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Clayton crowned Galway’s friendliest business




JCI Galway Friendly Business Award winners….(from left) Seán Laffey from McSharry Pharmacy, Darragh O’Connor of the Clayton Hotel, JCI President Ronan Walsh, Mairéad Melody from Clayton Hotel and Doug Leddin from Án Púcán.

The Clayton Hotel is Galway’s Friendliest Business – after landing the top prize in the JCI Galway Friendly Business Awards held at AIB Lynch’s Castle last week.

The hotel emerged on top of the pile from more than 50 businesses shortlisted – but there were other big winners on the evening.

McSharry’s Pharmacy from Westside took the award for Customer Care, An Púcán came out on tops for Social Friendliness, the award for shop layout went to All4Baby on the Tuam Road, the Clayton also won the award for Disability Access and the Menlo Park Hotel won the award for Friendliest Digital Business Award.

The five winners will now go forward to represent Galway in the National Award with winner announced during the JCI Ireland National Convention in Donegal this October.

“The awards were about highlighting businesses that make the extra effort to be as friendly as possible to their customers,” said JCI Galway President Ronan Walsh.

The JCI Friendly Business Awards recognise the important role that local businesses play in the continuous development and improvement of our country.

The project aims to award friendly businesses, ones that go that extra mile and provide outstanding customer service for their customers and their community. It is particularly important in this economic environment to highlight businesses that don’t allow their standards to slip and continue to provide quality services.

JCI Galway also launched their new corporate supporter package with three different packages available which will allow the business community in Galway to help JCI continue its work in the community.

If you would like to nominate a business for the 2016 competition or for information about the project please email


Connacht Tribune

Leadership conference is reimagined from the Edge




Iza Login...headline contributor.

The organisers of the Leading At The Edge – the conference originally planned for the Galmont Hotel in Galway – have re-invented the programme and how it’s delivered for a virtual audience.

Kevin Kelly and Dave Hickey chose to completely re-engineer Leading At The Edge Online rather than cancel a conference that was over twelve months in the making.

“The switch to virtual is a key challenge in what I describe as an attention deficit world,” says Kevin. “We’re grateful that our main sponsors Grant Thornton and SSL have continued to support what will be a very different event.”

“As a speaker I relish the challenge of engaging a room – in virtual world, you need a different plan. With Leading At The Edge Online we are re-engineering even how virtual events are run, creating a new hybrid.”

With eight different speakers or sessions from several locations in Ireland, Europe and the US, running throughout the day on October 7 they recognise that retaining and engaging a virtual audience for the day will be a challenge.

“We know there is demand for the content, the speakers we have are top class and the technology for delivery is now well-proven,” says Dave Hickey. “But many people have been over-exposed to Zoom webinars and virtual meetings since March.”

So to counter this Zoom-fatigue, they have added fireside chats, Q and A’s and roundtable discussions all in an effort to vary content delivery and maximise engagement.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Ireland is at the heart of Europe’s political agenda




Gerard Kiely, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland

By Gerard Kiely, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland


When European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, delivered her first State of the Union address to the European Parliament on Wednesday, it is no exaggeration to say that Ireland was at the heart of this important speech, which outlines the EU’s vision and political priorities for the coming year.


Citing inspirational examples of political wisdom and humanity from the late John Hume and the heart-warming story of Suaad Alshleh, who arrived in Ireland as a refugee from Syria and received a prestigious scholarship to study medicine in Dublin, the President clearly appreciates Ireland’s positive contribution to advancing the values of the European Union.


President von der Leyen placed many of Ireland’s priorities at the top of Europe’s political agenda. She stressed the importance of reinforcing Europe’s social market economy to protect workers and businesses. President von der Leyen announced that the Commission will present a European anti-racism action plan and a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights. “LGBTQI-free zones are humanity free zones. And they have no place in our Union” she declared.


To help tackle the Covid pandemic in the coming year, the Commission will focus on building a European Health Union, with stronger agencies and enhanced capacity to respond to cross-border threats. The President called for a common plan for a ‘digital Europe’, with clearly defined goals for 2030, such as for connectivity, skills and digital public services.


On climate change, the European Commission proposes to increase the 2030 target for emissions reduction from 40% to 55%. This will put the EU on track for climate neutrality by 2050. “Meeting this new target will reduce our energy import dependency, create millions of extra jobs and more than halve air pollution,” Von der Leyen said.


The President further announced that 30% of the €750 billion #NextGenerationEU budget – a plan to ensure Europe’s recovery is sustainable and fair – will be raised through green bonds. And 37% of funding will be invested in European Green Deal objectives, including ‘lighthouse’ European projects – hydrogen, green building and one million electric charging points.


As part of the Green Deal, the ‘Farm to Fork Strategy’ proposes a transformation of the food system right across the supply chain. Given Ireland’s strong agricultural tradition, we need to work together to ensure that Irish farmers are financially supported when developing more sustainable practices.


The European Commission’s support for Ireland on Brexit remains unwavering: President von der Leyen stated once again that the EU would never backtrack on its support for the Good Friday agreement and peace on the island of Ireland.


Certainly, this brave political agenda for Europe and Ireland will meet many challenges, but as President von der Leyen put it: ‘Europe will be what we want it to be. So let us stop talking it down. And let’s get to work for it.’

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Lotto seeks Galway’s Good Causes




Grainne Seoige launching the National Lottery’s Good Causes Awards this week.

The National Lottery has announced details of the National Lottery Good Causes Awards, with a total prize fund of €95,000 – and it is encouraging sports clubs, community organisations and projects in Galway to apply.

These awards honour the inspiring work and achievements of thousands of projects, clubs and individuals all over Ireland, who, with the help of National Lottery Good Causes funding, have had an extraordinary impact on their local communities.

The awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 20, in Dublin’s Mansion House, presented by Grainne Seoige who helped launch the Awards, now in their third year, this week.

The Awards will have seven categories which include sport, health and wellbeing, arts/culture, heritage, community, youth affairs and the Irish Language

Each of the seven category winners receiving €10,000 and the overall Good Cause of the Year winning an additional €25,000.

Applications for the Awards are now open and people can enter and check eligibility at


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