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Connacht Tribune

Forestry investors in Galway reap rich rewards

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Galway forestry owners, timber contractors and hauliers will over €500 million per annum by 2035, according to a new timber trade association launched this week.

With 950 people working in the timber and forestry industry in Galway, this projection will be music to the ears of some 1,460 forestry owners in County Galway.

Forest Industries Ireland (FII), a new branch of IBEC, was launched on Monday last, representing almost all major forestry companies across the country, with representatives drawn from across the industry to include the largest timber processors as well as companies involved in the establishment and management of forests.

Inaugural Chairman of the Organisation, Brian Murphy, said the industry had a major role to play in Ireland’s rural economy – even more so in the next 20 years where it is expected to double in size.

“Forest Industries Ireland is placing timber and forestry at the heart of Ireland’s rural economy. With a combined turnover of over €800 million, the industry is a major player in the rural and national economies.

“The industry is enjoying a period of major capital investment, market buoyancy and substantial growth in wood supply. These three elements underpin growth for the industry that will see it double in size in the next two decades,” said Mr Murphy.

Across the country, the 21,000 forest owners who supply raw timber product, as well as contractors and hauliers that harvest and transport it to sawmills, are forecasted to be generating an estimated €6.4 billion per annum by 2035 – with €537 million of this being made by Galway companies.

The “game changer” for the industry is the fact that timber output from Irish forests’ output will double by 2035. According to FII, Ireland’s climate makes for fast growth, giving it a major competitive edge over other timber producing nations.

“FII and its member companies are committed to engendering the highest standards in the industry,” said Mr Murphy.

“Competitiveness, climate action and sustainability go hand in hand and underpin long-term growth and prosperity across this dynamic industry.

“We are proud to be delivering quality jobs, especially to our rural communities, and making a major contribution to the Irish economy, our society and the environment,” he added.

Mr Murphy said forests were of huge importance in the fight against climate change and called for government support for the industry.

“As well as driving economic activity and employment, our forests absorb 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of the annual CO2 emissions of 80 per cent of cars on Irish roads. Forests and wood products are vital tool in our efforts to combat climate change.

“The Government should support our sector by continuing to invest in the national Forestry Programme and ensure that timber can be delivered to our sawmills,” he said.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, said he was pleased to see the industry organising for what will be a period of sustained growth.

“I welcome the launch of Forestry Industries Ireland. It demonstrates the industry is organising itself for the growth period ahead.

“I look forward to working closely with the companies as we strive to further Ireland’s forestry policy and continue to build a major industry for the country and especially our rural economy,” said Minister Doyle.

Connacht Tribune

Radio series a first for new An Spidéal production company

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Liam Ó Maonlaí (centre) with guests Barry Kerr and Síle Denvir from the first programme of Cuan an Cheoil.

A host of Ireland’s finest musicians gathered in Galway’s new intimate arts space – and recorded ten weeks of special programmes that will go out on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta every Thursday, starting tonight.

Cuan an Cheoil is the first radio series produced by Stiúideo Cuan, the new arts venue and production company in the heart of An Spidéal.

The new ten-part series, kicking off tonight at 7pm, will feature ten of the country’s best-known musicians, who will join Hot House Flower Liam Ó Maonlaí each week to play and to chat with him about various aspects of music and life.

Liam describes the programmes as ‘a musical conversation’ between himself and his guests.

They were recorded in Stiúideo Cuan in An Spidéal in a relaxed and open atmosphere, an attempt to recreate the informality of a group of musicians playing together at home, as opposed to a concert setting. The idea is to allow the musicians the space to be creative, to improvise and to compose on the spot, and the musicians who took part in the series got great satisfaction and enjoyment out of the process.

Síle Denvir and Barry Kerr will join Liam for the first programme of the series on January 20. Síle, from Conamara, is a member of the group Líadan, and has also performed with the Chieftains.  Barry Kerr, musician, composer and painter, is originally from Armagh but now living in Conamara.

