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Connacht Tribune

Mark – a class act on soccer pitch and as teacher

Keith Kelly

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Mark is now a volunteer with his local club Maree-Oranmore FC.

Lifestyle – Ex-Galway United player Mark Herrick tells KEITH KELLY about his teen years playing soccer in the UK before returning to Ireland and sitting the Leaving Cert as an adult. Now a teacher in the school where he was once a student, he feels online classes are no substitute for the real thing and says attending school is vital for young people, socially and emotionally as well as educationally.

On the decking of Mark Herrick’s house in Oranmore on a Tuesday morning, the family’s new kitten, Toffee, is exploring the socially-distanced interviewing space while the noise of children playing on the green behind the house carries into the garden over the back wall.

The patio door opens and out steps seven-year-old Matthew, son of Mark and Geraldine, a radiographer who works in UHG.

“Sorry Dad – do we have straws? I think we had some juice cartons with straws on them, have we any?” Matthew asks.

Mark and Geraldine’s only child, Matthew is a pupil at Gaelscoil de hÍde in Oranmore and is doing a project at home as part of his school work. Mark appreciates the need for children to continue with their education in these times, as he’s a secondary a school teacher in The Bish (St Joseph’s College) in the heart of the city.

Being a parent and a teacher, he knows the issues from both perspectives and empathises with anyone who is struggling with this new world of remote learning.

“He goes to the Gaelscoil, and I wouldn’t have great Irish, so between that and trying to grapple with technology so he can upload things, it can take a while,” Mark laughs.

As a teacher during Covid-19 – his core subject is history, but he has also taught his other degree subject of geography – Mark tried to hold classes over Zoom, but soon concluded they weren’t working.

“I’d be a big believer in interaction with the students, in eye-contact, in movement and you just don’t get that over Zoom. That’s what my concern is for September – we have to get the kids back in to school, you just can’t run classes over a computer screen. I do think we will get the schools back and open, the kids need it for schooling but also for their own social development.

“I see Matthew, he enjoys doing the work at home, but he misses his friends, he misses the classroom, his teacher, the playground, the social aspect. That is just important as the learning side; it is all part of education,” Mark says.

For many of us, time spent in the classroom as students was all about ‘rote learning’ – you’d go into a certain class, and for 40 minutes, take turns reading aloud paragraph after paragraph from a certain book until the bell signalled the end of that particular period of torment. Only to realise the bell also signalled the start of a new 40 minutes of sheer boredom.

That’s not Mark’s style, according to parents of boys he has taught in The Bish. He likes to engage students, to challenge them while also trying to bring an element of fun to the learning process.

One way of doing this via a crossword he’d set for history classes every Friday, with clues relating to topics they’d covered that week. He smiles at the memory.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

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

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

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

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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