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Birthday concert for acclaimed Contempo

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Galway's ConTempo was formed 20 year's ago in Bucharest. From left: Bogdan Sofei, Ingrid Nicola, Adrian Mantu and Andreea Banciu.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Galway’s ConTempo Quartet will be joined by Emma Johnson on clarinet and Hugh Tinney on piano next Thursday, November 26, at the Aula Maxima, NUIG, for a special concert to mark the quartet’s 20th anniversary.

The concert, which will start at 8pm and will feature music by Janacek, Mozart and Schumann, is being hosted by Music for Galway and The Galway Music Residency to celebrate ConTempo which was set up in Romania two decades ago.

The four members – Bogdan Sofei, Ingrid Nicola, Andreea Banciu and Adrian Mantu – first met as students at the conservatoire of Bucharest and decided to join forces as a quartet to take part in a competition. They won, signalling the start of a working and personal bond that has stood the test of time.

ConTempo quickly become recognised as one of the world’s top string quartets, winning a record of 14 international prizes and performing more than 1,000 concerts all over the world. Almost 13 years ago, the four came to Galway to fill a newly-created ensemble-in-residence and they have enriched the cultural life of the city and county since then.

They are renowned for their performances, but their contribution is much greater than that. Through their work with schools and communities, they have helped to give an appreciation of classical music to young and old. They have also nurtured the talents of emerging musicians, partly through a young residency scheme. In 2014 ConTempo was also appointed RTÉ’s Quartet in Residence.

British clarinettist Emma Johnson and Irish pianist Hugh Tinney are regular collaborators of ConTempo and friends with the four and will perform Mozart and Schumann with them to mark the 20th anniversary..

Emma Johnson has busy solo career, which is a rare feat for a clarinettist. Her recent recording of sonatas by Brahms and Mendelssohn with John Lenehan was described by the Observer newspaper as ‘definitive . . . triumphant . . .a landmark disc’. It follows on from her classical chart-topping successes Voyage and The Mozart Album on the Universal label.

Hugh Tinney is one of Ireland’s most renowned pianists at international level and has also made a major contribution to classical performances here at home for over 30 years.

Next Thursday’s concert will open with Janacek’s String Quartet No 2, ‘Intimate Letters’. The composer gave it this nickname, referring to the long friendship he had with a woman almost four decades younger than himself, a friendship that produced an exchange of over 700 letters. ConTempo has a special affinity with this work, partly because of its Eastern European origin.

They will be joined by Emma Johnson for Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A K. 581 and by Hugh Tinney for Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major Op. 44.

Tickets for Thursday night’s birthday concert are €20 / €16 concessions and MFG Friends, and €6 for full-time students. Booking at MFG 091 705962 / Opus 2, High Street / www.musicforgalway.ie

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base

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The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.

BY STEPHEN CORRIGAN
AND DARA BRADLEY

Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number

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Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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