, and who complete two 500 word reflections on two events of their choice will be presented with a 'Certificate of Attendance and Participation' by Professor Kevin Barry, Dean of Arts at NUI Galway. ENDS

Monday, 24 September 2007

- Future of Sustainable transport for Galway - The NUI Galway Department of Civil Engineering is to host a workshop on the future of transport infrastructure for Galway on Friday, 28 September in the Ardilaun Hotel, Taylor's Hill. The workshop will particularly focus on how Galway can become a sustainable city with the introduction of a Light Rail System. Professor Padraic O Donoghue, Dean of Engineering at NUI Galway said: "For many reasons, a sustainable, efficient transport system is essential for a city like Galway. This workshop will focus in particular on the light rail option and outline how this is one of the solutions that is relevant to us". "We are bringing in experts from other countries, as well as from Ireland to share experiences of the benefits and pitfalls of light rail schemes," said Professor Lewis Lesley, an international expert in the area, who will chair the event. The Official Opening will be conducted by the Mayor of Galway Cllr Tom Costello and speakers will include former Mayor Niall O Brolcháin; Professor Austin Smyth of Queens University; Lincoln Shields, former Director AMEC Construction; and Professor Lewis Lesley, TRAM Power Ltd. The workshop will be relevant to a wide audience including public representatives, those involved in providing and delivering transportation solutions and indeed the wider user community. Bookings for the day long event can be made by contacting the Department of Civil Engineering, NUI Galway at 091-492211 / 087-2383857 or email: Total seminar fee including lunch and refreshments is €75. ENDS

Monday, 24 September 2007

Almost 2000 students are expected to attend the largest ever Annual NUI Galway Volunteering Fair on Thursday, 27 September. Over 50 charities and community organisations will have stands at the event which will be officially opened by Mayor of Galway City, Councillor Tom Costello. Exhibitors will include: the Alzheimer Society; Amnesty International; Big Brother Big Sister; Childline; Croí; Galway Refugee Support Group; Simon Community; Enable Ireland; and UNICEF. The fair will showcase a variety of volunteer opportunities such as: mentoring other students on campus; working in the Galway area with local community groups; fundraising for national charities; or volunteering abroad in a developing country. The Volunteer Fair is a joint initiative between the University's Student Services and NUI Galway's Community Knowledge Initiative, which runs a programme called ALIVE to encourage student volunteering. "This event is a wonderful opportunity to meet and share information and ideas. Over the years it has gone from strength to strength - thanks to the continued enthusiasm and support of our community partners. Our students contribute significantly to the social fabric here in Galway - whether it's running homework clubs for local schools, fundraising for charities, or befriending people with a disability. This fair is just one way to harness and encourage this ongoing civic commitment", said Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator of ALIVE. Through the ALIVE programme, students at NUI Galway can access an online database of volunteer opportunities. The programme also runs a series of workshops to help students make the most of the volunteering experience. At the end of the academic year students can apply for an ALIVE Certificate which is awarded at a special ceremony in recognition of their commitment to volunteering. The event takes place on campus in Áras na Mac Léinn, from 1.30pm – 5.30pm. For further information, please contact the University's Community Knowledge Initiative on 091 493823 or email ENDS

Monday, 24 September 2007

NUI Galway s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) recently hosted the 7th International Peer-to-Peer Conference which was attended by over 100 researchers and experts from industry. Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology has come into the limelight recently with applications like Skype and collaboration applications like Groove. These applications critically depend on peer-to-peer technology which enables global scalability and robustness against failures at much lower costs than traditional data centre solutions as an application can make use of the computing resources of all participants. The next stage in its development will see the application of semantics to P2P technologies which will enable more effective inter-business communication and personal collaboration. The International Peer-to-Peer Conference is the flagship conference gathering for leading international experts from both academia and industry. High profile speakers at this year s conference included: Dr Sandeep K. Singhal, Director Windows Networking, Microsoft Corporation, who gave a tutorial on the Peer-to-Peer and Collaboration Platform used in Microsoft s Windows operating system; Dr Wolfgang Kellerer, Senior Manager Future Networking Lab, NTT DoCoMo Euro-Labs, whose keynote speech addressed The Bright Future of P2P: a Telecom Operator s Perspective; and Prof Karl Aberer, Director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research - Mobile Information and Communication Systems, who discussed how P2P can be used to improve search engines. The uptake of P2P technologies by companies such as Microsoft and Skype clearly shows the relevance of P2P technology for modern software development. This significance is further emphasised by the sponsorship of the P2P conference by local industry including Cisco, Nortel and Storm Technologies. Local industry can benefit from such conferences showcasing the latest scientific developments in a cutting edge technology domain by networking with leading experts in the field as well as a place to recruit engineers with the relevant skills. Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Vice Director of DERI Galway, program chair and local organiser of P2P2007, said: "Local companies sponsoring and attending the conference have the opportunity to see what these highly qualified individuals have to offer. This in turn delivers a desperately needed injection of know how given the dramatically low numbers of Irish students in the ICT area." ENDS

