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Connacht Tribune

Survey lifts lid on silent pain of sexual assault

Denise McNamara

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Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Senior Lecturer in Psychology in NUI Galway

An estimated one in ten first year college students experienced non-consensual sexual penetration – and had not disclosed it to anyone.

The disturbing results of a survey about third level students’ sexual violence and harassment experiences across the country found that 19% of Year 1 students said they experienced non-consensual penetration while incapacitated, through force or after being threatened.

This rose to 27% of students in Year 3 or later.

“Given the relatively high rate of non-disclosure among Year 1 students, the findings suggest that one in ten of the Year 1 students experienced non-consensual penetration during the year and had not disclosed to anyone,” the report found.

Over 1,000 of the female students who took part in the survey described incidents that could be legally defined as rape. One quarter of male students said they had been subjected to sexual misconduct during their time in college.

Just over half of first year students reported experiencing sexual harassment since beginning college. This rose to 62% for second year students, and 66% for undergraduate students in third year or higher.

Over half of students with a disability reported an experience of sexual misconduct by any tactic (56%), compared with 42% of other students.

A total of 6,026 students from 14 universities and colleges completed the Sexual Experiences Survey between February and April of this year which was carried out by NUI Galway’s Active Consent Programme in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). It was the first national survey of its kind.

Co-author Dr Pádraig MacNeela, senior lecturer in psychology in NUI Galway, said the survey did not break down the results from each institution. He described the findings as a stark depiction of the experiences that many students have had.

“Over 1,000 of the female students who took part in the survey described incidents that correspond to rape, while one quarter of male students said they had been subject to sexual misconduct during their time in college. Bisexual, non-binary, and queer students described particularly high levels of sexual harassment,” he stated.

The other author Dr Lorraine Burke, NUI Galway Post-Doctoral Researcher, remarked that the survey identified a gap that colleges need to make up a gap in order to respond to students’ needs.

Only 16 per cent who had an experience said they had received information on where to get help from their institution and only just under 10 per cent said they knew how to report an incident.

“These are areas that can be addressed very quickly by colleges and that needs to be one of the on-campus actions taken as a result of these survey findings.”

There were also some positives in the survey unveiled about campus climate. Most students took part in events, workshops, or other initiatives designed to prevent sexual misconduct and those who took part were a lot more likely to be aware of supports and services.

“A majority of students agreed that their peers would be supportive if they were to disclose experiences of sexual misconduct, and trusted their college to be fair in how they deal with reports of sexual violence. These are positives, but students who had experienced sexual misconduct tended to be less trusting of the college or to expect their peers to be supportive,” explained Dr MacNeela.

NUIG is one of eight colleges due to begin a system of anonymous reporting of these kinds of incidents in the autumn, which has been adopted in many UK campuses.

“This gets over the fact that many people feel uncomfortable with making a report but at least if the information is provided the college would be in a position to do something about it, they would be alert to patterns or identify hotspots or areas where there needs to be more active intervention.”

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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 embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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