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Connacht Tribune

Aran air impasse remains unresolved ahead of deadline

Declan Tierney



The State plans to acquire Na Minna Airport in Indreabhán to ensure long-term air connectivity from the mainland to and from the Aran Islands – but there was still no breakthrough this week in the impasse between Aer Arann and Roinn na Gaeltachta over the airline’s threat to withdraw its services to the islands as of December 6.

Islanders had expected a satisfactory outcome this week but the legal teams of both sides in the negotiations remain deadlocked.

The SOS Committee for the Aran Islands Air Service met with Minister Seán Kyne and his officials in Na Forbacha on Monday, and they are due to meet again early next week.

The airline, controlled by Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, will withdraw its four-years PSO contract that it signed two years ago unless there is a breakthrough in talks. An emergency service is being put in place, at the behest of islanders, that will result in flights operating out of Shannon Airport.

Minister Kyne, in a statement to the Connacht Tribune, said: “There is ongoing engagement between the legal team of Roinn na Gaeltachta and that of Aer Arann. The Roinn has expressed a wish to purchase Na Minna Airport and are happy to draw up the heads of an agreement to that effect. I understand that this is under consideration by the owners of Na Minne.

“My main concern is that there is a service to the main land for the Island communities. As it stands there is no available airport or air strip in Galway. Therefore, my officials have engaged with Shannon Airport with a view to that airport facilitating a service on a temporary basis from December 7 onwards. Consultants have been appointed to prepare contracts for such a temporary scheme. We continue to work to find a resolution to this issue and to ensure that there is a service for the islands.”

The plans to purchase Na Minna can also have a knock-on beneficial effect on two airstrips at Cleggan and Inishbofin which have lain idle since they were developed at a cost of €10 million eight years ago.

They have been the subject of controversy from the start – and even though they have yet to host flights, it is estimated that another million has been spent on their maintenance since then.

However, Galway West TD Eamon O Cuiv is now asking the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Gaeltacht to fund an air service from Na Minna that would serve not only Inishbofin but also the Aran Islands and Cleggan airstrips. Deputy O Cuiv told The Connacht Tribune that improved transport to the islands was crucial to keep them alive.

The airstrip on ‘Bofin is used by the Sikorsky helicopter for emergencies – but not for the purpose for which they were intended.

However the airstrips cannot be brought into use until they boast terminal buildings and, while planning permission was granted for this purpose back in 2011, there has been no progress on these projects in the meantime.

It is estimated that it would take another €1 million to provide the airport terminals at the two locations which the Government is so far not willing to commit to.

A number of years ago, consultants were engaged to design the terminal buildings at both Cleggan and Inishbofin but they could not say when work would begin.

At the time, the Government said that the terminals would be ‘completed shortly’ but no work was undertaken. In fact the areas surrounding the two airstrips have become overgrown with weeds and ragwort.

It was also revealed that there were around 60 private small plane pilots across Ireland and Britain who would readily fly into Inishbofin if the airstrip was completed.

Connacht Tribune

Atlantic Therapeutics takes top award for medical breakthrough




The overall winner of this year’s Irish Times Innovation of the Year award is Galway-based Atlantic Therapeutics, which also won the Life Sciences and Healthcare category. Pictured presenting the category award is Dr Ciaran Seoighe, Deputy Director General Science Foundation Ireland with Atlantic Therapeutics’ Richard Allen, Danny Forde, Dr Ruth Maher, Christina Walsh and Brendan McCormack. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

The Galway based med-tech company Atlantic Therapeutics has won the Irish Times ‘Innovation of the Year Award 2019’ – for developing a non-invasive, long lasting solution to bladder weakness and other disorders associated with pelvic floor muscle problems.

As many as one in three women and one in ten men suffer from urinary incontinence, primarily due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. The condition often goes untreated and unreported due to the embarrassment involved and the stigma felt by patients.

Atlantic Therapeutics’ innovative device – aptly called Innovo – is similar in style and feel to a pair of cycling shorts and works by strengthening and rebuilding the pelvic floor muscles.

Earlier this year the company, which is based in Parkmore Business Park, raised €28 million in investment ahead of a move into the US, just months after receiving FDA approval for its flagship Innovo technology platform.

Global Product Manager Danny Forde said the company was proud and humbled to be chosen as the Innovation of the Year for 2019.

“This win is recognition of the enormous collective effort our team has made around the world; from our Galway HQ to our offices in the US, UK, France & Germany, together with the strong support of our suppliers, partners, distributors, investors, advisors and most importantly of all, our customers,” he said.

