NUI Galway Researchers Lead € 2.7m Project for Hernia Treatment

NUI Galway Researchers Lead € 2.7m Project for Hernia Treatment -image

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Researchers at NUI Galway are to lead a European project to develop a new product for use in hernia operations. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB)-led consortium has been awarded an EU-FP7 grant worth € 2.7 million for a proposal entitled Targeting Hernia Operation Using Sustainable Resources and Green Nanotechnologies. The overall objective of the Green Nano Mesh research project is to develop a novel mesh for use in hernia operations. Hernia operations are among the most common surgical procedures performed, with over 20 million taking place worldwide annually. In the US alone, the associated expenditure exceeds $48 billion every year. Despite the early success of non-degradable meshes, there is still no wholly satisfactory therapy for hernia repair. In fact, non-degradable meshes are characterised by poor healing response, unfavourable foreign body reaction and in vivo erosion which lead to a failure rate of greater that 10 per cent and a 42 per cent incidence of recurring hernias. Recurring hernias cause further distress to patients, compromising their quality of life, all the while putting an additional financial strain on healthcare systems. The Green Nano Mesh project aims to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to currently-used meshes which will improve clinical outcomes for the patient. The consortium is led by Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis and Professor Abhay Pandit of NFB at NUI Galway, and includes academic groups from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; the Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain; Aarhus University, Denmark; and Centexbel, the Belgian textile research centre. There are also six industrial partners involved in the collaboration including: Collplant, Israel; Luxilon Industries, Belgium; Proxy Biomedical Ltd., Ireland; Vornia, Ireland; Biomatech, France; and European Research Services GmbH, Germany. The driving hypothesis of Green Nano Mesh is that using sustainable raw materials and green nano-processes to fabricate a mesh prototype for hernia repair will eliminate hazardous chemicals from the manufacturing process and result in a clinically relevant, nano-fibrous prototype which is suitable for hernia repair. By processing naturally-occurring materials in eco-friendly ways, the resultant mesh will have superior biological properties helping to reduce incidences of foreign body reaction and toxicity, leading to improved hernia repair. The use of such materials and processes in the medical sector is timely, given that in excess of 206Kt of medical plastics are produced annually in Europe alone. Speaking about the award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB, said: “This is our second co-ordinator grant that we have secured in the last six months. We are delighted to get European recognition and support for the research that NFB conducts in nanotechnology. This programme provides fantastic opportunities to access the leading research and industrial researchers in biomaterials across the EU.” The award will fund staff, equipment, consumables and the training and development of researchers in the biomaterials and tissue engineering fields over a four-year period. The programme design encourages increased dialogue between academics, industry and clinicians, fostering the transfer of key scientific and experimental knowledge between the institutions and sectors involved. Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis at the NFB, who is co-ordinating the project, said: “This EU funding demonstrates the competitiveness of Irish research. Furthermore, due to the constructive interaction between academics, industry representatives and clinicians, the technologies under investigation will be translated to bed-side therapies.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway Receives 3 Fulbright Awards

NUI Galway Receives 3 Fulbright Awards -image

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

An NUI Galway student, scholar and lecturer have been announced as recipients of the Fulbright Awards 2011. 25 Scholarships in total, valued at € 285,000, were announced recently at an event hosted by the Deputy Chief of Mission from the US Embassy in Ireland Mr. John Hennessey-Niland. The Fulbright Awards are presented on an annual basis to Irish students, scholars and professionals to undertake postgraduate study and research at higher education, cultural and related institutions in the United States. Applications are encouraged in all disciplines including the visual and performing arts. The awards are jointly funded by the Irish and US governments under the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange. Fulbright scholarships have provided Irish and U.S. students, scholars and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture and research at top universities and institutions in the U.S. and Ireland respectively since 1957. Máire Ní Chuaig, a native Irish speaker graduated with a BA in Irish and Translation at NUI Galway. She plans on returning to College to complete a Higher Diploma in Education in 2012. Máire will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Montana. Dr. Noam Lubell is a Lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, NUI Galway. Dr Lubell will undertake his research into the area of future challenges in the law of armed conflict at New York University. Daniel Regan is a PhD candidate in Psychology at NUI Galway. Daniel will pursue his research at the University of California, Berkeley specialising in the area of health psychology with a specific focus on alcohol research. His sister Nell Regan was also awarded a scholarship. Out of the 25 scholarship awards, eight are for research and study in the areas of science, technology, environment and health. This year six Irish awardees will spend time teaching the language and lecturing in Irish culture as Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants. The remaining 10 recipients will conduct study and research in the areas of law, music, writing, politics and other humanities and social science disciplines. Commenting on the awards, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Eamon Gilmore, T.D., congratulated the recipients and said: “The Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange represents not just a commitment to the best educational standards for the successful recipients but also a joint investment by both governments to ever closer ties between our two countries, supporting, as President Obama put it recently in Dublin, the people who make the future happen.” Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. John Hennessey-Niland of the US Embassy in Ireland said: “The Fulbright Awards are one of the most important collaborative initiatives between our two countries. I wish this year’s 25 Irish recipients every success during their term in the U.S. In addition to the important academic and professional experience you are about to embark on, I trust you will make friendships that will remain long after you return to Ireland.” Una Halligan, Chairperson of the Fulbright Commission of Ireland concluded: “Each of these 25 successful candidates was chosen not only on the basis of their individual merits but also because they displayed exceptional leadership ability which is inherent to Fulbright. Great ideas are borne out of people’s ability to think creatively, to collaborate well with others and to follow through in order to make things happen. These recipients are some of the finest in their disciplines; I have no doubt they will be outstanding representatives for this country and will thrive and make the most of every opportunity that comes their way.” The next Fulbright Awards Competition 2012-2013 will open to applicants on Monday 5 September. For more information visit www.fulbright.ie. -ends-