Friday, 21 September 2007

7-year research findings show current state of the health of the nation President Mary McAleese recently launched a supplement to the Irish Medical Journal that includes four scientific articles based on data from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The HBSC study is conducted by researchers in the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway and is led by Principal Investigator Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, and funded by the Department of Health and Children. The journal launched is based on the Health Research Board funded Unit for Health Status and Health Gain and includes new Irish findings on the health of the Irish population across the life-span, and what is important for good health in all age groups. The massive project conducted by the HRB Unit involved almost 40,000 people ranging from women in early pregnancy, to children, to the elderly and was carried out by research groups from NUI Galway and UCD. The research cover areas such as the dietary habits of pregnant women, the increased risk of eating disorders among Irish schoolchildren, the importance of interpersonal relationships as predictors of positive health among Irish pre-teens and teenagers, and the risk factors to health in grandparents. "The social and cultural changes underway in Ireland today pose enormous challenges across a wide spectrum of state activity, in particular where the planning and delivery of health and personal social services are concerned. The findings of this report will help us deal with this rapidly changing environment," said the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. "The best way to deal with change is to prepare well and the work of this Unit will serve us well in that area.' Funding for the project was provided by the Health Research Board in 1999 in order to provide empirical evidence on the actual state of the nation's health. The findings will be used to help formulate Government strategy on health needs and to monitor changes in health expectancy among the Irish population, in line with key strategic objectives outlined by the Department of Health and Children in the 1994 policy document "Shaping a Healthier Future and the subsequent "Quality and Fairness, a Health System for You" in 2001." Before the HRB Unit was established there was very limited information available on the risk factors associated with ill health in the Irish population; particularly the social influences on those risk factors. The comprehensive research findings announced today bring together information from 12 surveys comprising 39,837 respondents across all walks of Irish life and at different life stages. It provides, for the first time, actual longitudinal evidence that will help in the planning of Irish health services into the future. The findings point to pockets of real disadvantage, especially in urban areas, and suggest that special policy effort must be made to reach the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in Irish society. Mother and child health – investment in early development As part of its work programme the Unit established a three generation family study called the "Lifeways Study" in 2001. This unique cross-generation study has over 3,500 family participants derived from 1,124 mothers who were recruited during early pregnancy. "The findings show a clear need for more concerted policy interventions by the health, education and social welfare sectors to support mothers and their families at early life stages," says Prof Cecily Kelleher, Head of the UCD School of Public Health and Population Science, who led the research of the HRB Unit for Health Status and Health Gain. "Investment at early life stages will pay great dividends in terms of future health benefits. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom has given this top priority and we also need to do so." By capturing information over a 5 year period, the 'Lifeways Study' enabled the researchers to investigate several areas of mother and child health including: dietary habits of pregnant women in Ireland; risk factor profile of grandparents; pre-pregnancy maternal body mass index and infant birth weight; and primary care utilisation rates in pre-school children. Socioeconomic differences in childhood primary care consultation rates had never before been examined in Ireland. The findings, from three years follow-up of over a thousand children show a strong inverse relationship between consultation rates in children and social class - higher utilisation rates among GMS (General Medical Service) cardholders. "The ratio of consulting rates among Irish preschool children, for GMS (General Medical Service) to paying patients, is so much lower than for adults," explains Professor Andrew Murphy, Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, one of the principal investigators in the research. "Although consulting rates do significantly decrease with income increments, the differences are relatively small." "Policy and research perspectives suggest that all Irish pre-school children, irrespective of income level, should receive free primary care" he adds. In relation to dietary habits, the research findings show that while a reasonably high percentage of pregnant women are achieving the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables as set by the Health Promotion Unit's Healthy Eating