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Helping children cope with pressures

Judy Murphy

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Conor Hogan: Children are more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and self-confidence issues.

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy meets Conor Hogan, one of the first life coaches in Ireland to focus on young people and children

It was once regarded as an American concept, but the past few years have seen a growing demand for life-coaching here in Ireland as people try to improve their work or domestic situations.

The idea of hiring an expert to guide and advise people on finding a new direction is one that increasingly appeals to adults.

But the notion of life-coaching for children and teenagers is surely a step too far? Should they not be allowed to live their lives free from such discipline?

Not so, according to Conor Hogan, a Galway life coach and one of the first in Ireland to focus on children and young people.

Conor, who is a qualified primary and secondary school teacher, and who has a range of other internationally recognised training skills, feels that families today are experiencing pressure across a range of areas, from money worries to fast-moving technology. As a result, children are more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and self-confidence issues.

We live in an environment where parents are also increasingly protective of their children, he says.

“When we were small we’d spend three days out looking for a sliotar and we’d be let off. That would never happen now.”

Conor grew up in Roscam, on the outskirts of Galway City, where his parent had a farm. As a youngster he was hugely involved in sport, especially GAA, until an underlying condition forced him to quit.

He’s tall and fit, and it’s difficult to believe that he has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, but he was diagnosed in his late teens, which meant that contact sports were out of the question.

In an attempt to curtail the effects of the scoliosis, he began practising yoga, eventually qualifying as a Hot Yoga teacher – for a period he had a Yoga centre in Briarhill. Along the way, he came into contact with people who specialised in complementary therapies, including meditation and “that was where the interest in life-coaching came from,” he says. “Anything to do with mind, body, spirit; they are all interlinked.”

On the academic front, Conor did a degree in Business and Human Resource Management at GMIT and followed that with a H Dip in teaching. He also qualified as a primary teacher before undertaking an MA in NUIG on behaviour and discipline among young people outside school hours. Conor based his work on his experiences in the Galway Youth Café, the GAF, where he worked as a volunteer. He is currently doing a PhD under Pat Dolan, who initially designed GAF. That café is now closed but a spin-off, Jigsaw, which offers a range of services for young people, operates in the City’s Fairgreen.

Many of the teenagers who used the GAF Youth Café used to call there in the afternoons, when they might be expected to be at school, he says. But they didn’t cause any problems and one of his aims in the MA thesis was to establish why their behaviour in there was pretty good.

The reason was that many of the projects in GAF were feeding into education, and there was a great support for the café from a range of bodies which served young people.

Conor’s MA focused on teenagers, but for his PhD he is dealing with both primary and post-primary children, exploring their behaviour in out-of-school situations, such as youth centres, GAA clubs and other sporting organisations.

His own family experience as a teenager gave him a good grounding for working with young people, he says. His older sister, who lived nearby, had five children under the age of five and during Conor’s college years, he babysat them regularly. That’s where his interest in child-development came from, he says.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Work underway building St Pat's Boxing Club in Bohermore in June, 1971.

1919

Shipbuilding in Galway

A well-known London syndicate of shipbuilders which has recently established the industry on a considerable scale in Swansea, is anxious to secure a site for a shipbuilding yard on the west Coast of Ireland.

The name of Galway has been mentioned and we are led to understand that the Company would come to Galway if it was given an encouragement to do so.

Should Galway Harbour Board express the readiness to provide facilities and afford a site, negotiations will immediately be opened, and should those be successful, the work of erecting a yard would be begun almost at once.

Showing at The Victoria

There will be no lack of attractions at the premier picture house next week. It is a good while back since there was a “visit” from Queenie Thomas. No daintier and cleverer film actress ever stood before the camera, and she will take the chief role in a superb picture, entitled, “It’s Happiness that Counts,” on Sunday night.

The “Circus King,” such a favourite with those fond of thrills, will finish up on Monday and Tuesday nights, when its last episode will be screened.

On those nights, too, will open a great new serial, “The Silent Mystery.” It will be well worth seeing the first episode to learn of its enthralling plot.

Arms raid

Between eight and nine o’clock on Sunday night a raid for arms took place at the house of Lieut-Colonel Bernard, Castlehackett, near Tuam.  A party of nine or ten masked men entered, went to the butler and demanded to be shown where the guns were, and threatened him.

He gave them a shotgun. They also went to the gardener, Jackson, and made a similar demand, and were supplied by him with another gun.  The raiders took away about thirty rounds of ammunition, and it is said that they came across money which they did not take, saying it was guns they wanted, and adding that they would return them safely when they got their own back.

Lieut-Colonel Bernard is in England at present. The police are diligently pursuing inquiries into the matter, but so far no arrests have been made.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Time to shout stop in ‘Green bashing’ of rural way of life

Francis Farragher

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Forty shades of green . . . but will there be a place for people anymore?

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Maybe it was because this was one of the cold evenings of last week when the biting and icy drops seemed to take flea bites out of any piece of exposed skin but I just felt that I had reached the point of: “I can’t take any more”, in terms of RTE’s programme bombardment on climate change.