“It’s a significant milestone in our mission to help millions of people restore their pelvic health and thereby their control, confidence and active lifestyle.

“We’ve heard from previous winners about the amazing impact that the Innovation of the Year Award can have, and we’ve already had an overwhelming reaction – it’s been a whirlwind!” he added.

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Connacht Tribune

MedTech recruiters are Guaranteed Irish




Pale Blue Dot Recruitment on a recent visit to Cope Headquarters on the Tuam Road. The team raised over €1000 running the Streets of Galway and through various social media competitions. Pictured are (from left) Lynia O'Brien of Cope Galway, Anthony Griffin, Patrick Hughes, Olivia Kennedy and Sohini Mitra.

A Galway-based recruitment agency has been awarded the Guaranteed Irish symbol – following its pioneering partnership with COPE.

Pale Blue Dot Recruitment currently operates from Galway city centre and has become heavily involved in the local community. This year, the business partnered with COPE Galway as their Charity of the Year. A number of fundraising events for the charity were sponsored by Pale Blue Dot Recruitment, who also donated generously to the charity throughout the year.

Pale Blue Dot Recruitment works in professional placement for the MedTech industry, and is now connected with more than 50 percent of the professional MedTech workforce in the country.

Pale Blue Dot Recruitment joins 16 other Guaranteed Irish business members in Galway, including Stira, Revive Active, Hatman of Ireland and the WifOR Institute.

“Playing a role in the community and supporting local is something that Pale Blue Dot Recruitment holds very highly,” said MD Anthony Griffin. “COPE Galway provides so many services to the local community, supporting those who are in need most. We are delighted to support COPE Galway for the foreseeable future through various fundraising and awareness initiatives,” he added.

Guaranteed Irish is one of Ireland’s most enduring, recognisable and authentic symbols of trust. The business membership organisation has a network of 600+ members nationwide across various sectors, supporting over 71,390 jobs with an annual combined turnover of €11.2 billion to the Irish economy.

The Guaranteed Irish symbol helps Irish consumers identify products and services that are a better choice for jobs and local communities in Ireland.

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Connacht Tribune

Silke’s runs and scores proving a trump card for Corofin

Stephen Glennon



Corofin's Liam Silke, in action against Matthew Kilgannon of Claregalway, has been central to the club's ongoing great success story.

IF there is one player who can light up a game — or turn said game on its head — then it is Galway’s and Corofin’s attacking defender Liam Silke.

A medical student at UCD, Silke undertakes his forays up field with surgical precision, underlined when he cut in behind the Ballintubber defence to goal in Corofin’s recent Connacht SFC semi-final victory. In a game that finished 1-10 to 0-11, Silke’s strike proved to be the deepest cut.

In many respects, the score summed up Liam Silke and what he brings to the game. So many times, he has done this for Corofin and Galway that it marks the designated defender out as one of Gaelic football’s most exciting players.

“Yeah, it is definitely something I try to do,” acknowledges the 24-year-old. “To be able to attack as well as defend is very important, to be able to contribute at both ends of the pitch. It just comes naturally to me; it is not something I think of too much. It is just something that happens in that I start making a run and I am happy enough to keep going forward.

“Thankfully, the (Corofin) players around me are able to cover and we are able to interchange. That makes it a whole lot easier. It can be a little bit of a gamble, but sometimes it pays off. Kevin O’Brien (manager) will always say when we have the ball we are 15 attackers, and when we don’t have the ball we are 15 defenders.

“So, it is encouraged by the management; they are always encouraging everyone to go out and play and express themselves. Also, I think the days of playing at corner back and just staying in the corner are kind of gone. Players can be coached and can be encouraged to be more attack minded, and can be given the licence to go out and do what they think is right.”

While Silke is enjoying his football at present, there are times when he finds it difficult to balance all — be it club and county, or football and his studies. These days approaching Christmas exams are always demanding.

“I am in college in UCD — I have two years left; I am on placement at the moment — and I have exams next week. So, the preparation isn’t ideal,” he notes. “You do get sick of the motorway after a while, but when you are coming home to play with Corofin and win county championships it makes it worthwhile.”

Whenever he finishes up with Corofin in this current campaign, he will return to inter-county duty with Galway. This, too, will place its own demands on him. He admits it can be difficult to carve out a little time and space for himself.

“It is not easy to get a break. It is just the way the GAA season is. It is not ideal, but there aren’t many clubs still going at the moment. So, it is kind of hard to find the right way to manage the calendar that it will work for everyone.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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