Guidelines based on the food pyramid, less than 50% achieve the remaining daily dietary recommendations. According to the research, children of mothers with relatively higher fruit and vegetable intake and higher oily fish consumption are less likely to be effected by later childhood asthma (similar findings were produced in a recent study from the University of Crete). "These preliminary findings suggest an important new avenue for research in preventing asthma" says Professor Cecily Kelleher, Head of the UCD School of Public Health and Population Science. Peer influences and young people's health The Unit also investigated the influence of peer groups and peer relationships on the health of young school going children by analysing data from the 2002 Irish Health Behaviour of School Going Children (HBSC),"The findings suggest that by helping adolescents to build and maintain strong interpersonal relationships you are leading them to better health," says Dr Michal Molcho of NUI Galway, another of the principal investigators in the research. "The greater number of supportive relationships, the more positive the health of the adolescent." According to the study, positive supporting relationships are critically important for child health, and particularly the role of parents. "Supporting parents in their relationships with their children will help to improve the health of the child," continues Dr Molcho. The research also suggests that children who are most at risk from eating disorders are those children who are unhappy, who perceive themselves as not good looking, who have diet concerns, who are bullied more than twice per month, and feel that they are below average academically. "While it is necessary to treat eating disorders, there must be a shift in focus to prevent the onset of the disorder," says Professor Fiona McNicholas, Professor Of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, another principal investigator in the research. "Introducing social, personal and health education into schools may go some way towards improving self-image and self-esteem among Irish school children," she continues. "But health professionals also need to play a role in preventing and detecting unhealthy eating attitudes and behaviours." Area Issues, disadvantage and social capital The work of the Unit also brings together, for the first time, several surveys which have assessed the relative influence of area disadvantage and social capital: the 2002 National Survey of Lifestyle Attitudes and Nutrition (SLAN), and the 2002 and 2005 European Social Survey. "While being personally disadvantaged was the main influence on health status, the research clearly shows that this is compounded by the deterioration of social facilities and amenities in certain urban areas," says Professor Kelleher. "All things being equal, people living in rural areas and older people reported better mental health than younger people" she adds. "Policy measures to improve health in certain deprived communities are outside the specific area of health," explains Dr Michelle Millar from NUI Galway, who as part of the research programme consulted people in disadvantaged areas for their views on what was most needed to improve their quality of life. "Moves to tackle such deprivation require a more holistic policy approach," she says. "Policy makers should heed the need to avoid ghettoisation and other poverty traps," explains Professor Kelleher. Policy actions for specific groups The recent work of the HRB Unit for Health Status and Health Gain also focused on discussing the value of targeting policy actions at specific groups to improve the health status of the Irish population. These groups highlighted were: children in early childhood, women, socio-economically disadvantaged groups and older people. "Evidenced based policy drawn from research overwhelmingly supports investment in early childhood interventions," says Dr Dorren McMahon, UCD Geary Institute, commenting on the research. "Returns from early childhood investment include better outcomes in education and health, increased work productivity and reduced crime rates." "Women in less well off socio-economic groups are at the greatest disadvantage with regard to health. They are at greater risk of developing poor health," says Geraldine Luddy, Director of the Women's Health Council. At present, the health of these women is compromised by lack of education, lack of information, and lack of awareness of factors that contribute to disease. "Specific policies must be developed to target this disadvantaged group." "The principles of involvement, participation and community development are central to tackling health inequalities and current health policy reflects this," said Elaine Houlihan from the Combat Poverty Agency. "We need to increasingly involve the communities that are experiencing health inequalities in consultation and participation. This will give those individuals who are receiving the services more of a say in how they are planned and delivered." "New opportunities for older people to maximize their capabilities in economic, social and civic life should be created and supported," says Professor Eamon O'Shea, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway. "Health strategies must be developed in conjunction with the older people themselves and their advocates in a genuine spirit of partnership and intergenerational solidarity. -ends-

