Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Ballinasloe composer scores new Dreamworks blockbuster



Amie Doherty working on the score for Spirit Untamed at the famous Abbey Road studios.

A Galway composer whose musical pedigree stretches right back to playing the cornet in Ballinasloe’s Brass Band is now conquering Hollywood – becoming the first woman ever to score the soundtrack for a Dreamworks blockbuster.

It marks yet another new high in the spiralling success story of Amie Doherty, who has already worked on a host of Hollywood movie scores – as well as collaborating with everyone from Lady Gaga and 50 Cent, to overseeing the music on Star Trek: Discovery and Fargo.

But her original score for Spirit Untamed, the latest Dreamworks animation blockbuster which hit the cinemas last week, moves her into a whole new sphere.

Spirit Untamed, featuring the voices of Julianne Moore and Jake Gyllenhaal among many others, is described as an epic adventure about a headstrong girl, Lucy Prescott, who discovers a kindred spirit when she encounters a wild mustang named Spirit.

As with so much else in life, Covid impacted on the production logistics – forcing Amie had to record the musical score remotely.

“Every composer’s big dream is to get to record the whole big orchestra and do the thing. Then as Covid went on, they booked Abbey Road, but we weren’t able to go,” she explains.

So they did the entire session from the safety of their own bubbles.

“I sat in this room from 6am to 2pm every day for nine days straight and spoke directly into the musicians’ ears and produced the session from here. I was just so glad that we could do it at all. And I didn’t have to do a twelve-hour flight,” she adds.

The finished product is the latest chapter in Dreamworks’ franchise that began with the 2002 Oscar-nominated Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron which in turn evolved into an Emmy-winning TV series.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from

Connacht Tribune

Students lobby University for Black Studies module



A campaign was launched this week calling on the University of Galway to introduce a ‘Black Studies’ module – to be taught by a Black academic – to the pool of available options at the College.

The call was made by the African and Caribbean Society and Cumann Staire (the History Society) at UG.

The auditor of the African and Caribbean Society, Eric Ehigie, said there was a ‘gaping absence of any substantive dedication to the bountiful academic, intellectual, and philosophical contributions of Black people from across the world in the academic corpus of the University’.

He said that students of African and Caribbean descent currently had to ‘settle for reading texts in which their cultural story is told by people who don’t share in their cultural background’.

“This is not good enough for a modern, diverse academic institution and a Black Studies module would be a major step in the right direction, in correcting this anomaly – and in allowing for students, no matter their race, to have a better cultural understanding of their peers from diverse backgrounds,” said the final year law student at the University of Galway.

He pointed to the fact that UG was ranked in the top two per cent of universities across the world, alongside renowned institutions such as Harvard University, and University of Oxford – and both of them share the fact that they have a Black Studies module. Closer to him, both Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin also offer a Black Studies module.

“We believe it is imperative for UG, in light of its calibre and its self-proclaimed ‘international’ character, to offer a Black Studies module to its diverse range of students,” he said.

“This will go a long way in enlightening students about the long line of academic contributions from great Black figures, Black history, and the cultures of various Black communities; minimise the potential of ignorance-inspired prejudice arising; and reflect the values that the University has committed to in its Race Equality Framework and Action Plan.”

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Marine Institute expresses concerns over outbreak on fish farm



A power outage, and deadly disease, killed tens of thousands of fish in separate incidents on two County Galway salmon farms last year, new reports show.

Among the diseases killing farmed salmon in Galway in 2022 was salmonid rickettsial septicaemia (SRS), which both the Marine Institute and Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages both agree is a cause of concern.

The entire stock of smolts held by Salmon Springs Limited at Bunatubber, Corrandulla, were wiped out during an incident on February 11 and 12 last year.

According to a mortality report submitted by the company to the Fish Health Unit of the Marine Institute, 100% of stock was killed due to a system failure. They died by asphyxia, although the total number of mortalities was not included.

The Marine Institute clarified to the Connacht Tribune that these mortalities “were associated with a power outage resulting in the loss of otherwise healthy fish on site”.

Meanwhile, disease killed 30% of stock at Bradan Beo Teoranta fish farm at Ardmore in Cill Chiaráin Bay in Conamara.

There was a stock level of 680,000 salmon there in October and November of 2021, but two disease incidents wiped out 204,000 of them, according to a veterinary inspection form.

The first disease problem of 2022 at that site hit in May and June, when Amoebic gill disease affected the livestock.

