February 2003

NUI Galway announces Awards for Outstanding Graduates

NUI Galway announces Awards for Outstanding Graduates-image

Thursday, 20 February 2003

Press release: 3 February, 2003 NUI Galway announces Awards for Outstanding Graduates The NUI Galway Alumni Awards will be presented at the Fourth Annual Gala Banquet in the Radisson SAS Hotel, on Saturday, 1 March, 2003. Funds raised at the banquet will support the University's Access Programme, which has been developed to provide educational opportunities for those whose socio-economic backgrounds have prevented them from participating in third-level education. Awards will be presented in five categories to graduates who have made a distinctive contribution in their chosen careers. Through the awards programme, the University recognises individual excellence among the more than 43,000 graduates worldwide. Hewlett-Packard Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts Sean McGinley, Actor McGinley has an impressive list of credits in film, theatre and television. His portrayal of Charlo in the four part television series Family brought him both critical and popular acclaim. His film credits include John Boorman s The General, Neil Jordan s The Butcher Boy and Michael Collins; Jim Sheridan s The Field and Mel Gibson s Oscar winning Braveheart. His theatre performances have won him Best Actor Award for Whistle In The Dark, and The Shaughran. McGinely currently plays Fergal Collins in the RTÉ original drama On Home Ground. ntl: Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics John McGowan, Vice President Technology and Manufacturing Group, and Director, Corporate Services of Intel Ireland An Engineering graduate of 1970, McGowan has occupied senior management positions in Intel for many years. He is a fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, and a member of the Institute of Directors. The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland honoured him with the Engineer of the Year Award in 2000. Intel has a major wafer fabrication facility in Leixlip, designated Ireland Fab Operations (IFO). Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Owner, Managing Director of Aer Arann Express. Ó Céidigh first worked as an accountant and later taught for several years in Coláiste Iognáid, Galway. He studied law and started his own legal practice in Galway City. In 1994, he purchased Aer Arann with Eugene O'Kelly when it was merely a passenger service, operating up to 25 flights per day between Connemara Regional Airport and the Aran Islands. Under their ownership, Aer Arann, now called Aer Aran Express, has expanded to become the fastest growing regional airline in Europe. Pádraig was recently named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2002 in Ireland. Medtronic AVE Award for Health Care and Medical Science Professor Maurice Manning, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Medical College of Ohio. A Science graduate of 1957, Dr. Manning has been doing peptide hormone research since 1961 and has worked with two Nobel Prizewinners at Cornell University Medical College and at Rockefeller University. His lab supplies scientists with molecules that are used in the investigation of various subjects, including hypertension, cancer, kidney disease, memory and childbirth. He holds 12 patents and his lab designed the original molecules that contributed to the development of a new drug — currently undergoing clinical trials — to prevent premature birth. There also is a peptide named after him, the Manning Compound, which blocks the actions of vasopressin (the hormone that affects blood pressure and body fluids) on the receptors in blood vessels. NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government: HE Sean O'hUiginn, Ambassador - Embassy of Ireland, Berlin After graduating from NUI Galway in 1967 with an MA degree, Sean O'hUiginn entered the Department of Foreign Affairs as a Third Secretary and moved through the ranks of the Department in various positions both in Ireland and abroad. While serving in the Anglo-Irish Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs, O'hUiginn was deeply instrumental in fostering the Irish peace process and the all-party negotiations in Northern Ireland that eventually resulted in the triumph of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. As ambassador to the United States (1997-2002), he continued to be closely involved in the implementation of the agreement. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; Mobile: 087-2986592

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NUI Galway Symposium to explore Women's Voices in Islam

