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Medtronic rolls out big guns to raise hopes of jobs boost

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Date Published: 13-Oct-2010

There are strong hopes on the job creation and investment front for Galway, after the full Board of Directors and Executive Management Committee of Medtronic – which includes some of the biggest industry leaders in the United States – visited the city earlier this week.

Such was the sheer magnitude and importance of the visit, the executives from the medical devices company – one of the biggest employers in the West – were given a VIP escort along the unopened stretch of the new M18 Ennis to Gort motorway, after flying into Shannon Airport from the United States.

Medtronic CEO William Hawkins is said to have been “super impressed” with Galway’s roads and transport infrastructure, and with NUI Galway in particular.

It was the biggest ever visit of executives to the facility at the Parkmore Business Park in Galway, where around 2,000 people are employed in developing and manufacturing medical devices for the treatment and management of cardiovascular and cardiac rhythm disease.

The team of 24 directors and executives were joined by handlers, personal assistants and corporate security personnel. Sources say that while no announcement is due, the visit is seen as “very positive”.

As well as having a bi-monthly board meeting in the five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel, the company heads also launched the Galway Science & Technology Festival which takes place next month, and visited NUI Galway. The board visits Medtronic plants around the world each year.

The Medtronic board members who visited Galway are some of the biggest industry leaders in the US and includes the CEO of Delta Airlines; a director of US Airways; a retired chairman of Johnson & Johnson; the CEO of the Nielsen Company (media marketing and TV ratings); the CEO of the Duke University Health System; the CEO of General Mills (a food conglomerate); a former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the chairman of the World Economic Forum USA and a director of Stericycle, the worldwide waste management company.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Riptide Movement’s bigger ambitions for the next wave

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Date Published: 01-May-2013

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O’Donohoe the hero as Connacht secure late draw with Italian men

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Date Published: 02-May-2013

Treviso 23

Connacht 23

ANOTHER positive result for a Connacht team finishing the season on a high. For the third time in four away games, Connacht came away with a result, this time a draw thanks to a gutsy late surge from the pack and sniping try from replacement scrum half Paul O’Donohoe.

That score and Dan Parks’ conversion with the last kick sealed the two points at a venue where the home side hadn’t lost for five games. Connacht teams are becoming troublesome on their travels, wins in Cardiff, Edinburgh and twice in Parma along with this draw in Treviso underline as much.

If they can finish with a win over Glasgow on Friday night, (that’s a big if as the Scottish side are chasing a home play off semi final), they’ll have broken their record for wins in a season in this competition and they’ll more than likely have equalled a highest finish of eighth. Not bad at all.

For Eric Elwood, it must be a good feeling right now. His tenure is coming to a close and he can rightfully point to progress. He hasn’t hidden away from the negatives it should be said. He is well aware of the problems overcoming Irish provinces, keeping hold of young talent and delivering in some winnable home games.

This season alone, defeats at home to Edinburgh (by one point), Cardiff (by four points) and Munster (by four pints) will rankle long into the summer. In fact, you can’t find one close game that went the other way unjustifiably in terms of home form with the possible exception of a patchy performance against Zebre.

It all leaves a trail of data that Pat Lamb should find easily to extract positives from in terms of opportunities for further progress. This young side are getting on a roll on their travels and that showed in the closing stages of this contest.

The belief was there even when they were bogged down in their own 22 with a scrum with less than four minutes on the clock. They kept plugging away, kept believing, driven on by the likes of John Muldoon, Andrew Browne and Mick Kearney at that stage.

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

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