Then in August, a disease known as Piscirickettsia also impacted on the level of stock at the site. The reports did not say which of the two diseases was responsible for the greater mortalities at Ardmore last year.

The mortality and veterinary reports were obtained by the campaign group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) under Access to Information on the Environment Regulations, which is similar to Freedom of Information.

GBASC said that this was the first occasion Piscirickettsia had been indentified on a salmon or trout farm in Ireland.

It said the bacterial disease, also called salmonid rickettsial septicaemia (SRS), was a “cause of high mortalities” on Irish salmon farms.

“We fear this new fish disease, on top of the ones that are already endemic on Irish salmon farms, will have further devastating effect on our wild salmon and sea trout stocks,” said Billy Smyth, chairperson of GBASC.

SRS is not a notifiable disease, and so records of mortalities and outbreaks are voluntarily recorded. GBASC said it fears that the true extent of the losses associated with SRS is higher due to under-reporting of mortalities.

The Marine Institute confirmed to the Connacht Tribune that it was addressing concerns about SRS, which is affecting salmon farms here and around the world.

It is caused by the bacteria Piscirickettsia salmonis and can lead to significant mortality rates in farmed salmon if not diagnosed and treated early.

A spokesperson said SRS was not new, was first reported in Chile in the 1980s and has since become a significant cause of mortality in salmon farms worldwide. In Ireland, SRS was first observed in 1991 and “has recently become increasingly associated with disease and mortality on Irish salmon farms”. Antibiotic treatment can be effective if the disease is diagnosed early, and it poses no risk to human health.

The Marine Institute said it has taken several steps to support the control of SRS.

This includes “a molecular method for the rapid and specific detection” of the bacteria, allowing vets to make early diagnoses; it is also developing this method to allow accurate quantification of levels of bacteria.

“The Marine Institute is proposing further work in collaboration with academic partners and industry to develop more rapid and informative diagnoses, as well as the potential development of a vaccine. The Marine Institute recognises SRS as a significant health challenge for the Irish salmon industry.

“The Institute has a long track record of working with industry to address such challenges and will continue to do so to minimise the risks and impacts of SRS on Irish salmon farms,” a spokesperson said.

It said treatment is by two specific antibiotics, authorised by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), depending on the life stage of the fish.

“These are administered by medicated feed and are generally effective,” a Marine Institute spokesperson added.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Safety fears abound over Aran Island’s top attraction



There appears to be no resolution in sight to address serious safety concerns at Inis Mór’s leading tourist attraction.

Galway West Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív told the Connacht Tribune that an issue related to parking for various modes of transport continued to frustrate residents and visitors to Inis Mór – and a solution must be found.

“This issue seems to be going on forever,” said Deputy Ó Cuív of the issues at Dún Aonghasa.

“There is a real danger given the large number of people that visit the area and what’s required is improved parking spaces for buses, horse carriages and bicycles at the entrance to the Dún Aonghasa site.

“It also needs to be taken into account that we need to separate horses from buses, and to separate those from cyclists and pedestrians,” said the Fianna Fáil TD.

The lack of sufficient parking was creating gridlock and posing a risk to people travelling the route, continued Deputy Ó Cuív who has called on the Minster of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) to bring the interested parties together to hammer out a solution.

“I am calling on the Minister to convene a roundtable meeting between the island representatives, the OPW and the County Council together with the Department of Rural and Community Development to see how the matter might be addressed.

“I welcome that the present Minister visited the site last year and is aware of the issues, because everyone is very anxious that we get this sorted,” he said.

In a parliamentary question, Deputy Ó Cuív sought an assurance from the Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan, that he would “organise a roundtable of people with the local authority and the local state-funded development organisation” to address safety concerns on the island.

Responding, Minister O’Donovan said the OPW was progressing a refurbishment of the visitor centre at Dún Aonghasa, while discussions were ongoing relating to traffic management outside the centre.

“I can assure the Deputy that the Office of Public Works will continue such engagement with local stakeholders, including the local authority, and to this end, a meeting will be convened in the coming months as previously agreed,” he said.

Deputy Ó Cuív said it was unfortunate that despite repeated calls for action, the Minister’s response suggested little progress had been made.

“There is a danger here to locals and tourists alike. It is a bad advertisement for the island the way it is at the moment, particularly as this is at one of the premier tourist sites in the country,” he said.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads