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Connacht Tribune

Galway Michelin chef backs project to fight poverty in Central Africa

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Galway’s Michelin-starred chef this week dropped in on a community garden project in the city to give his backing to an initiative that will help put vegetables onto the plates of children – in one of the world’s poorest countries.

JP McMahon came to see the community garden Westside Resource Centre in Galway city this week, backing the notion of areas growing more of their own food.

But he was also seeking support for a similar scheme in the poverty-stricken Central African country of Burundi, where the aid agency Concern Worldwide is helping to tackle child malnutrition.

And he used the Westside community garden – part of the Let’s Get Galway Growing initiative – to put the spotlight on the Kitchen Gardens concept, which the charity is spearheading in a new crowdfunding campaign.

The 38-year-old married father of two explained that the gardens encourage communities to grow their own vegetables in a country where poor nutrition has stunted the growth of 58 per cent (881,000) of children aged under five.

As Europe suffers from its own vegetable shortage due to weather conditions in the Mediterranean, the chef and owner of Michelin star restaurant Aniar – as well as tapas bar Cava Bodega and Eat Gastropub – has urged people to think of those in greater need in Burundi where 9.2 million people (83 per cent of the population), live in poverty.

The Failte Ireland ambassador for Irish food also believes the Kitchen Gardens project should inspire everyone to grow their own nutritious and healthy food.

Speaking from the Westside community gardens, accompanied by his daughters Heather (8) and Martha (4), he said: “Europe has taken so much out of Africa; it is our duty as Europeans and Irish people to give back.

“I think Kitchen Gardens is a genuine and excellent idea because it taps into that connection to growing food that a lot of us never have to think about at all.

“It supports people in great need in growing their own farms for the future, making them more self-sufficient and strengthening their community.

“This project gives us a sense of fulfilment that we are actually helping people to produce their own food because aid can only do so much.

“It should also inspire us in Ireland and wherever we are in the world to grow our own food.

“Every home should have, at the very least, a herb garden, even if all you have is an apartment with a window sill or balcony”.

JP, who also runs the Aniar cookery school, is urging people to support Kitchen Gardens on the crowdfunding website Generosity.com where the target is €20,000 to benefit 200 families or over 1,000 individuals.

The food writer, who also runs the annual Food on the Edge global chef symposium, has donated signed recipes that will be sent to anyone who donates €65 to the campaign.

The gardens themselves are designed to trap moisture and enable vegetables – such as carrots, cabbage and onions – to grow all year round, even in very dry conditions.

They are circular and raised about one metre above ground with an inner circular basket at its centre where compostable waste, such as uncooked vegetables, are added to provide nutrients to the plants.

Concern, which works with the Burundi government, provides the items needed to assemble the gardens – which takes about two days to build – and provides training to members of the community, who share their new skills and knowledge with others.

To mark the launch of Kitchen Gardens, Concern Worldwide street fundraisers will be handing out free packets of carrot seeds to members of the public in Ireland this week.

People can find more information and donate to the campaign by clicking on this link where people can also monitor how much has been donated and share and discuss the project on social media.

Connacht Tribune

Football’s a funny old game – and you can quote me on that

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If someone actually made it a requirement of your commitment to your job that you run through a brick wall for them, surely the people from health and safety would have to intervene?

And yet this the ultimate tribute a manager pays to their star player, as a way of suggesting he or she would always go the extra yard.

Never mind that the world now measures in metres, but whatever the currency, what would be the point of going a yard or metre further than was required?

Because going the extra yard would mean you’ve gone too far, which sort of defeats the whole plan in the first place.

And yet you hear it all the time, because sports stars have a way of giving an interview which revolves around half a dozen stock answers – all of which leave you none the wiser when it’s over.

Managers learn how to expand on these stock replies to incorporate a whole new range of clichés that fill airtime but answer nothing.

More to the point, they often mean nothing too.

Because where else in life would 100 per cent commitment to the particular cause never be quite enough – given that everyone else was giving 110 per cent?

And yet that too is among those most common clichés expressed in post-match set-piece interviews; packed to the wall with observations that actually mean precisely nothing.

