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School seminars to tackle cyberbullying

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Tackling cyberbullying is no different to tackling the old-fashioned bully – and parents, teachers and students are now being reminded how best to face-up to what is becoming an increasing problem.

Cyberbullying is becoming a bigger problem because more and more people are using social media. This means that the bully now has access to people 24/7 and is able to reach right into the hearts of homes.

But one Galwayman is touring Galway city and county – and even further afield in the West of Ireland – spreading the word on how to keep the cyberbully at bay.

Internet Safety and Facing Up to Cyberbullying is the title of a series of presentation in schools being given by Brendan Smith this month.

The project is reaching out to students (both primary and second level), teachers and parents in three different presentations but all along similar lines.

Cyberbullying can occur on all types of social media from mobile phones to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A few years ago Ask.fm was in the limelight when a 15 year old girl from the East coast of the country took her own life leaving a note saying she had been bullied on the Ask.fm social media site.

And this week the company behind Ask.fm announced plans to open an office in Ireland but Mr Smith warns students to stay away from sites where users can be anonymous.

“Because then you don’t know who you’re dealing with. Basically, I tell the parents to learn the terminology, get used to the technology and be able to understand what their children are talking about.

“I tell the students about respect and the importance of reporting anything that worries them about their usage of the Internet or social media. I do advice parents to safeguard devices. They do so for the family computer but forget about mobile phones and other devices.

“It is important to be aware of what social media their children are using and to keep the lines of communications open. You don’t have to be friends with your children on Facebook but you should know what it’s all about,” he says.

Mr Smith’s presentations give a brief overview of developing communication technologies, the laws governing harassment by electronic devices and guidelines on Internet safety for everyone.

“The end of innocence is happening younger and younger as children use more and more technology. It’s very easy for a child to stumble across pornography, racism or anti-female images or sites and they might be afraid to tell their parents. That’s why parents should keep the lines of communications open.

“Bullies try to isolate their victims and it’s the same with cyberbullying. I tell the children that we have all been bullied one way or another, that it can happen to celebrities and politicians and not to be afraid to face up to it, to report it and to support others if they know it’s happening to their friends.

“But it’s not all bad news, I also try to excite people about the wonder of science and I tell people to enjoy it but to be aware of its dangers too.”

Mr Smith works with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway and he will be giving presentations at a number of schools in the city and county over the next two weeks.

Connacht Tribune

One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip

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Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello and his chihuahua Bubbles, with Fergus Lally of Galway’s Celtic Chauffeurs at the Cliffs of Moher.

He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.

The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.

But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.

“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.

“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie  

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Connacht Tribune

Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis

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UHG's Emergency Department.

As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.

UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.

This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.

On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.

Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.

There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.

Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.

Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie  

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Connacht Tribune

Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots

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Larry Donnelly, with the Bostonian, on the grounds of NUI Galway.

Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.

But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.

His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in TheJournal.ie – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.

He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.

Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.

The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.

“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.

Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie  

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