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Helping children cope with pressures

Judy Murphy



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.

Connacht Tribune

New ways to fight age-old global battles

Judy Murphy



GLAN’s Galway offices are based in the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUIG. In the UK, it operates out of Garden Court Chambers, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.

Lifestyles – NUIG Law graduate Gearóid Ó Cuinn is passionate about human rights and is the driving force behind the unique GLAN Network. He tells JUDY MURPHY how it works locally, nationally and internationally to take on governments and multi-nationals when their economic and political actions are destroying people’s lives.

Sometimes you have to follow your gut. That’s what Waterford-born Gearóid Ó Cuinn did while the science graduate from UCD was on a scholarship to Notre Dame University in the USA in 2001.  The result of his gut decision is a unique organisation, working out of Galway, that works with communities and professionals all over the world to challenge global human rights abuses.

Gearóid was in America when New York’s Twin Towers were attacked, an event that led to the US-UK invasion of Iraq. That invasion awakened something in Gearóid, leading him away from science and towards law.

He began dropping into lectures in International Law given by Defence Rights lawyer Juan Mendez, who had been imprisoned and tortured by the Argentinian dictatorship in the 1970s and later became UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Soon after, Gearóid changed course.

He returned to Ireland to pursue a law degree at NUIG. Gearóid attended lectures by night and did “substitute teaching in Spiddal by day and pulled pints in Áras na nGael at night” to pay his way.

The NUIG Law Department had “a great set of characters who were great to back you up and give advice”, he says of his time there.

Gearóid went on to do a PhD in the University of Nottingham and then lectured in law at Lancaster University. But his heart was elsewhere and he “wanted to do something a little less passive”.

During his college holidays, Gearóid had volunteered in Palestine and the occupied Golan Heights, and what he experienced in those places stoked his desire for justice.

This quietly spoken man points out that nothing in the world is unconnected and while he was in Palestine in 2004, he saw “Irish cement being poured into the separation wall”. Gearóid is referring to the barrier built by the Israelis in the occupied Palestinian Territory.

The International Court of Justice deemed this structure illegal under international law at that time, but it still exists, with dreadful consequences for Palestinians.

“The Irish connection to what was going on in Palestine showed that our own back garden wasn’t being put in order,” says Gearóid about this country.

Soon after graduating from Galway he decided to take action and set about “pulling the expertise of colleagues together, using it to address cross-border issues”.

That’s what he’s been doing since, firstly with Ceartas, Irish Lawyers for Human rights in Galway, and then with GLAN, which has offices in London, Galway and Berlin and links with legal firms all over the world and with universities including Yale and Stanford in the USA.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A short list and the odd nap could ease our daily woes

Francis Farragher



Country Living with Francis Farragher

At this stage of my existence on this earth, I suppose that it’s a bit late now to try and work out a personal conundrum as to whether I slip into the lazy or hard-working category.   It probably all goes back to childhood days when I’d make a song and dance about bringing in a bag of turf for my mother and then maybe the next day receive the height of praise for cutting a half-field of thistles with the scythe.

The old pendulum between doing too little and too much never seemed to stop oscillating in my younger days but probably like the vast majority of ‘country stock’ we all knew that we’d be treated as a lower class, if we didn’t pull our weight.

I often feel the dose, of what I’ll categorise as ‘laziness guilt’, when friends of mine tell me how many books they read every month; or how many yards of turf they footed in one evening; or maybe closer to the bone, how they managed to write far more newspaper stories in one day than I did.

What sparked my interest in this was a Psychology Today column that I happened to speed read (too lazy to read it all diligently) in which the author, Daniel Marston (Ph. D. if you don’t mind), posed the simple question: “Are some people just lazy?” His conclusions are worth a bit of scrutiny.

He points out that while many people have very genuine medical and psychiatric disabilities that prevent them from participating in the workforce, there is another very distinct cohort of people with no such legitimate excuse, but who just seemingly can’t be bothered to do anything much.

Dr. Martson contends that there is such a state of ‘true laziness’ which has a relationship with our friends in the animal kingdom, but the root cause of it, is the motivation or the need to spring into action.

He points out that the dog who sits lazily on the rug for hours can spring into the most vigorous action when there’s a knock at the door, so his theory in summary is, that motivation is the only real antidote for that section of the population suffering from ‘true laziness’.

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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By




Rush hour traffic of a different kind in Bowling Green in February, 1991.


Government raids

On last Friday morning a series of raids and searches for documents and ammunition was carried out all over Ireland on the houses of prominent Sinn Féiners.

In Galway – the raid started about 1 o’clock when parties of military, fully armed and wearing trench helmets, accompanied by some police, entered the Sinn Féin Hall at Prospect Hill, the offices of the “Galway Express,” and the houses of Mr. M. Walsh, Old Malt House, High-st., Mr. M. Flanagan, Merchants’-road, Mr. H. Shields, Francis-st., Mr. George Nicolls, solr., University-road, and Dr. Cusack, M.P., at Anglingham.

Only a few cards of membership and lists of names of members were taken away from the Sinn Féin Hall, and there was no incriminating document found in the “Express” Office.

A few cartridges were found at some of the houses visited, and these were taken away. The raid lasted about an hour. Although the news of the searches came as a surprise, very little interest was manifested in the proceedings by the public, and beyond a few passers-by, who now and then stood to have a look at the houses that were being raided, there were no on-lookers about.

In Clifden – Several houses were raided in Clifden, and Mr. W. A. Clancy, D.C., merchant and publican, was arrested, some ammunition, it is stated, being found on his premises. He is still in custody and will, it is presumed, be tried by court martial.

In Athenry – The houses raided in Athenry included those of Mr. Stephen Jordan, Davis-st., Mr. Larry Lardiner, Church-st., Mr. Jack Broderick, Mr. Christie Broderick, chemist, and the office of Mr. G. Nicolls, B.A., solr., at Murphy’s Hotel, Barrack-st.

As Mr. Nicolls was leaving for Galway, he was searched by the police, but nothing of a seditious nature was discovered on him. Nothing was found on the premises raided.

In Portumna – On Friday last, eight police visited seven houses in town and searched the houses and premises. Similar raids were made in the Abbey and Tynagh districts.


Rigid censorship

Galway County Libraries Committee, at a meeting on Saturday, decided to have new books censored more closely in future, and the Censorship Committee were asked to meet once a month for this purpose.

The Committee unanimously adopted the annual report of the Co. Librarian, Mr. S. J. Maguire, on the working of the library. A copy of the report was published in the “Connacht Tribune” on August 19th.

Banks to blame

The rates of interest charged on loans by the banks were much too high and something should be done to get them reduced, Mr. R. M. Burke told the Galway County Council on Saturday. While the banks paid only one per cent. on money on deposit he believed they could easily reduce the rates charged to borrowers such as County Councils.

Houses could be let to tenants at lower rents if bank interest charges were lower – much of the money due on housing schemes was for interest on overdraft, he said.

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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