Thursday, 20 September 2007

NUI Galway marine researchers were yesterday awarded €9.2million in Dublin from the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan T.D., and Mary Coughlan T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food. The grants awarded, nearly €20 million in total, are named after Irish hydrographer Francis Beaufort, and will fund 141 researchers and students working in 5 research consortia, across 5 institutions. A consortium of research groups from National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Cork and Queens University Belfast, led by the Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute, NUI Galway, secured a substantial €7.2 million for research in Marine Biodiscovery. 80% of living organisms are found only in aquatic ecosystems, yet little is known about their biochemical characteristics. The Beaufort Marine Biodiscovery Consortium will aim to develop a leading capability in the utilisation of marine organisms and materials for the production of drugs, advanced biomaterials and neutraceuticals in Ireland. On receipt of the award Professor Michael Guiry, Director of the Martin Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: "Marine biodiscovery is a major opportunity for Ireland, particularly for the west of Ireland, which is one of the most biodiverse marine areas in the European Community, and we look forward to working with our partners in the Marine Institute in Oranmore, UCC, and Queen's University Belfast. The Government, and in particular the Departments of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Agriculture, Fisheries & Food have shown great foresight in funding this programme for 7 years under the SeaChange programme. Scientific innovation is indeed the key to unlocking economic success." The Centre for Rural Transformation and Sustainability at NUI Galway secured €2 million for Marine Socio-Economic Research. The Beaufort Marine Award in Socio-Economic Research will establish for the first time in Ireland's history, the research leadership and capacity required to assess and quantify the economic, social and environmental value of our significant marine resources. Professor Michael Cuddy, Director of the Centre for Rural Transformation and Sustainability at NUI Galway said: "This is a unique opportunity to address socio-economic issues important to the economic sector in Ireland which will underpin the SeaChange strategy." - ends-

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Photonics Ireland 2007 is the first conference organised by the Irish Optics and Photonics Network, and will be held from September 24 to 26 at the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Galway. This all-Ireland conference will have 10 scientific sessions covering most aspects of photonics research in universities and institutes of technology and will include a special Photonics Industry Session and a Poster Session. The conference organisation is led by Professor Chris Dainty, Director of the Applied Optics Group at NUI Galway. All Universities on the island are collaborating in this scientific conference, which showcases the Photonics research currently being conducted in Ireland. The conference provides an invaluable opportunity for the community of young Irish researchers in Photonics to access the knowledge and expertise of the panel of invited scientists from Ireland and from overseas, and from industry experts. Prof. Dainty said: "All photonics research groups in Ireland will be represented at the conference and the vast majority of research students and post-doctorates in photonics, as well as senior researchers are attending. The response to-date has been overwhelming with nearly 200 attendees and 170 scientific presentations". Conference topics to be addressed include: Photonic Materials Photonic Devices Nanophotonics and Plasmonics Optical Communication Systems Quantum Optics Laser Material Interactions Imaging ENDS

Monday, 17 September 2007

The 'BarCamp Galway' event will be held at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), National University of Ireland, Galway from 10a.m. on 22nd September, 2007. BarCamp is a technology-focused, informal gathering of people from technical and business backgrounds, where information and experiences are exchanged. The event is geared towards sharing knowledge and learning from others, and there is a policy of encouraging active participation in all discussions. 'BarCamp Galway' extends from other successful Irish "unconferences", most recently in Dublin and Belfast. The term unconference is used as BarCamp allows anyone to present, and talks can be technical or non-technical. The ethos is simply about sharing information, with no overriding theme. Speakers and discussion panel members who have signed up to talk so far include: David Lenehan, PollDaddy: creator of the very popular online polling service John Collison, Auctomatic: the young Irish student who along with his brother Patrick received significant venture capital funding from Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley John Breslin, co-founder of Ireland s largest discussion community Conor O Neill, LouderVoice: editor of Blognation Ireland Ina O Murchu, DERI: writer of Galway First s TechTalk column and speaking about the Social Web The event is free and is sponsored by Microsoft, Blacknight, and If you wish to attend, simply send an e-mail to ENDS

