A Portumna man has landed a hugely prestigious international award for his work which combines drone technology and 3D mapping to preserving sites of major archaeological importance.
Daniel Maher, a 33-year-old Glasgow School of Art graduate, took the Deutsche Bank Creative Enterprise Award for Craft and Design – beating off competition from universities across the UK to win a £10,000 investment and a year-long programme of business mentoring.
He won the unanimous support of the competition’s five judges with his business plan for Equinox Digital – a company that uses a combination of drone technology and 3D mapping in the hope of preserving sites of archaeological importance.
Daniel, who has been interested in heritage since he was a child, said he was “absolutely chuffed” to have his idea validated.
“It took a lot of hard work, through a couple of fairly tough months, but it has really paid off,” said Daniel. “The funds and the mentorship will go a long way to ensuring that we can launch Equinox Digital in the very near future.”
Daniel explained that his interest in monitoring, mapping and creating 3D models of these sites was piqued in 2014 when images of the destruction of important heritage sites in Iraq and Syria rebounded around the world.
“At the same time, in 2014, we had really severe storms hitting the West of Ireland which not only destroyed, but also uncovered archaeological sites in places like Furbo and Connemara,” he said.
A combination of both these events gave Daniel the idea for Equinox Digital – a way to bring these sites to life in 3D models and to present them to people in a more accessible way.
“I wanted to re-examine the way in which society interacts with its heritage – one way of doing this is to project cultural heritage sites onto the sides of ordinary buildings,” said Daniel. “I wanted to show people that this stuff is not just for the museums.”
Daniel is currently in Malta, working in architecture with a company based on the Mediterranean island – but he feels that the time has come for him to ‘go it alone’.
“I’ll probably finish up here in the next couple of months,” he said. “I’m working in architecture down here – it is related, but I want to do something a bit different.”
Daniel regularly returns home to visit his parents in Portumna and is hoping to make the move more permanent when he finishes up in Malta.
The wheels are well and truly in motion for Equinox Digital and the investment from Deutsche Bank has already been used by Daniel to purchase the equipment he needs to get up and running.
“The funding I got has been absolutely crucial – without it, I wouldn’t be able to buy the equipment – we haven’t got that yet but it has been ordered.
“We’re just getting a decent website up and running and we hope to get as much work as possible going around Ireland.
“It’s going well – it’s slow and steady, but it’s something different,” said Daniel.
Army removes explosive device in Knocknacarra
An army Bomb Disposal Team was called to Knocknacarra last night to deal with a ‘viable’ explosive device.
Following a request from Gardai, the unit was tasked with investigating a suspicious device in a laneway off Cappagh Road at around 10pm.
The area was cordoned off and following an examination, the device was deemed viable and made safe.
It was removed from the scene shortly after 10.30pm and was taken to a Defence Forces location where it will undergo further examination.
Hospital worker failed to self isolate after trip to red-list country
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Management at University Hospital Galway have been asked to investigate ‘as a matter of urgency’ an allegation that a security employee at the hospital returned to work within the 14-day restriction period after coming back from a ‘red-list’ country.
The person has already worked at least two shifts at the hospital – including looking after an elderly patient – despite the fact that the restriction period would not have expired until this Sunday, September 20.
The Galway City Tribune can reveal that in a letter from SIPTU official to a senior UHG manager, it is alleged there was breach of protocol over recent days by an employee of an outsourced security company.
According to the letter to Services Manager Geoff Ginnety, while the worker was not covered under HSE employee rules, “they still must comply with the Government issued protocols”.
The letter from SIPTU states that the worker in question had told his colleagues that he was in a red-listed country and that ‘he did not have to restrict his movements’ for 14 days and could return to work.
“I request that you [Services Manager at UHG] address these concerns as a matter of urgency and provide clear guidance on how to deal with the issue,” the SIPTU letter states.
According to information accessed by the Galway City Tribune, the employee in question returned from a red-listed country on September 6 last and underwent a test for Covid-19 five days later on September 11.
Shortly after that, according to his employers, the results of his Covid tests came back as negative. The Galway City Tribune understands that he returned to his night-shift work on Tuesday night, September 15, and also worked the Wednesday night shift of September 16.
This newspaper has also been informed by reliable sources that on his first night back on duty the employee was left in charge of an elderly patient, while on his second night back at work, he was dutied to the Emergency Department.
When contacted by the Galway City Tribune, a spokesperson for the HSE said that they could not comment on issues relating to individual staff.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Leisureland sinks with €20,000 per week losses
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The plug is being pulled on Leisureland – leaving hundreds of swimmers, mostly children, and trainee lifeguards, high and dry.
Galway Salthill Fáilte CLG, the company that operates the publicly-owned facility, has confirmed it plans to shut down its swimming pool and gym, leaving members of six aquatic clubs, hundreds of schoolchildren, and the general public, without an amenity for the foreseeable future.
Swimming clubs fear they will lose a whole generation of young swimmers in Galway if the pool closes. And they have warned that it could end up costing €1 million to repair and reopen the pool after a prolonged closure.
Leisureland blamed the impact of coronavirus for its financial woes, with losses running at an average of €20,000 per week.
The company said that by August it had already spent its annual €300,000 subsidy subvention from Galway City Council, and the local authority has indicated it is not in a position to increase the subsidy further in 2020.
The planned closure – which could result in the furloughing of over 20 staff from next month – has shocked the local aquatic community.
A lengthy hiatus with Leisureland closed will mean Galway will lose a ‘whole generation’ of swimmers, according to Eamon Caulfield, President of Galway Swimming Club and member and former chairperson of Corrib Water Polo Club.
“We’re particularly upset and aggrieved that this is going ahead, it’s shocking. They should be looking to reverse this decision,” he said this week.
The majority of the five aquatic clubs that use the facility (Galway SC, Shark SC, Laser SC and Tribes and Corrib water polo clubs) are made up of children aged 10-18, including some international athletes. Hundreds of children from Galway schools also learn to swim there.
A water safety group has been using the pool every Sunday morning since it opened in 1973, he said.
“Historically it is where Galway gets its lifeguards from. How can you not have swim lessons in a public pool? How can you not have water safety taught in a pool in Galway?
“It beggars belief, we’re on the sea. The water safety people, where are they going to go, how are we going to get lifeguards for beaches? How are we going to get teachers for teaching swimming?” asked Mr Caulfield.
The clubs have roughly 150 members each and generate €150,000 revenue annually for Leisureland.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full version, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.