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Ex-Galway students elevated to top roles



The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has elected NUI Galway alumnus Kevin Donoghue as its president for the 2015/2016 academic year.

Mr Donoghue, from Co Mayo, currently serves as the organisation’s Deputy President and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance. He studied Law at NUI Galway.

“I’m honoured to have been elected to work for the students across Ireland. The year ahead presents many challenges locally and nationally for students. There is no single issue for students – as citizens, students have an acute interest in every aspect of the affairs of the nation,” said Mr Donoghue after his election.

“We seek reform of the grant system and a roadmap for education to be properly recognised as a public good and properly funded.”

Mr Donoghue was elected at this year’s USI Congress, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone from Monday, March 23 to Thursday, March 26.

Speaking of her successor on the final day of Congress, outgoing USI President Laura Harmon referred to Mr Donoghue as “an absolute wonderful colleague this year and support to myself and the whole team” and “a kind and considerate individual”.

“I don’t know a lot about the iPhone 6 but I hear it’s an enormous update from the iPhone 5. I certainly hear that it’s a lot more efficient, faster and, more importantly, it’s a lot more stylish. And I can say with complete confidence that Kevin Donoghue is going to be a major upgrade next year,” she said.

“I’m a firm believer that your successor should always be better than you and Kevin Donoghue s going to be a phenomenal president for USI and I’m going to be so proud to look on from the side-lines and to watch the work that’ll be done by the officer board next year.”

In his closing address to Congress last week, Mr Donoghue spoke of the progress delegations had made over the four days.

“This congress has been a progressive one in terms of the motions that we have passed this week. It’s made us stronger and put us in a better position to represent our neighbours in the future,” he said.

“It’s so important that the student movement now unites in pursuit of a common goal. The work that we do next year in the budget and general election will carry a clear and coherent message.

“Free, equal access to education is the way forward for this country. It will be hard-fought and hard-won, but after what I have seen from congress this week, I have absolutely no doubt that we can achieve that and so much else, north and south of the border.”

As well as Kevin Donoghue, USI elected two other former NUI Galway students to its Officer Board. Current Vice President for Welfare at NUI Galway Students’ Union Aoife Ní Shúilleabháin was elected the Vice President for Welfare for USI, and Feidhlim Seoighe, outgoing Leas Uachtarán don Ghaeilge, has been elected Vice President for the Border, Midlands and Western Region.

“I am absolutely delighted and so humbled to have been elected Vice President for Welfare for USI,” said Miss Ní Shúilleabháin of her election.

“I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from institutions across the country and especially from everyone here in NUI Galway. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ross Doyle, who is one of my best friends and has been an incredible support to me throughout this whole campaign.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with such an incredible team this coming year, especially Kevin Donoghue and Feidhlim Seoighe, who were also former NUI Galway SU Officers.”

Vice President elect for the BMW region Feidhlim Seoighe is also excited to start his new role alongside two of his “very close” NUI Galway friends.

“Many motions were passed at congress this year – either ones which I proposed, or which will fall under my remit – and I will have to prepare a plan of work for the year for the first National Council of the new term,” he said, discussing his initial plans when he starts his new role.

The three newly-elected officers will begin their term on July 1.

Connacht Tribune

Confusion reigns – but publicans continue serving pints outdoors



Galway City publicans continued this week to serve alcohol in newly created on-street outdoor dining sections – despite warnings from Gardaí that it was against licensing laws.

The local branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it is hoping Government will, if necessary, introduce legislation that facilitates pubs serving alcohol in public spaces reclaimed for outdoor hospitality.

On Friday last, our sister newspaper, Galway City Tribune revealed that Gardaí had visited a number of city pubs warning they were not legally permitted to serve alcohol outdoors in temporary on-street seating areas created by Galway City Council.

Publicans were told that if they continued to flout the rules, files would be sent to the DPP.

When the crux subsequently hit the national headlines, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys urged Gardaí to ‘use their discretion’.

“The overwhelming majority of licensed premises are operating safely, and we in Government are determined to continue to support them. If local issues arise, I would urge local authorities, Gardaí and businesses to engage.

“However, I will also examine whether further measures are required from Government. Licensing law is a complex area but I have spoken to the Attorney General this morning and we will take further action if necessary,” Minister Humphreys said.

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Connacht Tribune

Apple plans second bite at Athenry data centre



An artist's impression of the proposed Apple Data Centre.

Apple intends to have another bite at plans to build a data centre in Athenry.  Apple Operations Europe has applied to Galway County Council for more time to construct a controversial data centre on a greenfield site at Derrydonnell.

The company said it will identify “interested parties to develop the project” between now and 2026 to meet global growth in demand for data storage facilities.

It will spark hope in the County Galway town of a revival of the €850 million project that was dogged for years by planning delays and court appeals and was subsequently shelved. It may also attract fresh objections.

The world’s largest technology company was granted planning permission to build a €850 million data centre near Athenry in 2015.

An appeal to An Bórd Pleanála by a handful of local residents was not successful, and the planning appeals board confirmed the local authority’s decision in 2016.

But the company ultimately aborted its plans for County Galway in 2018 after three objectors sought a review of the decision through the courts.

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Connacht Tribune

Mum’s dream holiday turns to nightmare after cancer diagnosis



Julia McAndrew, in hospital in Mexico.

A mother who went to Mexico on a dream holiday to spend Christmas with family is too weak to return home after being diagnosed with advanced cancer.

From the minute Julia McAndrew landed in the South American country, her health took a major downward spiral.

Her son and daughter were shocked when she asked for a wheelchair to make it through the airport.

She and daughter Eliska had flown out to see her son Patrick, who had relocated to Mexico to run an online learning business.

They initially thought she had fallen ill due to the rigours of a 22-hour, multi-stop flight.

But when her stomach problems did not improve and she began to lose a lot of weight and suffered from very low energy, they sought medical help.

This had to be done privately and without the financial help of an insurance company, Patrick reveals.

She was initially diagnosed with anaemia and kidney failure and underwent various treatments, including blood transfusions that appeared to be working.

But three weeks ago, medics discovered that what she had was Stage 4 breast cancer. Julia had cancer a decade ago but was given the all-clear after receiving treatment and a major change in lifestyle.

“It’s returned with a vengeance this time around. It’s spread to her pelvis, ribs and lungs,” reflects Patrick.

The cost of the treatment is $40,000 (€33,000) a month. Her family are hoping to build up her strength enough to endure the long flight home to Oranmore.

They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise €280,000 to pay for her treatment and in less than a week a phenomenal €36,000 has been donated.

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