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Connacht Tribune

Under-pressure NUIG students fined €250,000 for late payment of fees

Stephen Corrigan



Student representatives at NUI Galway have blasted the university this week for heaping more financial pressure on students struggling to pay fees.

In figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that NUIG fined students just under €250,000 for late payment of their €3,000 ‘student contribution’ – a situation the Students’ Union President branded as ‘ridiculous’.

Pádraic Toomey said putting additional financial strain on students who were already unable to pay what they owed defied all logic and called on the university to scrap late-payment fees in line with several other third level institutions.

“By charging these fees, the university is acting like a credit card company charging interest which just shouldn’t be the case.

“They are already charging over €3,000 in contributions and it’s as though they’re saying ‘what else can we take on top of that’,” said Mr Toomey.

According to the figures released under FOI, late payment fees to the value of €246,000 were charged to students last year, €62,000 of which was later waived. In total, the university has collected €136,000 from students, with €46,000 outstanding.

Mr Toomey said students who failed to make the minimum payments due in October and February faced a €200 fine, indicating that up to 1,200 students failed to pay in time last year.

“You could actually end up being fined twice, if you can’t make the payment on both occasions.

“It’s just another thing that feeds into ‘Rip-off NUIG’,” said Mr Toomey referring to a slogan that arose last year on foot of the university’s refusal to waive its €295 fee for repeat exams.

There was no transparency in how certain students had their late-payment fees waived, he continued, but he suspected it was a case of students having to plead their case with the fees office.

“It shouldn’t be the case that any student should have to go in and cry about being unable to pay fees. It’s like a punishment for not having the money to pay,” said Mr Toomey.

“There is no obvious process for how that [waiver] works, but we know it’s often people who will just keep their head down and bear the brunt of these charges that end up suffering.”

He said other third level institutions in Ireland blocked students from graduating or progressing to the next year of their studies if they failed to pay their fees, something he said was far more likely to secure payment.

“I just can’t put into words how ridiculous this is, the idea that you would fine people who are unable to pay in the first place.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the current edition of the Connacht Tribune or Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash

Enda Cunningham



A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.

At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.

The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Salthill Garda Station (091) 514 720 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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Connacht Tribune

Wake-up call as United are pummelled by lively Athlone

Keith Kelly



Galway United substitute Wilson Waweru who scored a consolation goal in their 3-1 First Division defeat to Athlone Town on Friday night.

Athlone Town 3

Galway United 1

IT turned out to be a Bad Friday for Galway United in Athlone as they were outthought, outfought and outplayed by a home side that deserved a far greater reward than a two-goal victory.

All the damage was done in the first-half, with the home side scoring three goals without reply in a 14-minute spell that left the visitors visibly shell-shocked and in danger of shipping an absolute hammering.

United manager, John Caufield, described the first-half as the worst United display since he took charge at the club midway through last season, but it was worse than that: this was 2011 Sean Connor bad (one win in 40 matches), it was 2001 Dave Connell bad (one win in 13).

Both of those seasons ended in United dropping to the First Division, and the First Division is where they will find themselves against next season unless there is an immediate improvement in performance and attitude, starting with this Friday’s trip to Stradbrook to take on Cabinteely.

The post-mortem examination on last Friday should not solely focus on United’s wretchedness: Athlone Town were hugely impressive in recording a first win over United since May 2006, though it should be noted the sides have met just 13 times since the Town dumped United out of the FAI Cup thanks to a 2-1 win in May 2006, a game that saw the end of Stephen Lally’s reign as United manager.

“Galway playing with three at the back, you know, they’re almost three centre-backs really rather than full-backs and we just knew that would be an opportunity for our players to get at them and take them on and I thought James Doona and Adam Wixted did that very well tonight,” Athlone manager Adrian Carberry told the website after the game.

In truth, that was something of an understatement – Wixted and Doona ravished the United back-three in the opening 45 minutes, with all three of the home side’s goals coming from out wide.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway couple take life in the fast lane after losing jobs to pandemic




The Luv2Swim set-up in Carrowbrowne.

A Galway couple who both lost their jobs because of the pandemic are back on the crest of a wave – after opening a swimming pool that allows them to teach and coach swimmers, right beside their family home.

Fitness-loving husband and wife John and Shelly Newell have always had a passion for swimming – but it took the devastation of losing their jobs during Covid to spark the idea of turning it into a highly-specialised business they called Luv2Swim.

They had an idea to build an endless swimming pool and start swimming lessons and swim video analysis in their own private facility, three miles outside Galway city in Carrowbrowne.

And while Level 5 Lockdown has forced them to close for now, their single lane pool will be back, providing a unique facility for adults and children in a safe, fun, and friendly environment.

“Both of us had lost our jobs due to the pandemic and while out walking with our girls, I threw the idea out to John and it took legs from there. It was the beginning of a family business venture,” Shelly said.

But this was more than just a light bulb moment during lockdown; John and Shelly were aware of a recurring problem they had heard many times over the years – people’s anxiety about coming into an overcrowded, noisy, large pool environment.

“Luv2Swim would be Galway’s only private swimming studio providing one-to-one swim lessons and video analysis for adults and children. Swimming is such a vital lifesaving skill and it’s a skill you will have for your whole life,” said John.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from

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