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Connacht Tribune

NUIG on right lines over gender equality, says President

Dara Bradley



President of NUI Galway Dr James J Browne.

NUI Galway president, Jim Browne said he is confident the university is now ‘doing the right thing’ on gender equality.

Dr Browne acknowledged there was “scepticism” from within and externally, partly because of ongoing legal action of five women lecturers who are seeking redress after they were not promoted in 2009.

But he insisted change would be visible on campus early in 2017 in relation to the gender issue.

The university’s poor gender equality record was catapulted into the spotlight when Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, a botanist for 34 years at NUIG, won €70,000 in compensation arising from the same round of promotion in 2009 when she was not promoted to senior lecturer because she was a woman. Dr Sheehy Skeffington has previously called on NUIG and Dr Browne to ‘do the decent thing’ and promote the five women.

In an extensive interview with Cois Coiribe, the university’s magazine for alumni and friends, Dr Browne said: “While we dealt with the promotions issue before the courts found against us my big regret is that we didn’t deal with the wider issue. We didn’t recognise that the outcome from the 2009 promotion round was indicative of a wider problem across the university.”

Since that case, NUIG convened a gender equality task force headed by Professor Jane Grimson, which issued its report last May.

Dr Browne said the taskforce did a “stupendous job”, and he vowed that “every single one of the final set of recommendations will be implemented.”

Addressing the doubts people have about the course of action being taken by the university, particularly in light of the continuing legal cases, Dr Browne said: “The scepticism is there. I understand it but time will tell. I would be confident that we are now doing the right thing . . . I believe that what matters is walking the walk not talking the talk. Some of the taskforce recommendations can be implemented quickly. Others will take more time. I think as early as next year (2017), we will begin to see a difference.”

Meanwhile, in the same interview with Cois Coiribe, Dr Browne said he wants NUIG’s famous Quadrangle building to become a visitor attraction for tourists.

Modelled on Christ Church at University of Oxford, the Quad was built in a Tudor Gothic style and was opened in 1849. The historic building is the most recognisable on the city campus.

Dr Browne revealed the Buildings Office at the university is actively exploring the possibility of using the Quad as a visitor centre, after it is vacated when other staff move to new buildings.

“The university’s historic Quadrangle is unique in the West of Ireland. Why couldn’t we make something out of that and link it with the (Wild) Atlantic Way and Capital of Culture? This Quadrangle can be a place that can welcome distinguished visitors and it could become a significant visitor attraction for visitors to the West of Ireland.

“Let’s face it, tourists to the West of Ireland aren’t coming for the weather. They are largely cultural tourists. They are interested in culture, scenery, history. This (Quad) could be a part of that . . . It speaks to an agenda of the university and the city and the region all working together to make it a really attractive place. We’re going to work on getting that idea articulated properly over the coming months and bring it to the Governing Body,” he added.

■ The full interview is available HERE

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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