NUI Galway Symposium to explore Women's Voices in Islam-image

Monday, 17 February 2003

Release date: 17 February, 2003 NUI Galway Symposium to explore Women's Voices in Islam The Women's Studies Centre at NUI Galway is hosting a Symposium entitled 'Exploring Islam: Women's Voices' at 10.00a.m. on Saturday 22 February 2003, in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Panelists will include Professor Shaheen Ali (Warwick); Dr Fauzia Ahmad (Bristol); Dr Nancy Lindisfarne (London); Hebah Nashat (Galway); Nuria Dunne (Galway); and a representative from the Islamic Cultural Centre, Dublin. All are welcome to attend. The significant increase in the number of Muslims now living in Ireland has not been matched by an increase in an ability to comprehend the nature of the relationship between Muslims and their religion – particularly those living in non-Muslim countries – or the relationship between Muslims from different regions of the world. In the current political climate, in which there is an increasingly singular and homogeneous understanding of the usually negative differences between 'east' and 'west,' it seems more difficult than ever to explore the diversity of voices that make up the Islamic world. This diversity includes Islamic women who are often presented as having been silenced by their own belief systems, but who are, more often than not, actually silenced by misunderstanding and misinformation from non-Muslim sources. The Symposium is designed specifically to facilitate an exploration of the diversity of Muslim women's voices, and forms part of the Women's Studies Centre's commitment to promoting a better understanding of women and their relationship to the various societies in which they live. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418

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March 2003

Flies may help curb one of Agriculture's greatest scourges

Flies may help curb one of Agriculture's greatest scourges-image

Monday, 31 March 2003

Press Statement: 31 March, 2003 Flies may help curb one of Agriculture s greatest scourges It is a very serious problem for most farmers in the west of Ireland. Urban dwellers are familiar with it from radio advertisements promoting products for its eradication. What is it? It's liver fluke – often regarded as one of the world's greatest agricultural pests. However, scientists in NUI Galway, with the help of Mother Nature, are well on the way to arresting the scourge of liver fluke, thus saving the Irish and global economy millions of Euro each year. Scientists led by Dr. Mike Gormally at the Applied Ecology Unit (AEU) at the National University of Ireland, Galway have been investigating marsh fly biology. Research over the last three years by Rory Mc Donnell (PhD student) and Collette Mulkeen (Honours Environmental Science student), have produced encouraging results. It is possible that a humble group of insects called marsh flies might indeed prove to be the liver fluke's Nemesis. Liver fluke parasites live in the bile ducts of sheep, cattle, deer, rabbits and even humans. The eggs pass out of the host animal with its dung, hatch into a larvae and must then find a special type of snail, called a mud snail, in order to complete its development. After reproducing up to 600 times within the snail, new larvae emerge, crawl up blades of grass and form weather-resistant cysts, which are then ingested inadvertently by passing grazing animals. The immature flukes then penetrate the gut wall and make their way to the bile ducts causing extensive liver damage along the way. Enter the marsh fly! Dr. Mike Gormally and his team at NUI Galway have discovered that several Irish marsh fly species attack, kill and feed on the mud snail, which is so crucial to liver fluke development. Marsh flies, which are generally no bigger than a common house-fly, are yellowish-brown in colour and are found on all continents except the Antarctic. "In Ireland, we have 52 different kinds and they are usually found in marshy areas," explains Dr. Gormally. " If mud snail numbers can be reduced in an area by releasing these insects, then the incidences of liver fluke in livestock is also likely to decline." The NUI Galway research is aimed at gaining an understanding of the growth patterns, feeding behaviour and habitat requirements of these snail-killing flies. "This information is essential before we can release these insects into fluke-prone areas and expect them to do their job," says Rory McDonnell, who is currently finishing his Ph.D thesis. "We need to know the conditions they prefer, how long they feed on snails, how many snails they kill and which kinds they like most," he says. Results to date show that these insects are voracious predators that are easily reared under laboratory conditions for release into problem areas. The next step in the NUI Galway research is the release of marsh flies into areas where liver fluke is a problem and assessing their efficacy in the wild. This is a crucial stage as the marsh flies will have to deal with factors such as predation, competition, diseases and adverse weather conditions which they were not faced with in laboratory testing. It is perhaps difficult to see how such a small organism as liver fluke can be such a scourge to world agriculture but the statistics speak for themselves: · Liver fluke costs the global economy US$2,000 million (€1,850 million) annually. · 600 million animals are now infected worldwide. · 2.4 million people are now parasitised by liver fluke (the chief avenue of human infection is by eating watercress contaminated by liver fluke cysts). · In Ireland (where the disease is common in wet pastures), liver fluke cost our agricultural sector €25 million in 2001. "Traditional methods of keeping fluke at bay, such as land drainage, are no longer an option in most areas, now that many Irish wetlands are a priority habitat for conservation," says Collette Mulkeen. Modern control methods using drugs which target adult and immature flukes in livestock, were initially very successful but the development of resistance by flukes to many of these chemicals has now raised considerable concern. McDonnell points out that; "If the global economic loss due to liver fluke is reduced by a meagre 0.5% by using marsh flies, then the world will be US$10 million better off and it will be a lot less worrying having to eat a watercress salad"! Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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Mandela to visit Galway