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway has launched its national Schools' Science Essay Competition 2007. Sponsored for the third year by medical technology company Medtronic, the competition is open to all students in the senior cycle of secondary schools in Ireland. This year's essay title is Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box? Closing date for receipt of entries is Friday, October 26th 2007. REMEDI's Schools' Science Essay Competition was launched in 2005 to stimulate discussion among students on the ethical and societal implications of advances in biomedical research. The aim is to generate interest in science among second level students and encourage more to go on to study science at third level. Last year's competition generated a lot of interest in science issues among students, with an increase of over double the number of entries since 2005. The eventual winner was Paul Kelliher from Killorglin, Co. Kerry. Professor Tim O Brien, Director, REMEDI, explained: "The purpose of this project, as with all our secondary school initiatives, is to encourage young people to take an active interest in contemporary scientific research, and to consider a career in this field. Science communication should always be a two way process. While it is important for REMEDI personnel to publicly discuss research taking place in the areas of stem cell and gene therapy, it is equally important for our scientists to listen to the public's views on this research – and we've found 16-18 year olds are more than eager to express their views on some of the questions raised by this research." This year's essay is 'Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box?': As scientists advance their ability to identify, screen and manipulate genes; is gene therapy a potential panacea for the terrible illnesses we cannot cure, or a Pandora's box where genetically enhanced 'designer babies' with perfect looks and high IQs become a reality?". Winners of the competition in 2005 and 2006 were presented with their prizes at the BT Young Scientist Festival in Dublin, by Minister for Education & Science Mary Hanafin T.D. This year's competition prizes include a laptop, iPOD, crystal trophies and school prizes of science equipment bursaries. Full details of the competition rules, helpful hints and additional information on how to enter are available on the education section of the REMEDI website REMEDI is an SFI funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science located at NUI Galway. ENDS

Thursday, 13 September 2007

NUI Galway was successful in securing four substantial SFI research grants announced recently in Dublin by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, T.D. Professor Christopher Dainty, SFI Professor of Experimental Physics at NUI Galway was the largest award of €4.5million for research in applied optical techniques. Optics is concerned with lighting, displays such as TVs and computers, CDs and DVDs, healthcare and manufacturing but also human vision. This research will focus on improving diagnostic methods which would lead to early diagnosis of disease in the eye and prevention of blindness in old age. As individuals live longer, and the overall population ages, problems of eye disease are becoming more severe, and the need for early detection of conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma becomes more important. Optical imaging, enhanced by a technique called "adaptive optics" -- invented by astronomers to obtain better images in telescopes -- will allow doctors to make earlier diagnoses of these and other diseases of the eye. Other research areas being investigated include optical storage systems, free-space optical communication systems and lithography. Professor Dainty, on receipt of the award, said: "This renewal of our funding for the next five years reflects a vote of confidence by the international scientific community in our wide-ranging research programme. Reviewers praised our commitment to academic excellence and our focus on educating research leaders of the future". Other NUI Galway recipients included Professor Matthew Dallas Griffin, based at the Mayo Clinic, USA; Dr Thomas Ritter from the Regenerative Medicine Institute; and Dr Stephen Rea, who received one of four President of Ireland Young Researcher Awards (PIYRA) 2007. Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway offered his congratulations to all of these recipients of SFI awards which have brought distinction to themselves and to NUI Galway. He added, "Their research will contribute to the enrichment of the community through the advancement of knowledge and the application of that knowledge to industry." SFI, the national foundation for excellence in scientific research, invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies, and competitive enterprises. SFI has responsibility for investment of €1.4bn under the current National Development Plan and the Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation up to the year 2013. - ENDS -

Friday, 7 September 2007

Centre to be results-focused on solving pressing child and family issues in Irish society President Mary McAleese will launch the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the National University of Ireland, Galway today, Friday, 7 September, 2007. The Centre aims to improve outcomes for children and their families, and advance practice and policy in Ireland and internationally, through research, evaluation and service development. According to Dr Pat Dolan, Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, there is a need for more research that focuses on finding ways to support children and families in crises and prior to the escalation of problems. He said: "While social difficulties such as child poverty, youth suicide and violence within families are often brought to public attention, solutions to these problems are neither highlighted nor adequately shared among interested stakeholders, including families themselves". This launch is timely as the Centre expands its' capacity to work directly with policy makers and frontline child welfare professionals such as social workers, teachers and community youth workers in response to the increasing demand for services that deliver the best outcomes for children and families. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President, NUI Galway welcomed the establishment of the Centre: "This unique partnership between the University and the HSE, and supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies, will, through its research and teaching outputs, have a direct impact on improving the quality of life for children and families in Ireland. It marks the continuing development of world-class research and social science policy centres on our campus." In 2007 the Child and Family Research Centre was awarded significant support from The Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland under its Disadvantaged Children and Youth Programme which aims for better health and life outcomes for young people experiencing adversity. Over the next five to ten years the CFRC will become a leading centre of excellence, with over 20 full-time staff and PhD students and an international visiting faculty programme. ENDS