We were treated to so-called ‘visualisations’ of an Armageddon scenario that will engulf our lands over the next 20 or 30 years and shots of the Irish countryside where farmers have the nerve to keep on rearing cattle and sheep, even though this will mean more methane emissions entering our atmosphere.

I thought for a minute or two about my parents, my grandparents and those generations before them who eked out a living from the soil and gradually helped transform our island from a land of poverty and hunger into one, where not alone, could we produce enough food for ourselves but plenty to sell to other countries as well.

But, make no mistake about it, we are now being bombarded with one message and not least from RTE – our national broadcaster – that we are doing is wrong and very wrong.

Last week, I grabbed a soundbite from one of their ‘radio stars’ who knows everything about everything, asking if it was right and proper to be exporting beef all the way to China, after years of effort to try and open the door to one of the world’s most lucrative food markets.

The ironic about all of this is that practically every farmer I know of across my own parish and county go about their business in the most conscientious of ways. Most of them are non-intensive; they operate environmentally friendly grass-based production systems; they are willing to embrace the scientifically based advice of Teagasc in terms of improving their carbon footprint statistics . . . and yet there is this continuous barrage of criticism, nay even paranoia, about the way we do things.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Booze and coke drives up assaults across the county

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Sergeant Michael Walsh

Garda Crime Watch with Sergeant Michael Walsh

GALWAY’S active and vibrant social scene has undoubtedly led to its international success in winning the bid to host the European Capital of Culture 2020, as well as been recently acclaimed by the Lonely Planet website as the fourth best city in the world to visit. This is all brilliant news for the Galway tourist sector, and will bring a welcomed economic boost to all businesses.

However, international research has shown that the level of assaults can be associated with the vibrancy of the night time economy. Galway’s booming night life is not just limited to hen and stag parties at weekends, or the influx of tourists for the races or arts festival and other summer events.

The city for example accommodates over 25,000 third level students who add to this night-time economy on week nights. So, a city with such a contentious large-scale social scene is prone to having anti-social problems and assaults. The rate of assaults nationally has increased by about 50% over the past few years, but what’s more alarming is their unprovoked randomness and vicious nature.

So, why is this happening you might ask? Increased alcohol and drug abuse are a large factor in many of these night-time assaults. Cocaine and other related drugs are known to cause unpredictable behaviours in users, and coupled with copious amounts of alcohol create a recipe for disaster. Gardai witness this behaviour first hand any night of the week in our city and towns around the county.

Individuals or even groups of predominantly young males engage in pack-like behaviours and try to pick fights on other males or groups. I have personally stood outside nightclubs and fast food outlets in the early hours of the morning breaking up fights, and like many of my Garda colleagues, got assaulted in the process.

The presence of uniformed Gardai often does not deter such assaults, as some of these drug induced thugs will start a fight while under the watchful eye of Gardai. According to Alcohol Action Ireland, alcohol consumption in Ireland almost trebled over the past four decades, with 54% of Irish drinkers classified as harmful drinkers. It would seem that drinking to excess has become normalised and an acceptable practice, and the resulting anti-social behaviour is now almost become part of our culture.

An Garda Síochána recently launched its new Assaults in Public Reduction Strategy 2019 – 2021 in conjunction with our mission which is ‘Keeping People Safe’.  The five goals of this strategy are: (1) Protecting People and Communities; (2) Awareness and Education as a Crime Prevention Technique; (3) Policing Operational Efficiency; (4) Location Management by Working in Partnership; and (5) Offender Management.

As the Crime Prevention Officer my function is to create awareness and provide education around assaults. Our current national crime prevention campaign uses the tagline “Use Your Brain Not Your Fists” and I think we can all play a part in educating our younger generations to think about the repercussions, because after all one punch can kill. Education begins at home and alcohol awareness needs to be echoed through all facets of our society.

Galway is very fortunate to have been awarded the Purple Flag, which is an international accreditation awarded to cities and towns that meet a standard of excellence in managing the evening and night-time economy. I am delighted to work hand-in-hand with the city council and all the other stakeholders in trying to keep our streets and our people safe, but everyone can play their part.

My advice to any person out socialising is to remain streetwise. Crime can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and while not every culprit will get caught, every victim will suffer. The extent of your suffering or loss will depend on three things: namely your vulnerability; your environment; and your individual behaviour. You can reduce your vulnerability by limiting your alcohol intake and never, ever take illegal drugs.

Young people need to look out for one another and make sure they get home safely. Avoid walking alone; plan your route home; and make sure someone is tasked with checking you have arrived safely. Consider sharing your location on WhatsApp for example with a trusted friend who can monitor your position. When walking in public remain observant and walk in a confident and prompt manner, while keeping your phone and other valuable possessions out of sight.

Choose well lit locations and don’t engage with strangers and avoid confrontation. Trust your instincts: if something is not quite right, go to a safe place straight away. If you are the victim of crime or violence, report the matter to the Gardaí immediately: do not take it upon yourself to deal with the assailants.

For more information visit the Garda website at www.garda.ie or phone the free Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.

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