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Ex-Galway students elevated to top roles

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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

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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