Mandela to visit Galway-image

Thursday, 27 March 2003

Press statement: 27 March, 2003 Mandela to visit Galway The President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh announced today (27 March) that former President of South Africa and world statesman, Nelson Mandela, will be conferred with an Honorary Degree at the University, on Friday, 20 June, 2003. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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Nobel Prize Winner to give public lecture at NUI Galway

Nobel Prize Winner to give public lecture at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 19 March 2003

Release date: 13 March, 2003 Nobel Prize Winner to give public lecture at NUI Galway Professor Sir Paul Nurse, FRS, who with two colleagues, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001, will deliver a public lecture entitled "Controlling the Cell Cycle," at 8.00 p.m., Friday 28 March 2003, in the O'Flaherty Theatre, NUI Galway. Director of Cancer Research UK, Paul Nurse, identified, cloned and characterized with genetic and molecular methods, one of the key regulators of the cell cycle, CDK (cyclin dependent kinase). CDK drives the cell through the cell cycle by chemical modification (phosphorylation) of other proteins. All organisms consist of cells that multiply through cell division. An adult human being has approximately 10,000 billion cells (or 10 trillion cells), all originating from a single cell, the fertilized egg cell. In adults there is also an enormous number of continuously dividing cells that replace dying cells. Before a cell can divide it has to grow in size, duplicate its chromosomes and separate the chromosomes for exact distribution between the two daughter cells. These different processes are coordinated in the cell cycle. Nurse and his colleagues, Timothy Hunt and American scientist, Leland Hartwell, made seminal discoveries concerning the control of the cell cycle. They identified key molecules that regulate the cell cycle in all eukaryotic organisms, including yeasts, plants and animals. These fundamental discoveries have a great impact on all aspects of cell growth. Defects in the regulation of the cell cycle may lead to the type of uncontrolled proliferation observed in cancer cells. Understanding this process may open new possibilities for cancer treatment. In October 2001, Nurse, Hunt and Leland were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discoveries of "Key Regulators of the Cell Cycle." Using yeast as a model system, Paul Nurse's 'eureka moment' came when he discovered the gene CDC2, which has a key function in the control of cell division. In 1987 Nurse isolated the corresponding gene in humans, and it was later given the name CDK1 (cyclin dependent kinase 1). Nurse showed that activation of CDK1 is dependent on reversible phosphorylation, i.e. that phosphate groups are linked to, or removed from, proteins. On the basis of these findings, half a dozen different CDK molecules have been found in humans. Nurse was not born with the proverbial 'silver spoon' in his mouth. Brought up in London, where his father worked as a mechanic and his mother as a part-time cleaner, he attended Harrow Grammar School where his classmates came from far more privileged backgrounds. Although naturally gifted at science subjects, Nurse failed O-Level French, thus preventing entry to University. However, an enlightened professor at Birmingham University recognised his talent and arranged entry for the brilliant young student to the School of Biology. "Apart from being a fantastic scientist, Paul has a tremendous sense of humour, which makes him great company", says Professor Noel Lowndes, of NUI Galway's Department of Biochemistry, who was a colleague of Nurse's for some years at Cancer Research, UK. " He is a child of the Sixties who threw himself into the radical student politics of the time." Even now, Nurse retains that spirit of adventure. The man, with a passing facial resemblance to the actor Robin Williams, can be seen in the environs of Cancer Research UK, weaving in and out of traffic on his 500cc gleaming Kawasaki, purchased with the proceeds of the Nobel Prize. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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NUI Galway announces €250 million Strategic Plan

