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People in Business – Jim Browne, President NUI Galway

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Lucky is a word that crops up frequently in a conversation with President of NUI Galway Jim Browne about his working life.

‘It started in Dean Kelly National School, Athlone where I was lucky to have a great teacher,’ he says.

‘I was lucky that Northern Electric were recruiting industrial engineers when I graduated and I was lucky that the government funded additional lecturing posts in engineering and the like just as I finished my PhD.

Jim graduated from then UCG in 1974 with a degree in electrical engineering and was taken on by Northern Electric – which had hardly been a year in Galway at the time.

‘I was sent to their factory in London, Ontario where I got fantastic training in what was then a high-tech environment,’ recalls Jim.

Following his return to Northern Electric in Galway Jim decided to pursue a Masters Degree at UCG and took up a contract lecturer position in engineering with the College.

He subsequently completed a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Manchester University.

He returned to Galway in 1981 just as the Universities and Institutes of Technology were expanding to accommodate more engineering and science graduates as part of a government strategy to attract more foreign direct investment.

‘Again I was lucky, as I was able to tap into European funding for research projects in collaboration with Manchester University and local firms such as Digital and Northern Telecom,’ says Jim.

Some of these projects would have had benefits locally, helping to improve the manufacturing processes in companies such as Thermo King and CEL (now Valeo) in Tuam.

Jim has published over 200 academic papers and 15 books including translations into French and Chinese.

In 1996 he was appointed Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics and in 2001 he became Registrar and Deputy President of the University.

He was elected President of the University in 2008 and is currently in the sixth year of a ten-year term of office.

‘Third level education has changed dramatically in my time here and will continue to evolve quickly,’ he says.

‘Galway has moved from being an elite, fee-paying university catering for 2,500 students in the 1980’s to a mass education campus with 17,500 students and around 3,000 full time and part time staff.

There’s a greater mix of students with many more mature undergraduates in Arts, for example and a much wider selection of nationalities.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s housing stock on the rise

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A total of 1,147 residential buildings were under construction in Galway as of June – according to the latest GeoView Residential Buildings Report.

Over half of the residential buildings under construction in Ireland in June 2021 were located in the Leinster region (58.4%), revealed the report which is published by GeoDirectory and EY Economic Advisory.

The Greater Dublin Area of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow accounted for 35.6% of the total number of buildings under construction in the country. In contrast, the lowest levels of construction activity were recorded in Ulster (6.5%) and Connacht (10.6%).

In all, 1,182 new residential addresses in Galway were added to GeoDirectory’s nationwide database in the twelve months to June 2021.

At 30.8%, the highest proportion of the new residential address points were again located in Dublin, followed by Cork (10.8%), Kildare (9.7%) and Meath (5.7%).

In percentage terms, Leitrim (219.6%), Carlow (146.5%) and Roscommon (144%) registered the highest year-on-year growth in new address points, albeit from a previously low base.

The report also found that 9.5% of all residential stock in the state are apartments. In total, there were 194,898 apartment address points across the country in June 2021.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway towns included in home support pilot

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Confirmation...Minister Anne Rabbitte.

Tuam, Athenry and Loughrea will form one of a select number of areas for a nationwide pilot scheme to see how to improve home support services for families in need of carers.

Minister for Disabilities and Galway East Deputy Anne Rabbitte confirmed that the Galway towns were among nine across the country to form part of a national Home Support Pilot Programme, which will commence next month.

The pilot scheme will deliver an additional 230,000 hours of Home Support services over a six-month period, with the evaluation of the outputs to continue over a twelve-month period from its commencement.

Minister Rabbitte described this as a major boost for Tuam, Athenry and Loughrea.

“This will deliver in-home supports across the three towns, which are in the heart of East Galway and I know from working with families across the constituency that this will be a major boost,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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 passengers are all smiles at Shannon!

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Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport

The smiles on the faces at Shannon Airport very much told its own story this week – with passengers taking to skies as the easing of restrictions and the first day of the European Digital COVID Certificates took effect.

And it wasn’t just the joy of travel starting to resume that lifted spirits at the airport but also the announcement by Ryanair of a new once-weekly service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) to commence on August 7 – the third new service announcement for Shannon Airport over recent weeks.

There was a real sense of excitement as passengers of all ages became very much at ease with the heightened public safety measures in a ‘back-to-the-future’ day for the West of Ireland gateway airport.

There were reunions as inbound flights arrived but also a palpable degree of anticipation as others got set to depart on the earliest flight out of the airport today, the 7:10am flight to Gatwick.

Among those boarding was Clarenbridge native Claire Tomlin and her husband Jake, together with their three children, including their twins who turn a year old next week.

“It’s been amazing to get back. The kids saw their grandparents for the first time and their cousins and aunties and uncles, so it was fantastic,” said Claire.

“Shannon is just so convenient for us because it’s only about 40 minutes’ drive. So, it just makes everything a lot easier in terms of getting to and from places with little ones. So, yeah, Shannon is a great resource for us. Really, really good. We hope to be able to go back more and more.”

It was smiles all around for Shannon Airport staff as they got back to doing what they do best. “Well, today is a great day because you can see the atmosphere around the place, people are at ease here and they’re glad to be back, they’re glad to get up in the sky again,” said Shannon Duty Free Sales Associate Helen Quinlivan.

“It’s great to see the excitement. People are really looking forward to going back and seeing their loved ones and they’re very at ease.”

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