Friday, 7 September 2007

Is é a bheidh mar aidhm ag an Ionad seo ceisteanna tábhachtacha maidir le leanaí agus teaghlaigh i sochaí na hÉireann a réiteach agus a chinntiú go mbeidh torthaí a gcuid oibre le feiceáil Seolfaidh an tUachtarán Máire Mhic Giolla Íosa an tIonad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh (CRFC) in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, inniu, Dé hAoine, an 7 Meán Fómhair 2007. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an Ionad saol leanaí agus a dteaghlaigh a fheabhsú, agus cleachtas agus beartas a chur chun cinn in Éirinn agus go hidirnáisiúnta, trí thaighde, trí mheasúnacht agus trí fhorbairt seirbhíse. Dúirt an Dr Pat Dolan, Stiúrthóir an Ionaid Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh, go bhfuil gá le tuilleadh taighde atá dírithe ar bhealaí a aimsiú chun tacú le leanaí agus le teaghlaigh atá i ngéarchéim sula dtéann na fadhbanna atá acu i ndonas. Dúirt sé: "Cé go dtarraingítear aird an phobail ar dheacrachtaí sóisialta cosúil le bochtaineacht i measc leanaí, féinmharú i measc na n-óg agus foréigean i measc teaghlach, ní tharraingítear aird ar bith ar dheacrachtaí a réiteach agus ní chuirtear na réitigh seo in iúl do pháirtithe leasmhara, na teaghlaigh féin san áireamh". Tá an seoladh seo ag tarlú ag tráth a bhfuil forbairt ag teacht ar acmhainn an Ionaid oibriú go díreach le lucht déanta beartais agus príomhghairmithe cúraim leanaí cosúil le hoibrithe sóisialta, múinteoirí agus oibrithe pobail don aos óg, mar fhreagairt ar an éileamh atá ann do sheirbhísí a chinntíonn na torthaí is fearr do leanaí agus do theaghlaigh. D'fháiltigh an Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh roimh bhunú an Ionaid agus an méid seo a leanas á rá aige: "Beidh tionchar díreach ag an gcomhpháirtíocht speisialta seo idir an Ollscoil agus Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte, le tacaíocht ó Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland, ar cháilíocht beatha leanaí agus teaghlach in Éirinn trí thorthaí taighde agus teagaisc. Léargas eile fós é bunú an Ionaid seo ar an bhforbairt leanúnach atá ar siúl againn maidir le hionaid taighde agus beartais eolaíochta sóisialta den scoth a fhorbairt ar ár gcampas." In 2007, bhronn The Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland tacaíocht shuntasach ar an Ionad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh faoi Chlár na Leanaí faoi Mhíbhuntáiste agus na nÓg. Is é atá mar aidhm leis an gclár seo sláinte agus saol níos fearr a chinntiú do dhaoine óga a bhfuil deacrachtaí áirithe le sárú acu. Sna cúig go deich mbliana amach romhainn forbrófar an CFRC mar ionad feabhais. Beidh breis agus 20 comhalta foirne lánaimseartha agus mic léinn PhD, mar aon le clár cuairte dáimhe idirnáisiúnta san Ionad. CRÍOCH

Monday, 3 September 2007

One of the most recent service learning programmes to come on stream at NUI Galway has been awarded a prestigious European Award for Languages. The award-winning module 'Service Learning in Italian' sees third and fourth year students in the Arts Faculty teach Italian in local primary schools as part of their course. The European Award for Languages (also known as the Language Label) recognises creativity and innovation in improving the quality of language learning and teaching. Through the 'Service Learning in Italian' module, primary schools gain access supported language classes without requiring them to find extra funding or resources. Meanwhile, third-level students have an opportunity to practice their language and teaching skills, supporting wider links between the university and the community. Service learning is a relatively new phenomenon at third-level in Ireland, but has been well established in the US for many years. Rather than traditional lectures or university classes, the learning process happens through working with the wider community on a project or issue that links to the students' degree subject area. NUI Galway, with the support of its Community Knowledge Initiative, now has over a dozen courses with this specific civic dimension. Service learning is neither volunteering nor work-placement, but is a distinct approach to teaching and learning that is designed to be academically robust whilst also linked to community needs. The teaching method was first piloted at NUI Galway three years ago with Nursing students who worked in an AIDS hospice in Zambia and a hospital in Belize; and with Bio-medical and Mechanical Engineering students who developed a range of innovative tools and resources for disabled, elderly and others facing particular challenges in daily life. A range of service-learning modules are now available across faculties at the University. Dr. Anne O'Connor of the Italian Department at NUI Galway, who coordinated the 'Service Learning in Italian' pilot programme, commented, "We are thrilled to receive a European Award for Languages 2007. Our new module aims to foster positive attitudes towards language learning for all involved, both primary and third-level students. The module also develops links with the community, giving students the opportunity to exercise social responsibility. Primary school children who participate, range from ages six to ten and are taught in an interactive and enjoyable way." The European Award for Languages is coordinated by the European Commission and managed on a decentralised basis by each member state. The award is managed in Ireland by Léargas. The award will be presented at a special ceremony in Dublin on 26 September European Day of Languages. ENDS

