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Local company scoops awards



Galway construction company Stewart has scooped three awards at the Irish Building and Design Awards, including the prestigious ‘Contractor of the Year’.

The event held in Dublin is in its fourth year and was attended by around 300 of the country’s top architects, designers, engineers, building contractors and manufacturers.

Stewart – which is based in Lower Salthill – also won awards for using 3D design to progress project design and delivery and for the retrofitting of a warehouse in Claregalway to become a secondary school.

The Contractor of the Year award is given to the company which “demonstrates a unique ability to win and complete projects on budget and within deadline during tough market conditions and for the ability to position themselves for growth through innovative solutions to challenges”.

A spokesperson for the company said: “It has been a challenging few years for all industries and not least the construction sector. We accredit significant success to a very talented and committed body of staff and are bucking the trend recording a steady increase in turnover and a welcome accompanying increase in personnel.”

Stewart also won the ‘BIM Initiative of the Year’ (Building Information Modelling, a form of digital designing) for pioneering new ways of making project design, delivery and operation more effective.

The ‘Retrofit Project of the Year’ award was for the design and build of the post-primary school in Claregalway.

The 350 pupil secondary school in Claregalway was designed and constructed within an existing empty warehouse unit in a retail and business park and within a rapid build construction period of only 22 weeks.

Connacht Tribune

Award-winning entrepreneurial scheme kicks off again at University of Galway



Participants and facilitators for this year's Start100 programme at University of Galway.

University of Galway IdeasLab is celebrating after striking gold for their Start100 Programme – and now it’s back better and bigger than ever for a second year of operations.

The programme took top prize in the Entrepreneurship at Universities category at the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) Conference held earlier this month in Budapest.

IdeasLab’s Start100 Program which supports entrepreneurial students to take their idea to impact in 100 days was acknowledged for its great emphasis on peer-to-peer learning and support and showcases stories from across the entrepreneurial spectrum to create relatable and achievable role models.

Based at the University of Galway campus, IdeasLab are back with their six-week student incubator programme, Start100.

Now in its second year, this year there are twelve teams who are embarking on an entrepreneurial journey with the aim of taking their innovative idea to the next step.

“Within a year, Start100 has been embraced by our entire ecosystem and the support we are receiving from mentors, judges and our community is a testament to the importance of nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship in Universities,” said Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway.

“This year we have increased our number of projects to twelve, based on the huge demand for Start100 from our incredible students.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

New President for Local Ireland



Left to right, Bob Hughes, Executive Director, Local Ireland, Dan Linehan, Head of Irish Times Regionals and Declan McGuire, Operations Manager of the Connacht Tribune.

The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.

Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.

Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”

Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.

He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.

Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.

Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.

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Connacht Tribune

Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region



Pictured at Regional Insight Series in the Galmont Hotel are: Trevor O’Rourke, (CEO, Fibre Networks Ireland); Senan Colleran, (Head ESB Assets, Generation & Trading, ESB); Eilish O'Sullivan, (Human Resources Director, Medtronic); Danny McCoy, (CEO, Ibec); Helen Leahy, (Head of Regional Policy, Ibec); Ruairi Conroy (Diligent Corporation) and Fergal O’Brien, (Executive Director of Lobbying & Influence, Ibec). PHOTO: Michael Dillon.

The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.

At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.

Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.

“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.

“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.

Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:

  • Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
  • Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
  • Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
  • Investment in people and skills
  • Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
  • Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth




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