Date Published: 12-May-2011
When Michael Carmody left his native Galway straight out of college to take up a job in Dublin little did he know that he would be back 33 years later as president of GMIT.
Michael, who was reared in Mervue and Dalysfort Road, Salthill, admits he had no life plan as such and was delighted when he got an opportunity to leave home to work as an engineer with the OPW (Office of Public Works). His work involved research into hydrology and was part of his Masters course under Professor Eamon Nash.
Two weeks ago he returned to Galway to take up the prestigious position of GMIT president. It’s not exactly a shock to his system as he had been president of Tralee’s Institute for the past decade, although granted it’s a much smaller campus.
But Michael comes across as a down-to-earth no nonsense type of man who is quite prepared to meet the challenges of running a much bigger campus in a city, and not just any city but his own home town!
He had just graduated from UCG (now NUIG) in 1978 when he headed to Dublin and within two years he had left the OPW to join the ESB. Still based in Dublin, he was involved in the design and managing of the Moneypoint power plant in Clare, one of the biggest projects in Ireland at that time, costing £164million.
He enjoyed every minute of his involvement with that project, one that gave him the chance to hone his engineering skills on a very real and worthwhile job. After years of theory in a lecture hall, this was a dream come true.
He had met his wife Anne in Dublin and they had started a family, which led them to thinking about moving out of the Big Smoke to the country. So in 1987, they packed up and moved to Tralee where Michael took up a lecturing post in the Institute of Technology. It was a change of scenery, both as regards location and job type, but again Michael adapted, as is his nature, and 23 years later he realised he had been there long enough.
“A decade is long enough for anyone in any position like that. I knew Marion Coy (former GMIT president) and she mentioned the job opportunity to me and I considered it. I believed it was the right move at the right time,” he says.
And his wife and three daughters, all in their early twenties, didn’t seem to mind the move to Galway. Caroline is currently in Australia, Aideen is a primary school teacher in Kerry and Niamh is a student in NUIG.
Technically, they haven’t made the final move yet, as Michael is renovating the family home in Dalysfort Road, so this really is coming full circle for him.
His dad, Michael, passed away in 1987 and his mum Anne was moved to a nursing home in Tralee three years ago, leaving the family home empty. His brother Paul runs his own business called PC Sports.
Just two weeks on the new job, Michael is still finding his way around the college campus, not to mention getting used to a new administration and staff, though he already knew some of the personnel from his Tralee position.
In 1990 he became Head of Department o
f Civil Engineering Construction in that institute, and three years later he was appointed Registrar, until he became President 10 years ago.
“I may have to get lessons to readjust my accent for here,” says Michael referring to his very slight Kerry accent. He hasn’t forgotten his Irish, something he puts down to him having gone to school in ‘the Jes,’ but admits he may have to brush up on his vocabulary.
With the increase in foreign students to GMIT through the Erasmus student exchange scheme, Michael may have to brush up on a few more languages, though in reality, he won’t have much to do with the micro-management of the college. His position has more to do with ensuring the Galway college is on the map so that it attracts not only students but investment as well.
The GMIT doesn’t have as much foreign investment funding courses as NUI Galway, but there is still a lot of promotional work to do to ensure that the links between the college and the city’s industrial and business community continue to strengthen. Already GMIT’s hotel management courses have gained a respectable international reputation involving exchanges of students from all over the world.
But Michael is still the ‘new kid on the block’ and at just two weeks into the new job hadn’t visited the GMIT’s other four campuses – nearby Cluain Mhuire where the TV and film courses are held, the furniture college in Letterfrack, the Teagasc college in Mountbellew, and Castlebar.
“I am certainly looking forward and am excited about getting to know the nuts and bolts of the campus over the course of the summer. But these first few weeks have already been busy, not only from an administrative point of view, but with business functions in the city.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.