Friday, 26 October 2007

Lá ar leith atá ann don Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh inniu. Is é seo an uair dheiridh aige tabhairt faoi sheachtain iomlán de bhronnadh céimeanna in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá sé anois i ndiaidh seacht lá a chaitheamh i mbun searmanas ar fhreastail os cionn 4,000 mac léinn orthu. Beidh an searmanas bronnta deiridh mar Uachtarán aige i mí Feabhra 2008. Seo a leanas a bhí le rá ag an Dr Ó Muircheartaigh agus na searmanais bhronnta beagnach thart: "Ba é an chuid ba dheise den phost bualadh leis na mic léinn agus a dteaghlach ag na searmanais bhronnta. Is é sin an chuimhne is fearr a bheidh agam ar an tréimhse a chaith mé anseo mar Uachtarán – aitheantas a thabhairt don mhéid atá bainte amach ag gach uile mhac léinn". Measann an tUachtarán go bhfuil idir chéimeanna agus dhioplómaí bronnta aige ar os cionn 40,000 céimí anois. Cuireadh tús le searmanais bhronnta an fhómhair in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, 19 Deireadh Fómhair, tráth ar bronnadh idir theastais, dhioplómaí agus chéimeanna ar 650 mac léinn as áiteanna ar fud na tíre ag searmanas do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta. I rith na seachtaine freisin bronnadh Céim Mháistreachta Oinigh ar Eric Elwood, as an obair atá déanta aige ar mhaithe le Rugbaí i gConnachta; Tom Tuohy, as an obair dheonach atá déanta aige i mbun cúrsaí oiliúna i gClub Rámhaíochta OÉ Gaillimh; Tomás Ó Tuathail, as an obair atá déanta aige ar mhaithe le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge agus forbairt pobail i dTuar Mhic Éadaigh, Co. Mhaigh Eo; agus bronnadh Céim Mháistreachta Oinigh san Eolaíocht ar Alasdar Mac Cana, as an méid oibre a rinne sé thar thréimhse 20 bliain i mbun oiliúint phraiticiúil eolaithe i Roinn na Fisice agus Roinn an Oideachais in OÉ Gaillimh. CRÍOCH

Friday, 26 October 2007

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh will today complete his final full week of conferrings at NUI Galway following seven days in which he conferred over 4,000 students. His final conferring ceremony as President will take place in February 2008. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh commented towards the end of the conferring ceremonies: "Meeting students and their families on graduation day is probably my favourite part of the job. It will stand out as the single most rewarding and memorable experience of my tenure, recognising as it does the achievement of each individual student". The President calculates that during his period of office he will have conferred degrees and diplomas on over 40,000 graduands. The annual autumn conferring ceremonies began at NUI Galway last Friday, 19 October when over 650 students from locations across the country were conferred, during the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, following completion of their certificate, diploma and degree courses. Three Honorary MA Degrees and one Honorary MSc Degree were also awarded this week to Eric Elwood, for his contribution to Connacht Rugby; Tom Tuohy, for his contribution as coach to NUI Galway Boat Club; Tomás Ó Tuathail, for his contribution to community development and Irish language and culture promotion in his native Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo; and Alasdar Mac Cana, for his contribution of over 20 years in the practical training of scientists in the Department of Physics and in the Education Department of NUI Galway. ENDS