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American Thoracic Society Award for NUI Galway Expert

American Thoracic Society Award for NUI Galway Expert-image

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Dr Ger Curley, an expert in Anaesthesia at NUI Galway and Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinician Scientist Fellow, has received a highly prestigious award from the American Thoracic Society (ATS). The Respiratory Structure & Function Assembly of the ATS has awarded Dr Curley its Excellence Award for best abstract presented at its 2011 Annual International Conference, held in Denver, Colorado. The award is in recognition of Dr Curley’s work, conducted with the Lung Biology Group at NUI Galway. His research has demonstrated for the first time the potential for stem cells to enhance repair following Ventilator Induced Acute Lung Injury, a significant cause of disability and death in critically ill patients. Dr Curley’s project was conducted in collaboration with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. This award represents a first for Ireland in this arena and brings international recognition for the high quality work being done by Dr Curley and the other members of the Lung Biology Group at NUI Galway. Professor John Laffey, who leads the Lung Biology Group at NUI Galway, commented: “This work provides exciting evidence that stem cells can repair the damaged lungs and by doing so, may help to save the lives of critically ill patients in our Intensive Care Units. There is cause for hope here because we do not have any treatments for this devastating disease. This was a collaborative project that would not have been possible without the world class expertise and experience in stem cell research provided by the scientists at REMEDI.” The research was funded by grants from Molecular Medicine Ireland under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions and by the European Research Council under its Framework 7 programme. -Ends-

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Students Scoop € 15,000 for Surfer Website at NUI Galway Student Enterprise Award

Students Scoop € 15,000 for Surfer Website at NUI Galway Student Enterprise Award -image

Monday, 13 June 2011

A surfing website designed by two students, which has the potential to develop tourism in the West of Ireland, has scooped the top prize of € 15,000 at the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards held on Friday, 10 June, 2011. The creators of WestCoastSurfer.com were presented with their prize by Minister of State for Small Business, John Perry T.D., NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Peter Mannion. WestCoastSurfer.com is the brainchild of Oisin Halpin and Cian Brassil. Oisin is a third year Earth & Ocean Science student from Achill Island, Co. Mayo, whilst Cian is a second year Information Technology student from Kilcolgan, Co. Galway. Their goal is to design, build, promote, develop and manage the premier Irish surfing website. Judges were impressed with the WestCoastSurfer.com brand and its potential draw investment to the domestic economy. Announcing the winner, Chairperson of the judging panel, CEO of Creganna-Tactx Medical, Helen Ryan said: “West Coast Surfer.com has huge growth potential and is well grounded in commercial reality with great opportunities for the West of Ireland. Both Cian and Oisin have all the hallmarks of people who will be very successful.” Six teams contested the final of the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards in anticipation of securing an investment of € 15,000 for the winning project. The competition is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union, with the support of NUI Galway and has the goal of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the students of the University. The competition successfully attracted entrants from across all of the colleges and schools of the University, from which six ideas were chosen to progress to the final stage. The two runner-up prizes of € 2,000 were awarded to LittleGreenWheels and Algorithm. LittleGreenWheels was created by Laura Crean, from Tralee, Co, Kerry, and Amy Martyn, from Salthill, Galway City and is an environmental recycling centre for children. Algorithm was created by Evelyn Fennelly, a first year Medicine student from Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Her project aims to help students overcome the difficulties of returning to education following childbirth. As part of the final assessment of their entries, students received an investment of € 500 for their projects, and also received the assistance of mentoring from the highly specialised team of mentors, which was comprised of a combination of members of the academic staff of the University and members of the local business community. Minister of State for Small Business, John Perry T.D, who presented the winning team with their prize said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Peter Mannion said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway’s Cycle to Campus Day To Mark Galway Bike Week Festival

