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Governing Body told to google proposed new NUIG President

Dara Bradley



Members of the Governing Body of NUI Galway were told to ‘google’ information about the university’s new President – at the meeting in which they approved the appointment.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh was ratified as the university’s new President by the Governing Body of NUIG at its meeting last September. He replaced Dr James Browne in January.

The meeting was given a short report about the recruitment process for the appointment of a new president, including the work of the search committee, the selection committee and the role of an international recruitment company, Perrett Laver.

They were then informed that the selection committee was recommending Prof Ó hÓgartaigh.

Members were given a “short bio” of the preferred candidate at the end of the written report, but this was not sufficient for some members, according to minutes of the meeting, released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

“Some members expressed the view that they had expected a more comprehensive report on the presidency recruitment process than that tabled for the Údarás meeting. They stated that they would have welcomed more information in the report such as the personal vision of the preferred candidate, his research experience and standing, his CV, assessment criteria applied during the competition and the identity of the shortlisted candidates. A few members at this point in the meeting, thought themselves unable to support the ratification of the preferred candidate for appointment as President without recourse to further information,” the minutes said.

In response, Gearóid Ó Conluain, secretary of NUIG, said 33 colleagues from the Governing Body, the Academic Council and externally, had a role in the recruitment process. He said that the process of selection had been agreed previously with the Údarás.

Mr Ó Conluain added the selection committee had been entrusted by the governing body to recommend the best possible applicant for appointment and he warned “they should not be second guessed in the work that they had carried out in that regard”.

A discussion about the identify of Prof Ó hÓgartaigh having been “widely known” on campus prior to it being made officially known to the governing body ensued.

A motion to ratify Prof Ó hÓgartaigh was subsequently put to the meeting and it was “agreed without any reservation”.

Following his ratification by Údarás, members of the governing body discussed the recruitment process for the presidency.

During this discussion, Cathaoirleach Justice Catherine McGuinness, “advised members interested in acquiring more information on Prof Ó hOgartaigh, than that presented in the short bio before the meeting, ‘Google’ him as she had drawn down quite an amount of information on that basis”.

The then incoming Student Union President, Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, attending his first Údarás meeting, “expressed a degree of discomfiture regarding the ratification of the new president without some understanding of the vision the new president would have for the student body.”

Justice McGuinness said students had contributed to the work of two committees that were “indispensable” to the competition process.

In response Mr Ó Conluain said the previous SU President and other students had “exercised strong leadership” in helping to shape the advice of the committees on the desirable attributes of a new appointee, including a vision for students.

The meeting took a short break at this point, and when they reconvened, a governing body member who was also on the selection committee said the new president was an “exceptional candidate”, whose appointment should be acclaimed by the Údarás.

She called for a “bualadh bos (applause)” in recognition of this. Another member asked the meeting to record a “céad mile fáilte” to the new president.

The minutes added: “A round of applause ensued and the discussion concluded”.


Brave Holly’s battle against leukaemia

Denise McNamara



A keen young camogie player from Knocknacarra diagnosed with leukaemia at the start of the first lockdown has now learned that she has lost her sight in one eye due to a rare complication.

Holly McAlinney was the picture of health at age seven. Her mother Sharon remembers the day schools were closed last March that her teacher had remarked that Holly had difficulty hearing in class.

She took her to the GP, thinking it was an ear infection and then her jaw swelled up so she thought it may have been her adenoids acting up. When medication did nothing to relieve the symptoms, they sent off a blood test.

“I went to the doctor with her on my own, you were only allowed one parent in at a time. They asked if I could call my husband so I knew things were bad. They confirmed it was leukaemia on a Wednesday and on the Monday we were in Crumlin Children’s Hospital getting chemotherapy – that’s how quickly it’s all been.”

Holly is now in the middle of her fourth round of chemo, which she undergoes weekly one day a week in the Dublin hospital. When she finishes this, she will have a fifth round given over two years to ensure the cancer doesn’t return.

Her medical team are extremely positive about her prospects. There is currently a 98 per cent survival rate with leukaemia, which is of course a huge relief to family and friends.

But things haven’t gone plain sailing throughout the treatment. Holly developed ulcers on her duodenum which left her in intensive care for a spell. And then last week, the family learned that the leukaemia had infiltrated her left eye, leaving a gap which could result in permanent blindness.

