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NUIG works could create 500 jobs in construction

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Date Published: 02-Oct-2009

BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM

The construction sector in Galway is set for a major boost over the next 18 months, with the creation of around 300 jobs as work starts on the new €40 million engineering building at NUI Galway.
And around 200 more could potentially be created if the college ‘scores a hat-trick’ with planners and secures permission for three other major projects which form part of its ‘Research Bundle of Building Projects’.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen turned the first sod on the new engineering building site last Friday.
The four-storey building will be a ‘re-interpretation’ of the 19th century Quadrangle in NUIG and will house the entire engineering faculty.
The 14,000 square metre facility will accommodate up to 1,100 students and is expected to be completed early in 2011. It will include 36 labs, academic and support space, common space and lecture space.
The design concept for the building is a “21st Century re-interpretation of the original 1845 Quadrangle”. The site for the new building is north of the Quincentenary Bridge adjacent to St Anthony’s.
The designers have also ‘future-proofed’ the building, so it can be expanded above the top floor.
According to the Taoiseach, around 300 people will be employed during the construction phase, which will take around 18 months.
Meanwhile, up to 200 more construction jobs could be created by three further developments on the campus – valued at around €75m.
Already, permission has been granted for a four-storey Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building connected to the James Hardiman Library by a three-storey glazed atrium. The building will measure 5,385 sq.m.
It forms part of the university’s Research Bundle of Building Projects, which could also be completed in 2011.
The other projects include a four-storey Translational Research Facility/Clinical Research Facility measuring 5,267 square metres adjacent to the existing Clinical Science Institute and a four-storey Science Research Building measuring 8,212 sq.m. with access from Corrib Villlage entrance road.
A decision on those two projects is pending and could be delivered within the next two months.
Private funding is already available for the three new projects through the the university’s foundation, while a submission has also been made for funding under the Higher Education Authority’s ‘Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions’ scheme.
The Research Bundle of Building Projects is an ambitious plan to rapidly develop suitable accommodation and facilities to advance research innovation at the university.
According to college authorities, research activity increased almost fivefold between 2000 and 2008, and there is a significant shortfall of suitable laboratory and other space to accommodate the existing research activity appropriately.
In fact, the university has lost out on some key staff appointments because of the lack of space.

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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