NUI Galway’s Cycle to Campus Day To Mark Galway Bike Week Festival -image

Monday, 13 June 2011

Galway s Bike Week Festival runs from 18 to 26 June 2011. This year, the week will be launched in Galway on 18 June with a mass cycle, a bike village and many other events around the city. As part of NUI Galway’s contribution to the festival, the Green Campus Committee is organising a University-wide Cycle to Campus Day on Wednesday, 22 June. The Cycle to Campus Day aims to encourage staff and students to cycle to campus and to reward those who do so regularly. All members of the NUI Galway community are welcome to participate - whether dedicated commuters or first-time cyclists. Getting involved is easy. Simply cycle your bike to campus and join in the various activities being held around campus on the day. "The Cycle to Campus event is another sign of the growing popularity of bicycling in NUI Galway", says Pierre Ludwick of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI). Over half of all researchers in DERI regularly cycle to work, and Kevin O’Sullivan, a Design Engineer with the Buildings Office at the University is working on a project to install additional secure and covered bike parking, to the direct benefit of this group. The University is boosting bicycling even further with a number of improvements, including the development of a Travel Plan and the provision of new bike parking spaces. Additional covered bicycle racks have been installed in several places around campus, as part of on-going improvements to cycle facilities. "We look forward to making it even easier and safer to ride a bike to work for all employees", says Greg Power, Planning and Projects Officer at NUI Galway. "Cycling has many benefits for staff and students - we now need to keep the momentum and culture change with more and better incentives to cycling ". The Cycle to Work Scheme has also been hugely popular on campus, and is open to all employees, with over 300 staff availing of the scheme since 2009. This scheme encourages more people to cycle to and from work, by gaining a tax saving on procuring a bicycle where it is used by the employee mainly for qualifying journeys. Information about the scheme will be available throughout the day-long event. -ends-

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NUI Galway, UL and UCC Partner in PhD Programme

NUI Galway, UL and UCC Partner in PhD Programme -image

Monday, 13 June 2011

Research in the area of Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine will be furthered through the launch of a structured PhD Programme in the field delivered through the NUI Galway/UL Strategic Alliance and University College Cork. The PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (BMERM) is a collaborative programme involving partner institutions nationally and internationally, including: Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo, University of Ulster, Queen s University Belfast, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, University of Pittsburgh, USA, Duke University, USA, Rice University, USA, Mayo Clinic, USA, RWTH Aachen University, Germany, Georgia Tech Ireland, and the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA). The 4 year programme, funded by the HEA under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions Cycle 5, will also involve study visits for Irish students to the world-leading research institute, Georgia Tech based in Atlanta. Director of the Programme, Professor Peter McHugh, of the NUI Galway College of Engineering and Informatics, said “The medical technology industry is one of the pillars of the Irish economy, with a tremendous potential for growth, which is dependent on having a highly educated and trained workforce and a strong research and innovation capability. Biomedical engineering and regenerative medicine are at the heart of this growth potential and this structured PhD programme is designed to produce graduates who will be the next generation of leaders in the industry and in academic research and education in the field.” Professor Tim McGloughlin, Director of Centre for Applied Biomedical Engineering Research at UL said; “This programme will enhance the professional skills of the PhD students through close interaction with the medical devices industry, further enhancing its role in the Irish economy and enabling R&D growth in this key sector.” Professor Noel Caplice, Professor of Cardiovascular Science & Consultant Cardiologist, CUH/UCC said, “This is an exciting interaction between Universities that are already co-operating on stem cell and cardiovascular thematic research. We believe this BERM interaction will only strengthen this collaboration. The PhD programme aims to become a leading international graduate education programme in the fields of biomedical engineering and regenerative medicine in which Ireland is already taking a strong international role. The overall objective is to develop graduates who will produce ground- breaking scientific results benefiting human health and contributing to economic growth. Ireland’s medical technologies sector is a significant global cluster for medical device and diagnostic products. 200 plus medtech companies are involved in the development, manufacture and marketing of a diverse range of products and services, including 100 indigenous companies. Exports of medical device and diagnostics products are valued in excess of € 7 billion annually, representing 9 per cent of Ireland’s total merchandise exports. The sector employs 25,000 people, the highest number of people working in the industry in Europe, per head of population. The Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine PhD Programme will involve significant interaction with the sector through the involvement of the Irish Medical Devices Association which represents 135 companies in the sector. Irish Medical Devices Association Director, Sharon Higgins said; “IMDA is very excited by the launch of the structured PhD Programme in Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. The Programme, developed with close industry involvement, builds on the strengths of the highly active national and international research activities taking place in Ireland, to produce unique graduates with key skills required to further contribute to the economic growth of the medical technology sector in Ireland.” For further information please contact, Professor Peter McHugh, Director of the Structured PhD Programme in Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (BMERM), NUI Galway College of Engineering and Informatics 091 493152 or email peter.mchugh@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

