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Connacht Tribune

Healer of body and mind



Surgeon and psychotherapist Brendan Harding: “I’ve been in great pain and I know people will get dependent on you for a while,” he says. “It may be because they couldn’t depend on their parent as a child.” Photos: Hany Marzouk.

Lifestyle – Doctor and psychotherapist Brendan Harding to share stories of pain and suffering at Clifden Arts Festival. But mostly it’s about connecting with our deeper selves, he tells Judy Murphy

Compassion and consciousness are two words that Brendan Harding uses in conversation more frequently than most people do. Doctor and psychotherapist Brendan will be taking part in this year’s Clifden Arts Festival on Sunday, giving presentation entitled Jung, Symbols and Songs of the Soul.

Brendan who will be accompanied by singer Eleanor Shanley and classical guitarist John Feeley for the presentation, feels that humanity could do with more of those attributes right now.

For years, Cavan-born Brendan, who lives in Ballinasloe, was a surgeon dedicated to saving people’s lives.

Along the way, he began another journey that would lead him towards healing people’s minds and spirits as well as their bodies.

His interest in psychotherapy began to develop in the 1980s when he sought to address his own deep emotional pain. And it has continued through the decades as he practised as a surgeon, first in Ireland, then in Saudi Arabia and in Canada before returning to Ireland, where he most recently worked in Portiuncula Hospital until his retirement last year.

While working in Newfoundland in Canada, Brendan travelled to Rhode Island in the US in his free time, training as a Jungian psychotherapist.

His work is based on the teachings of Swiss-born Carl Jung, a (1875-1961), a pioneer of modern psychology, whose teachings are hugely influential today.

It’s something that has complemented his medical training – Brendan points out that Jung was “into the idea of body and mind being one” long before this became widely accepted.

Now retired as a surgeon, Brendan is keen to share the benefits of Jungian psychotherapy and the knowledge he has gained from years studying the human psyche.

For Brendan, “depression is a time of suffering, not necessarily an illness and if it’s handled properly, it can be a time of growth”.

Handling it properly requires a person to get in touch with their deeper self.

One of Carl Jung’s central messages was that someone’s conscious mind, or ego, was only a tiny part of that person.

In order to have truly fulfilled lives, we need to connect with the unconscious part of ourselves, accessing repressed memories and forgotten information.

Doing that, according to Jung, lets us address underlying pain and trauma to become the most complete person we can be.

‘Talking therapy’ is a recognised way of helping people access the unconscious, but it’s not the only one.

Creative therapy is hugely beneficial, according to Brendan, especially for people who may have suffered extreme trauma and find it difficult to express themselves verbally.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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