Those post-game interviews were in the news for more serious reasons in recent weeks, after one of the biggest stars of the world of tennis, Naomi Osaka, declined to do them during the French Open because she said that negative questions on her performance were impacting on her mental health.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Sporting organisations letting us down by rolling over to NPHET

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Galway players Niamh McGrath and Siobhan Gardiner show their disappointment after falling to Kilkenny in Sunday's National Camogie League final at Croke Park. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IRELAND’S various big sporting organisations continue to embarrass themselves in relation to how they are handling the Covid pandemic. Being slaves to public health guidelines is one thing, but these bodies have introduced some rules of their own which are only further alienating their support base.

The GAA, IRFU, the FAI and Horse Racing Ireland may be currently dependent on public finances to keep their respective shows on the road, but that can’t excuse their lack of independent thinking or the fact they are making a deeply frustrating situation worse by adding in their own Covid-19 regulations

In effect, these sporting bodies are trying too hard to please NPHET and it doesn’t seem to matter how much they inconvenience or antagonise their grassroots in the process. Take the GAA, for instance. At club level dressing rooms remain closed and that causes significant irritation, especially on wet days.

Horse Racing Ireland is no better. Two owners per runner have been allowed back at race meetings and while that number is about to increase to four, there has been little enthusiasm among the cohort of people who pay the bills to return. And why would they? – no catering, no bookies and no atmosphere. And the most absurd thing of all is that the racing authorities are still enforcing the mask-wearing regulation.

Imagine still having to use a face covering in what amounts to big open fields. Is Horse Racing Ireland clueless as to how foolish jockeys, trainers, the few owners and media people present are being made to look, especially when the risk of contracting Covid is negligible in such an environment? All the while, beaches, public parks and walkways are milling with people.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

The thrill of learning

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Embracing education: Anna Keane who will begin a BA in September; Anne Marie Ward who is doing a part-time degree in Youth, Community and Family Studies; Owen Ward who has a Master’s in Education and works at NUIG; and Jason Sherlock who will embark on a Master’s in International Finance in September. All entered NUIG via its Access Programme.

Lifestyle – Most members of the Travelling community are unlikely to finish secondary education and only a tiny proportion go to university. But for people who want an academic education, NUIG is leading the way. Four keen learners share their stories with JUDY MURPHY, among them post-graduate Owen Ward who works in NUIG’s Access Office, assisting people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Starting third-level education can be daunting for even the most confident teenager. Entering a massive campus, meeting so many new people, trying to figure out timetables, deciding what societies to join and just finding your feet – those early weeks can be a challenge.

That’s how Jason Sherlock felt when the young city man began his degree at NUIG in 2018. A member of the Travelling community, Jason had more reason than most to feel daunted in this educational establishment. According to the 2016 Census, only one percent of Travellers go on to third level – although that has increased slightly since then, thanks to people like Jason and his mentor, Owen Ward, a Programme Coordinator in the university’s Access Office.

Jason, who entered university though the Access Programme, which supports students from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’, will begin studying for a Master’s in International Finance in September, having completed a degree in Economics, Sociology and Political Science.

As we meet on the campus at NUIG on a sunny Friday, he recalls having his photo taken by the Tribune 11 years ago, on his final day at Scoil Bhríde National School in Shantalla, where he had never missed a day.

But university was different. Initially, Jason felt it wasn’t for him and almost dropped out of his course. That’s where Owen Ward appeared. Owen who graduated from NUIG in 2014, having also entered via the Access Programme, was back doing a Master’s in Education.  He heard Jason was on campus and went looking for him among the 18,000 students.

“I didn’t know Jason at the time but I knew his father. And I tracked him down,” he recalls with a laugh. Having done that, he was able to support the younger man in those difficult early days. Jason found his feet and with Owen went on to set up Mincéirs Whiden, a new society at NUIG. The first of its kind in any third-level institution, Mincéirs Whiden is for Traveller students but is open to all. Members include students from the settled community, Irish and international.

Anne Marie Ward, who is beginning her third year of a part-time degree in Youth, Community and Family Studies, is the incoming chair of Mincéirs Whiden.

She’s also the new Ethnic Minorities Officer for the NUIG Students’ Union, the first member of the Travelling Community to be elected to a position in the student body.  She is Owen’s sister.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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