Other musicians taking part in the series include Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh & Nia Byrne, Peadar Ó Riada & Mick O’Brien, Mary Bergin & Conor Connolly, Johnny Óg Connolly & Liam O’Connor, Róisín Chambers & Maitiú Ó Casaide, Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich & Niamh Varian-Barry, Rónán Ó Snodaigh & Myles O’Reilly, and Caoimhe & Séamus Ó Flatharta.

A visual stream for this programme will also be available online every week.

Stiúideo Cuan is a new creative arts and music centre based beside Ceardlann an Spidéil craft village in An Spidéal.

Founded by composer, fiddle-player and pianist Charlie Lennon and his daughter, fiddle-player Éilís Lennon, the studio has recently been redeveloped to enhance the facilities there which now include a performance venue, with rehearsal and production space, as well as recording and audio-visual post-production facilities.

Cuan an Cheoil will be broadcast on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta every Thursday from 7pm to 8.30pm, starting tonight.  See www.rte.ie/rnag for further information or to listen back.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry student makes wheelchair waves to create unique artwork

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Joshua Whelan proudly poses beside his artwork, an abstract interpretation of the Athenry town map.

A young Athenry student has been making waves after his artistic endeavours endeared him to the nation.

Joshua Whelan, a First Year pupil at Clarin College in Athenry, has cerebral palsy – and a passion for art, which was revealed when he joined Serena Joyce’s art class a few months ago.

And he has now produced his first large artwork – an abstract interpretation of the Athenry town map, which he produced by using the wheels of his wheelchair to apply the paint.

It was testimony to Serena’s determination to find a way for him to make his mark – and she found inspiration from other wheelchair artists, like American artist Tom Hollenstein.

Serena enlisted the help of Martin O’Connell, Joshua’s special needs assistant, to produce the painting which now hangs proudly in Clarin College for all to see.

Martin steers the chair, but at Joshua’s direction as he tells Martin how he wants the wheelchair to move across the canvas.

When the painted was posted on social media, it drew a huge reaction and led to Joshua featuring on RTÉ News last week.

And Joshua’s mother Ingrid was understandably proud of her son.

“He’s amazing. It’s a credit to the school and Serena and Martin, and the support he’s had to help realise his skills and abilities,” she said.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

NUIG distributing Covid test kits to students

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Breda Smyth, HSE West Director of Public Health Medicine and Personal Professor of Public Health Medicine, NUI Galway pictured with Professor Charles Spillane, Director of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute and PhD students Lorene Lefebvre and Gilles Dupouy and Master's students Killian Marlborough and Brian Joyce at the launch of UniCov in semester one 2021. Photo: Aengus McMahon.

Tens of thousands of antigen test kits are being provided to NUIG students alongside Project UniCoV as part of public health efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19.

From Monday 17 January, students will be able to collect packs at four locations across campus.

Professor Breda Smyth, Chief Investigator of Project UniCoV and HSE West Director of Public Health, urged students to avail of the kits as well as additional testing, by signing up to take part in Project UniCoV.

“Everyone attending campus needs to adhere to the basic public health measures in the first instance – including not coming to campus if you have symptoms and are supposed to be self-isolating or restricting movements.

“Being able to offer free antigen test kits on campus at NUI Galway and giving students the opportunity to take part in Project UniCov demonstrates how we can take a layered approach to public safety and the welfare of students and staff.”

Students can collect five tests at a time. They are being advised to test twice a week, three days apart. They are also being advised to self-isolate if they test positive or develop symptoms and to follow public health advice.

Students are also being encouraged to avail of the option for further free antigen and/or salvia PCR testing for twelve weeks in semester two. A special QR code is being made available to students to support the research.

NUI Galway students are also encouraged to get the vaccine booster, to continue to wear face coverings and sanitise hands. The University saw high levels of compliance from students with public health guidelines during the academic year and we thank them for that.

The distribution of free antigen test kits is funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

 

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