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Galway Bay FM News Archives

College days equipped RTE broadcaster with his own take on the questions for life



Date Published: 23-Jun-2011

The phrase lifelong learning might well have been invented to describe Seán O’Rourke’s relationship with what was once UCG – because his education through the College goes back to his childhood when he learned to tell the time from its famous clock tower as he made his way past the College from his Newcastle home.

A little later he learned how to catch his first perch as a young fisherman in waters that ran through the university grounds, now transcended by the Quincentennial bridge – and the fact that his mother kept students for 40 years in the family home helped his education in matters of the heart as well.

“We had an old-style phone box in the hall and if my father wasn’t on it, it might have been one of three girls from Roscommon phoning home for ages with news of their respective love lives. And as you couldn’t help overhearing, you learned a lot from that as well,” he laughs.

The award winning RTÉ broadcaster will remember his parents in particular this Friday when he receives his Honorary Doctorate of Laws, back at his alma mater from which he first graduated with a BA in 1977.

He will be surrounded by family and friends, some of his old school friends from the ‘Jes’, some of his old neighbours from around Newcastle and Distillery Road; his five brothers Lorcan, Brian, Fr Kevin SJ, Fran and Gerard and his sisters Mary and Anne, his wife, broadcaster Caroline Murphy and their six children, Maeve – herself a Harvard graduate who is in the news these days through her work as legal advisor to the Justice for Magdalenes – Aisling, Kevin, Declan, Seán and Fergus.

And despite a mantelpiece groaning under the weight of awards for his work – he’s been News Broadcaster of the Year for the last three years in a row and his News at One has been News Programme of the Year for the last two years – this Friday is a special day on many fronts.

“It means an immense amount to me. Most of all it’s a tribute to my parents, because 50 years ago this year they moved from the rural idyll of Co Laois to Galway because my father saw that as the best opportunity we would have of a university education,” he says.

“It’s recognition of the importance they attached to education, and NUI Galway – or UCG as it was then – opened up tremendous opportunities to me in life.

“It was people like [lecturers] Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh and Hubert McDermott who taught me the importance of asking questions, and clearly that was something I’ve taken to heart ever since,” he jokes.

And indeed he has – because a rough calculation suggests 20,000 interviews over the last 16 years on the News at One, coupled with a conservative estimate of 1,000 on The Week in Politics.

“If there is an average of five questions in an interview, that’s 100,000 I’ve asked on the airwaves – so clearly I owe them a great debt of gratitude,” he quips.

Whatever debt he feels he owe his alma mater, he pays off in spades through his work with the NUI Galway Alumni Association; his latest contribution was to interview his old friend and fellow UCG graduate, RTÉ’s incomparable Colm Murray in the plush surrounds of the Aviva Stadium last week in an event organised by the NUI Galway Dublin Alumni Group.

The O’Rourkes arrived in Galway in 1961 from Ratheniska, a small village between Portlaoise and Stradbally. Seán was the sixth and youngest boy in a family of eight – he has two younger sisters.

With his father as Principal in the Claddagh National School, the family settled in Newcastle at the corner of what is now Séamus Quirke Road. Four of the O’Rourkes still live in Galway.

Seán followed the familiar path through the Claddagh National School onto the ‘Jes’ and eventually into UCG where he completed a BA in English, History and Legal Science in 1977.

But between second and third level he had his first experience of journalism, an experience which he says had the greatest influence of all on him, when he applied for a job as a junior reporter in the Connacht Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent



Date Published: 07-May-2013

A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.

That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.

The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.

Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.

Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis



Date Published: 09-May-2013

Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.

A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.

Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.

Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.

Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action



Date Published: 12-May-2013

The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.

There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.

Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.

Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.

Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.

The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.

However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.

Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.


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