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Connacht Tribune

Survey lifts lid on silent pain of sexual assault

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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

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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