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Irish Conference of Medievalists to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

Irish Conference of Medievalists to Celebrate 25th Anniversary -image

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Irish Conference of Medievalists celebrates its 25th anniversary with a conference from 24 to 26 June in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. The conference reflects the current state of research in Medieval Studies, focusing on the history, archaeology, language and literature of medieval Ireland and Europe. This year’s speakers come from Ireland, USA, Scotland, England, France, Canada, Norway, Iceland and Morocco. The keynote speaker is Professor Alfred Smyth, an eminent historian of early Medieval Ireland and Britain, based at the University of Canterbury. There will be special plenary sessions on Irish and Norse literary connections and on the influence of Columbanus, the Irish missionary active in France and Northern Italy c. 590 to 615. NUI Galway’s Dr Pádraic Moran said, “The return of the 25th Irish Conference of Medievalists to NUI Galway presents an occasion to reflect on 25 years of scholarship in Irish Medieval studies, and recognises the strength of the NUI Galway’s own research community in this important area of our heritage.” A full programme and list of abstracts are available at the conference website: www.irishmedievalists.com. The conference is open to students, academics and members of the public. Visit www.conference.ie for information on registration. -ends-

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Child Protection Focus of NUI Galway Child and Family Research Centre Conference

Child Protection Focus of NUI Galway Child and Family Research Centre Conference -image

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., will officially open the fifth biennial conference of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway later this month. The conference, entitled Protecting Children Through Family Support, will take place over two days, running from 16 to 17 June, in the Áras Moyola Building at NUI Galway. Protecting Children Through Family Support will address the challenges and opportunities in effectively realising children and young people’s right to be cared for safely within their families. The central theme of the conference is how to develop family support interventions that are mindful of children and young people’s right to be protected and child protection (and related) interventions which acknowledge their right to be supported within the family. The theme will be explored through keynote presentations and practice seminars addressing Family Support in universal and preventative settings, through to ’early in the problem’ targeted support services, and child protection and alternative care provision. It will enable practitioners and other key stakeholders the space to listen, reflect and discuss current challenges facing services for children. The keynote speakers will include: Professor Harry Ferguson, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom; Professsor Bob Lonne, Queensland University, Australia; Helen Meintjes, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Dr Susan Bissell, UNICEF HQ, New York; Professor Mary Daly, Queens University Belfast; Carmel Devaney, NUI Galway; Professor Brid Featherstone, NUI Galway; Professor John Pinkerton, Queen s University Belfast; and special guest Róisín Ingle, journalist with the Irish Times. Speaking about the conference, UNESCO Chair and CFRC Director Professor Pat Dolan, commented “With the imminent publication of new child protection guidelines and the establishment of a new child protection agency, the need for services to work effectively with parents, families and communities is critical - social work interventions alone will not protect children.” For further information, or to register for the conference, visit www.conference.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway-UL Alliance Announce New PhD in Philosophy at Mary Immaculate College

NUI Galway-UL Alliance Announce New PhD in Philosophy at Mary Immaculate College -image