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The report of the second national HSE conference on ethnic minority health was launched at NUI Galway yesterday by Diane Nurse, National Planning Specialist, Social Inclusion, HSE. The conference, Participation of Ethnic Minority Communities in Primary Care Service Design, Planning and Delivery, took place in Galway in January of this year. The idea for the conference grew from an ongoing partnership between the Primary Care Department, HSE West, the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. The conference provided a forum to showcase examples of participatory approaches in research, service delivery and community health initiatives. Almost one fifth of the 150 delegates were ethnic minority community members, with the remainder drawn from statutory and non-statutory agencies. Speaking at the launch Diane Nurse of the HSE said: "It is clear that there is a growing awareness at European, national, regional, and local level that people affected by policy decisions have a right to be consulted about issues and decisions that affect their lives. Participation of ethnic minorities is not just an "add on". It is not down to individuals, individual projects or services. It comes through at national, regional and local level. It is informed and mandated by policy at government and organisational level. It is supported by a range of approaches including community development which has a lot to teach us in terms of participation. There are many examples to build upon and learn from. Participation strengthens and improves service for all of us. " The report identifies four key areas which featured strongly in presentations and group discussions and which conference delegates felt warranted particular consideration in the forthcoming National Intercultural Health Strategy and the implementation of the strategy thereafter. 1. GP services are the first point of contact with the health services for asylum seekers and ethnic minority communities. At this time many ethnic minority community members are having difficulty in general practice. Key recommendations are to improve the systems by which an asylum seeker 'finds' a GP and is 'accepted' on a GP list as a GMS patient. GP services need to be culturally appropriate with supports in place for both GP and patient (e.g. interpretation services and cultural competence training). 2. The mental health of asylum seekers is a cause for concern. For asylum seekers, mental health issues arising from experiences in their home countries are being compounded by experiences of direct provision accommodation and the prohibition on the right to work. Existing support services are either centrally based (i.e. Dublin), under resourced (e.g. Galway Rape Crisis Centre) or not always appropriate to the needs of individuals (e.g. psychiatric services for people requiring psychological services and supports). Appropriate psychological services should be in place around the country. 3. Language is a major barrier to effective healthcare for people from ethnic minority communities who have limited English. The main recommendation is for the development of a national interpretation service, staffed by trained interpreters and subject to on-going monitoring and evaluation. In addition, health information should be made available in a range of languages and individuals should be supported to attend English language classes as a longer term strategy. 4. Participatory approaches are strongly recommended as a suitable way of working for the development of culturally appropriate primary care services. The GMS modernization programme, training for GPs and other healthcare staff, and the development of an accredited and regulated interpretation service were just some of the service developments that would benefit from the 'voice' and 'expertise' of ethnic minority communities. At the same time, it was recommended that participatory approaches are developed and monitored in a critical manner. This report of conference proceedings has been sent to the HSE Social Inclusion Unit as a submission for the developing of the National Intercultural Health Strategy. The Intercultural Strategy aims to ensure that provision of health services is equal, accessible, culturally sensitive and appropriate in meeting the needs of minority ethnic communities. This includes improving access to health services, and reducing the risks of social exclusion and health inequalities experienced by minority ethnic groups, including travellers, asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers. ENDS

Monday, 22 October 2007

A public lecture on the issue of Accountability in Foreign Policy and the role of Foreign Affairs Committees in delivering such accountability will be given on Thursday, 25 October, 2007 at NUI Galway by Michael D. Higgins T.D., President and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs for the Labour Party and Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway. The free public event is part of the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) Keynote Seminar Series which seeks to address pertinent issues facing the wider national and international community. The seminar 'The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs – Can it deliver accountability on Foreign Policy?' will be hosted in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Human Rights, where Michael is an Adjunct Professor. In his presentation, he will draw on his experience of the Irish Foreign Affairs Committee and also on some preliminary results from research he initiated into the working of similar committees across 17 European countries. According to Michael D. Higgins, "The recent Iraq War, its illegality, the rhetoric used to justify a pre-emptive strike, the misleading of Parliament and the international institutions, and above all, the tragic consequences that have flown from it, have raised the issue of the consequences of a gap between the moral concerns of a public, the actions of their Governments, and the response of their Parliaments". The seminar will question not only the classic question as to whether foreign policy should be accountable, but also whether it is even possible against the argument of some practitioners that foreign policy makers and their diplomatic agents must operate in a relatively secretive manner. Michael D. Higgins will give some examples to help illustrate the context in which Irish foreign policy decision making operates and to highlight some of the obstacles to accountability thrown up by this context. The seminar will be held in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway, from 1pm to 2pm. For further information, telephone the CKI office on 091 493823. -ends-