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Liam Bluett – General Manager SCCUL Enterprise

The Pope’s visit to Galway might not have happened at all, if the finance gurus in Northern Telecom’s Canadian head office had their way.

‘The company counted its stocks of parts in every location around the world on the last weekend of September each year,’ explains Liam Bluett who worked in the finance department in Galway at the time

‘As it was entirely a manual process, this required a lot of staff to work over the whole weekend but in 1979 the Pope’s visit to Ballybrit meant access to our plant in Mervue would be difficult if not impossible.

‘We explained this to the guys in Ontario who responded by asking us if the Pope’s visit could be postponed or cancelled.

‘They didn’t see it as a big deal, but we managed to come up with a compromise which achieved what they wanted and allowed Pope John Paul make his famous speech to the young people of Ireland.

Liam joined Northern Telecom in 1978 having spent several years in the British Merchant Navy before qualifying as an accountant in the mid 1970’s.

In 1978 industrial life in Galway was dominated by Digital, Crown, Thermo King and NT.

‘It was a very friendly and relatively young city,’ says Liam, ‘and on Thursday nights the workers poured into town from Mervue and Ballybrit and the place would be hopping.

They only made telephone sets in Mervue then but in 1979 a technology transfer group was set up which allowed the site develop engineering and ultimately product development capabilities of its own during the early 1980’s.

Within a decade the Galway site was well established as a European Centre of Excellence for manufacturing, distribution, customer service, product development and R&D.

This period also coincided with the computerisation of the finance function globally which allowed the department in Galway take on additional responsibilities for European markets.

‘We were closer to these markets and their time zones than the folks in Canada and could be more effective,’ says Liam.

‘This created more jobs in Galway and opportunities for staff to relocate to other Nortel sites.

‘I wasn’t interested in further travel but I was very interested in helping people to develop their careers and get overseas experience if they wanted.

This was very much the culture of Nortel at the time and the company funded an MBA for Liam which encouraged him to develop stronger links with the community.

From the early 1990’s the company was a major sponsor of Galway Arts Festival and many other community initiatives. Liam would have been the driving force behind the establishment of these strong cultural ties.

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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