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The NUI Galway and UL Alliance have announced an exciting new structured PhD programme in Philosophy of Art and Culture at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. This unique, inter-institutional PhD programme, which will run for the first time in the 2011/12 academic year, has been developed collaboratively by the Philosophy departments at NUI Galway and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, with the Department of History at the University of Limerick. By blending expertise from the three partner institutions, the highly innovative programme seeks to explore the philosophy of art and culture in an intellectually enriched setting, combining Analytic and Continental Philosophy. The programme offers students valuable insight into the theories and methodologies that are basic to research in all aspects of philosophy of art and culture. It aims to develop students’ skills as active researchers and their capacity to pursue research independently as well as their ability to work in collaboration with others and in broader networks of international research contacts. Students will be encouraged to formulate their work in such a way as to be presentable at conferences and colloquia at both the national and international level and will be instructed in how to teach and develop their research to international standards through specialist disciplinary education. The programme will be offered on an inter-institutional basis across the three partner Institutions. Students will therefore register at either Mary Immaculate College or NUI Galway, but will, under the guidance of their supervisors, take a number of core modules in each of the participating institutions and will choose from a number of other modules on offer. Depending on which modules individual students select according to their own needs, there may also be an element of distance education. Among the modules expected to be taught on the programme at Mary Immaculate College are: Philosophy and the Subject: From the Modern to the Post-Modern; Introduction to Hermeneutics; Literary Aesthetics and Research Methodology. Phenomenology of Art and Culture, History and Philosophy of Pictorial Space and Modernity and Knowledge will be taught at NUI Galway, while modules in Art and Cultures of Display and The Look of the Past will be offered at the University of Limerick. The MIC Director of the programme, Dr. Stephen Thornton, said: “This programme is the first of its kind in Ireland, and offers exciting new possibilities for the promotion of inter-institutional collaboration and research in the philosophy of Art and Culture, construed in a very broad and inclusive sense. We envisage that it will appeal to those who have an interest in Philosophy, Art, Literature and other aspects of contemporary culture and who wish to pursue that interest at the highest level, utilising the expertise available at the three participating institutions.” NUI Galway Professor of Philosophy, Paul Crowther said: “We live in a time when the meanings of art and culture are being subjected to radical questioning through globalisation and modes of new technology. Our programme negotiates this challenge. It does so by combining depth and breadth in philosophical thinking about the arts and the meaning of culture. By this means, it also connects philosophical aesthetics to community-life and the bigger world-picture.” Applicants will normally possess at least an upper second level (2.1) primary degree in Philosophy or a similar award from a cognate discipline from a recognised third level institution. Acceptance may be subject to interview and/or a sample of written work and is entirely at the discretion of the Programme Board. Candidates should be proficient in the use of English for academic purposes. A number of Assistantships will be available for applicants on a competitive basis. For a copy of the Programme Brochure, please contact: Ms Linda McGrath, The Arts Office, Mary Immaculate College: 061-204525 or linda.mcgrath@mic.ul.ie For further information on application procedures for the Structured PhD in Philosophy of Art and Culture, please contact: The Graduate Office at MIC: 061 204556 or hellen.gallagher@mic.ul.ie For application forms see: http://www.mic.ul.ie/programmes/Postgraduate/pdf/EnglishTaught%20Application.pdf. For application via NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/research-postgraduate-programmes/structured-phd/philosophy-art-culture.html . For further information contact: Holly Ní Chomáin, Oifigeach Margaíochta & Caidrimh Poiblí/ Marketing & PR Officer Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál/ Mary Immaculate College. 061 204595 Holly.Cowman@mic.ul.ie www.mic.ul.ie. -ends-

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Housing Law and Policy Needs to be Reevaluated According to NUI Galway Expert

Housing Law and Policy Needs to be Reevaluated According to NUI Galway Expert -image

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Irish State needs to defend its citizens’ rights to a home and protect them from the power of global financial corporations, according to NUI Galway’s Dr Padraic Kenna. His new book, Housing Law, Rights and Policy, provides the first comprehensive reference and critique of the legal and policy elements of the Irish housing system. According to Dr Kenna: “There is an urgent need to re-evaluate what housing law and policy is actually about. Housing and mortgage law must be more than the means of repaying irresponsible loans from international financial corporations. It must be more than disparate pieces of legislation, cases, policy reports and media commentaries on the state of the market. Housing as a means of personal, social and community development must be given a legal status”. Dr Kenna, who is a lecturer with the School of Law at NUI Galway, added: “Today, we need a balance in our housing law and policy. Now might be the time for a new set of representative national organisations of mortgage consumers, social housing tenants, and those who require adequate and affordable housing at Irish and EU level. The new book from Dr Kenna, Housing Law, Rights and Policy, brings together for the first time all the legal and policy approaches which could inform a new paradigm in Irish housing. The book examines the development of the Irish housing system, including contemporary policy perspectives. It also outlines and evaluates the law, rights and policy in relation to older people, people with disabilities, homeless people, State housing finance, private mortgages, housing rights, planning, housing standards, building regulations, local authority housing, private rented housing, apartments, multi-unit developments and estates, housing associations and co-operatives, rural housing and EU housing related law. Housing Law, Rights and Policy is published by Clarus Press. -ends-

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