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People in Business – Paul Gill Managing Director, Claregalway Hotel

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Paul Gill’s business life, so far, could be summed up as: learning and doing; learning more and doing more. The managing director of the Claregalway Hotel is currently studying for an MBA at NUI Galway and says that he has already implemented some ideas generated as part of his studies.

‘It’s important to attract high-calibre graduates to work with us,’ he says.

‘To do that, I need to go through a similar education path so that I can better understand their perspectives.

It also has some very positive immediate benefits for the business, for example giving Paul an appreciation of the importance of IT systems to the operation.

‘A good IT infrastructure won’t give you a competitive advantage on its own but can give you easier access to data which can do that,’ he says.

Born in Kenya and raised on the Aran Islands, Paul studied hospitality and hotel management at GMIT and Shannon, rounded off by a 15 month placement in Switzerland.

Following a year in Southampton he spent 18 months at the Connemara Coast Hotel before moving to the Ardilaun House Hotel for eight years.

‘I learned a lot in those hotels, particularly at the Ardilaun where I had a number of management roles starting with the back office before moving to front of house,’ he recalls.

In 2001 Paul was asked to become general manager of a planned new hotel but after months of planning the project didn’t get off the ground.

‘I spent a lot of time at weekends and nights researching and planning this project,’ Paul remembers.

‘Although it didn’t work out I learned a lot from the process which was invaluable when the Claregalway opportunity came up.

Sitting on a main artery into the city with a population of 15,000 people living to the north and east and with no new hotels planned in North Galway at the time, Claregalway had a gap in the market for hotels.

It also helped that his wife, Nora, is from the area.

Nora had also worked in the industry in Eyre House and Park House where she received ‘the best training you could get anywhere,’

They worked closely with the developer for 18 months, all the time planning, researching and making advance sales, and in mid-2004 took up the lease and opened the doors of the Claregalway Hotel.

‘We had specified turn-key three star or four star hotel and the developer delivered the project to our requirements,’ he says.

They identified that weddings would be key to their success and targeted this market carefully and successfully with almost 600 catered for in the past nine years.

They established a strong and loyal local trade which has stood to them during the recession and also secured corporate business from nearby Parkmore as well as businesses in Galway city and Tuam.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Connacht Tribune

Skillnet reports record year

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Minister Simon Harris...welcomed report.

Skillnet Ireland has reported an 18% increase in supports to Irish businesses across 2020 – and an investment of €51 million in upskilling programmes for companies across the economy.

In its 2020 annual report, it also revealed that 6,846 Galway-based employees and 1,590 Galway-based companies participated in upskilling programmes over those twelve months.

That aligned with the national trends, despite the challenging year for businesses and the workforce, which saw 81,895 people participate in upskilling programmes through Skillnet Ireland – a 17% increase on the previous year.

It also reported an increase in the number of companies engaging with the organisation in 2020, up 18% on the previous year, at 21,695. 94% of the companies Skillnet Ireland supported in 2020 are SMEs.

Skillnet Ireland delivered 9,110 different programmes spanning industry and professional certified courses, management development programmes, specialised upskilling, new industry and academia collaborations, and many innovation and research-based projects in 2020.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris welcomed the report – and the record figures.

“Talent is at the heart of our national competitiveness. It has been instrumental in helping businesses navigate a challenging year and will be especially important in preparing businesses for future challenges such as climate change and digital transformation,” he 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

New website offers real-time information on local water supply

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Yvonne Harris, Head of Customer Operations at Irish Water.

Householders across the county can now avail of quick access to relevant information on their water supply, based on where they live – thanks to the rollout of a newly designed Irish Water website.

The changes will allow people in Galway to immediately see what works and projects are ongoing in their locality by setting their location at www.water.ie

Designed to work on a mobile phone or any other device, the state of the art website lets you set your location with updates and news relevant to your locality served upfront on the homepage.

It also enables Irish Water to deliver important public health messages and reassurance to the public that we are working every day to provide a clean and safe supply of drinking water for our customers while returning wastewater safely to the environment.

Head of Customer Operations with Irish Water, Yvonne Harris explains how this dynamic, new-look website will better serve customers: “We have upgraded our website so it is more user-friendly. We talked to our customers, we listened to their feedback and made changes to better improve the user experience for all.

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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