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GMIT probe ‘raised more questions than answers’



The chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has agreed to probe further the expenditure of €436,000 by Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on a plagiarism investigation.

Fianna Fáil TD, John McGuinness said it was “incredible” in terms of “governance and money” how some €460,000 was spent by GMIT on an investigation of one incident of plagiarism at the Dublin Road college. Deputy McGuinness said it warranted further investigation by PAC and he agreed to return to the matter at another sitting.

The issue was raised at PAC by Galway East TD, Paul Connaughton Junior, alumni of the college.

The Fine Gael Deputy said the correspondence received by the PAC from the Higher Education Authority about the expenditure by GMIT “raised more questions than it answers”.

He requested the PAC would return to look at the matter again and tease out the issues.

According to correspondence presented to PAC, it cost €1,500 per day for the two investigators, said Deputy Connaughton. “I doubt Sherlock Holmes would have cost that much,” he said.

Speaking at the PAC Dáil committee, he added: “There is no conclusion in sight and the review could continue like a runaway train. The last point was that there was an argument between the investigators that required further legal action between the two of them before the report could be published. That was also an extra cost on the taxpayer.”

He said the report received by members of the PAC raises many questions about the expenditure of money by GMIT. He said that officials from the Department of Education, Higher Education Authority and GMIT would have to come in and “explain it again and to give some detail”.

Deputy Connaughton said: “How did they come up with the €1,500? Why there was no interim report? Why was there no deadline? At the very end (of the report) it states that the college’s procedures for dealing with plagiarism were fit for purpose. It cost us €436,000 to find that out. So many more questions need to be asked about this.”

The chairman of the PAC agreed and promised that the committee would return to the issue of governance and expenditure of money at GMIT in relation to the plagiarism investigation. PAC members hope to return to the GMIT issue before the summer recess.

GMIT President Michael Carmody, who has now retired, and Financial Controller, Jim Fennell, have both previously conceded the investigation has damaged the institute’s reputation.

The incident of plagiarism under investigation relates to a masters student at the School of Business in 2009. It was asked to establish the facts around the allegation that a lecturer facilitated a student, her partner, to cheat in an assignment.

The external investigation was also charged with exposing whether the cheating incident was “suppressed, concealed or covered up” by staff.

The external investigation was launched following revelations highlighted in this newspaper about the incident of plagiarism; and after several internal investigations failed to get to the bottom of the issue.

Mr Carmody has confirmed disciplinary action was taken against staff on foot of the report into the incident, which GMIT has refused to publish the report despite initially indicating that it would be published.

Prior to his retirement, Mr Carmody confirmed the college was dealing with another ‘historical’ case and told the Galway City Tribune that they could never be fully confident that there weren’t more plagiarism ‘skeletons’ in the college’s closet.

Connacht Tribune

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



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 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 to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

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



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 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



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 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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