“We’re seeing a specialist in University Hospital Galway (UHG) next week but we don’t hold out much hope the sight will come back. Holly’s the most upbeat of all of us because she’s so young – she can’t see the repercussions into the future.

“That’s the way she’s been throughout the treatment. The first two rounds were heavy and the third quite light so she bounced right back. She was in school September and October, you wouldn’t know she was sick, and we felt she was safe because everything was so clean and with all the bubbles.

“It was right back down with the fourth round which was the heaviest so she can’t go see anyone just her brother – it’s heart-breaking.”

Her school friends have been keeping in touch by sending videos and cards to Holly to cheer her up.

While camogie and swimming will be out of the occasion for the foreseeable future, Sharon is confident they can find other hobbies that will enthral Holly, who is a very sociable and sporty girl. Sharon trains Holly with the U-8 camogie team with Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA.

The frequent trips to Dublin and hospital appointments has meant that Sharon has had to give up her job working in the Little Stars Montessori on the Cappagh Road, where son Alex still attends afterschool. Dad Rob works as an alarm engineer.

New mothers that Sharon met in Holly’s parent and baby group in Knocknacarra have organised a fundraiser to help the family get through the financial stress of coping with cancer.

They are planning a hike on December 6 at Diamond Hill, Connemara and have already raised €16,000 in donations.

“Rob and I are both from Salthill, but it’s been amazing the amount of people we wouldn’t have heard or seen in years who have contacted us to offer support. It’s only when you’re in trouble that you realise how good people can be.”

■ To make a donation, log on to GoFundMe

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Proposals to change speed limits in Galway City are voted down

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Planned speed limit changes for Galway City are stuck in the slow lane after councillors rejected a proposal for new bylaws.

The bylaws would have introduced a 30km/h zone in the city centre and 19 other changes, including increased speed limits in areas such as Bóthar na dTreabh to 80km/h.

Management at City Hall have now been sent back to the drawing board to draft new speed limit bylaws after a majority of elected members voted against them – it could at least two years before new proposals are ready.

At a meeting this week, several councillors spoke out against plans to increase speed limits to 80km/h on approach roads into the city.

Many of them criticised the system of selecting roads for speed limit changes, lashed the public consultation process and decried the lack of input from councillors, despite speed limits being a reserved function of elected members.

Councillors were particularly peeved that the proposal had to be accepted in its entirety, without amendments, or rejected outright – they could not pick and choose individual changes.

Deputy Mayor Collette Connolly (Ind) led the charge against the bylaws, which she described as “idiotic”.

She lambasted the “incomprehensible decision” not to lower speed limits to 30km/h outside schools and she said it was “utter raiméis” (nonsense) that speeds can’t be lowered to 30km/h, if 85% of the traffic on that road travels at 50km/h.

Cllr Connolly said the bylaws were “flawed”, and cited the decision to leave Rahoon Road/Shantalla Road at 50km/h, despite a crèche and two schools on other roads like Lough Atalia remaining at 30km/h.

(Photo: A speed van on Bóthar na dTreabh on Thursday morning)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, including how each councillor voted and a map of the proposed changes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Corrib to be opened up as new tourism and leisure blueway

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first steps are to be taken next year to explore the development of a ‘blueway’ tourism and leisure trail along the River Corrib, from Nimmo’s Pier and onto the lake itself.

This week, Galway City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that monies had been set aside to begin exploratory work on what will be known as the Great Western Blueway.

A figure of €65,000 has been allocated in the City Council’s 2021 annual budget to commission an initial study of what’s involved in the setting up a blueway trail on the Corrib.

“The Corrib river and the lake are a most wonderful natural asset for the entire western region and I have no doubt that this project has fantastic potential in terms of enhancing the tourism pulling power of the city and its environs,” Mr McGrath told the Galway City Tribune this week.

Should the project come to fruition, it would be the fifth such waterway attraction to be developed in the island of Ireland.

Already there are Blueways on the Shannon, from Drumshanbo to Lanesboro; the Shannon-Erne project from Leitrim village to Belturbet (Cavan); the Royal Canal at Mullingar; and at Lough Derg from Portumna to Scariff in Clare.

According to Mr McGrath, the attractions developed along the Great Western Blueway would be environmentally friendly, featuring such attractions as kayaking, paddling, adjacent cycle trails as well as scenic walkways and visitor centres.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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