NUI Galway announces €250 million Strategic Plan-image

Wednesday, 12 March 2003

Release date: 6 March, 2003 NUI Galway announces €250 million Strategic Plan HIGHLIGHTS: Seven strategic priorities outlined by University President to tackle issues and challenges facing NUI Galway in what will undoubtedly be challenging times for the third-level education sector as a whole Implementation of Plan will establish NUI Galway as a world class centre of learning and research Plan focuses on attraction of students, research capabilities, recruitment and retention of highly motivated staff, national and regional influence of the University, the Irish language, organisational structures and funding Initiatives to be undertaken in year one of Plan include: developing a new student cultural and recreational centre, an awards scheme to recognise teaching excellence, a proactive policy in relation to third-level education through Irish and a fundamental re-appraisal of the 1929 Act Targets and deadlines to be put in place on an annual basis to ensure strategy is implemented in full National University of Ireland, Galway today (Thursday 6 March 2003) publicly unveiled its strategic plan for the next five years. The Strategic Plan for NUI Galway 2003 – 2008, which will cost over €250m to implement, is a clear statement of the strategic direction and aims of the University over the next five years. Wide-ranging consultation with staff, students and other interested groups took place in the development of the Plan, to ensure their full involvement in the strategic planning process, and detailed background research was undertaken. Seven strategic priorities have been identified under the Plan which aim to: Enhance the relative attractiveness of the University for Irish and international students; Further strengthen the research reputation and ethos of the University; Attract and retain high-quality staff through recognition and reward; Maximise the University's contribution at national and regional levels; Promote the Irish language in the work of the University; Improve organisational structures and; Secure resources to implement the Strategic Plan. Commenting on the strategic planning process and the future direction of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "The Plan launched today builds on an era of development for NUI Galway. Since 1995, the University has had a number of successes in terms of building and enhancing upon its research and teaching experience. What we have set out to do with this Plan is to continue the momentum and build upon those successes, and in a real and practical way (and I can't over emphasise this enough) deal with, and overcome a range of challenges facing the third level sector as a whole. Make no mistake about it – this is not just another report – this is a blueprint for the future success of this institution, a blueprint that my management team and I are committed to over the coming years to ensure that it is implemented in full." Continuing he said, "Attraction of students in a declining population and an ever increasing competitive marketplace is a key priority. Under this plan a number of student-centred measures including the development of campus facilities, enhancement of teaching quality, student supports and services, will take place to ensure that increased numbers of traditional and, importantly, non traditional students will choose to study at NUI Galway. Our second priority is to strengthen our growing research reputation – so important to the University and the country as a whole. We see NUI Galway playing a leading role nationally and internationally in this field. Our strategic focus will look at new and innovative ways of recruiting and motivating staff – it will also look at new structures and approaches to support the sustainable development of the Irish language. This process will include a full review – completed by this summer - of the provisions of the 1929 Act". The NUI Galway Strategic Plan clearly sets out actions that will take place within the first year of the plan and actions to be carried out over the full period of the plan. Commenting on its implementation, President Ó Muircheartaigh stressed that the Plan was ambitious, but realistic. He maintained that the Plan would be revisited on an annual basis to review activity against pre-set action plans. "Each member of the management team, including myself, has taken responsibility for specific strategic priorities, to ensure that on an annual basis, plans and initiatives are being implemented," he said. Concluding he said: "Delivering on the seven key priorities will ensure that we retain the competitive edge which has established NUI Galway as a first-rank educational institution by international standards. While acknowledging and being fully cognisant of the particular challenges which the changing economic climate may present to NUI Galway and indeed the wider third level educational system, we look forward with enthusiasm to the next five years, confident on the basis of this Plan that NUI Galway will continue to show dynamic leadership in research, teaching and student support". Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press and Information Officer, NUI Galway. Tel: 091 750 418 =========================================== Preas ráiteas: 6ú Márta, 2003 Plean Straitéiseach €250 milliún Fógartha ag OÉ, Gaillimh BUAICPHOINTÍ: Seacht dtosaíocht straitéiseacha arna leagan amach ag Uachtarán na hOllscoile chun dul i ngleic le saincheisteanna agus le dúshláin atá i ndán do OÉ, Gaillimh agus d'earnáil an tríú leibhéal i gcoitinne. Ionad foghlama agus taighde ar chaighdeán domhanda a bheidh in OÉ, Gaillimh ach an Plean a chur i ngníomh Leagann an Plean béim ar mhic léinn a mhealladh, ar chumais taighde, ar earchú agus ar choinneáil foirne, ar thionchar náisiúnta agus réigiúnach na hOllscoile, ar an nGaeilge, ar struchtúir eagraíochtúla agus ar mhaoiniú Áirítear ar an tionscnaimh a dhéanfar i mbliain a haon den Phlean: pleananna críochnaithe d'ionad nua mac léinn; scéim dámhachtainí chun aitheantas a thabhairt do shártheagasc; polasaí gníomhach i leith oideachas triú leibhéil tré Ghaeilge agus athbhreithniú bunúsach ar fhorálacha Acht 1929 Spriocanna agus spriocdhátaí le leagan síos ar bhonn bliantúil d'fhonn cur i ngníomh iomlán na straitéise a chinntiú Nocht Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a plean straitéiseach do na cúig bliana amach romhainn inniu (Déardaoin, 6 Márta, 2003). Is ráiteas soiléir é Plean Straitéiseach OÉ, Gaillimh 2003 – 2008, a chosnóidh thart ar €250 milliún lena chur i ngníomh, faoi threo agus aidhmeanna straitéiseacha na hOllscoile do na cúig bliana amach romhainn. Déanadh comhchomhairle dhian leis an bhfoireann, le mic léinn agus le grúpaí eile i réiteach an phlean, d'fhonn a rannpháirtíocht iomlán sa phróiséis stráitéiseach a chinntiú. Tá seacht dtosaíocht straitéiseacha aitheanta faoin bPlean agus is iad seo a leanas na haidhmeanna atá acu: Tarraint na hOllscoile i measc mac léinn Éireannach agus idirnáisiúnta a mhéadú i gcomparáid le hOllscoileanna eile; Éiteas agus cáil taighde na hOllscoile a láidriú tuilleadh; -1- Foireann ar ardchaighdeán a mhealladh agus a choinneáil trí aitheantas agus luach saothair a thabhairt dóibh; An méid a dhéanann an Ollscoil ar leibhéal náisiúnta agus réigiúnacha a uasmhéadú; An Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn in obair na hOllscoile; Struchtúir eagraíochtúla a fheabhsú, agus; Acmhainní a fháil chun an Plean Straitéiseach a chur i bhfeidhm. Agus é ag labhairt faoin bpróiseas pleanála straitéisí agus faoi threo na hOllscoile amach anseo, is é a dúirt an Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán na hOllscoile: "Tógann an Plean a seoladh inniu ar thréimhse forbartha in OÉ, Gaillimh. Ó 1995 i leith, d'éirigh go maith leis an Ollscoil ó thaobh taithí taighde agus teagaisc a threisiú agus a fheabhsú. Is é a chuireamar romhainn a dhéanamh leis an bPlean seo ná leanúint ar aghaidh leis an móiminteam agus tógáil ar an rathúlacht sin, agus déileáil ar bhealach réadúil agus praiticiúil (agus ní féidir liom an iomarca béim a chur air sin) leis an réimse dúshlán atá in ndán don earnáil tríú leibhéal ina hiomláine agus na dúshláin sin a shárú. Ná bíodh aon cheist agat faoi – ní gnáth-thuarascáil eile í seo – is gormphrionta í do rathúlacht an fhorais seo amach anseo, gormphrionta a mbeidh an fhoireann bainistíochta agamsa agus mé féin tiomanta dó sna blianta amach romhainn lena chinntiú go ndéanfar é a cur i ngníomh ina iomláine." Lean sé ar aghaidh agus dúirt sé: "Is príomhthosaíocht dúinne é mic léinn a mhealladh chugainn féin i ndaonra atá ag titim agus i margadh ina bhfuil an iomaíocht ag fáil níos géire de shíor. Faoin bPlean seo, cuirfear roinnt bearta dírithe ar mhic léinn i gcrích, lena n-áirítear saoráidí an champais a fhorbairt, caighdeán an teagaisc a fheabhsú, tacaíochtaí agus seirbhísí do mhic léinn a fheabhsú, lena chinntiú go roghnóidh níos mó agus níos mó mac léinn traidisiúnta agus mic léinn neamhtraidisiúnta, go háirithe, OÉ, Gaillimh. Is é an dara tosaíocht atá againn ná an cháil taighde atá orainn a threisiú – cáil atá fíorthábhachtach don Ollscoil agus don tír i gcoitinne. Chímid ról ceannróideach a bheith ag OÉ, Gaillimh sa réimse sin go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta. Féachaidh ár bhfócas straitéiseach ar bhealaí nua agus nuálacha maidir leis an bhfoireann a earcú agus a inspreagadh – féachaidh sé chomh maith ar struchtúr agus cuir chuige nua chun tacú le forbairt inmharthana na Gaeilge. Mar chuid den phróiseas sin déanfar athbhreithniú – a thabharfar chun críche faoin samhradh seo – ar fhorálacha Acht 1929." Leagann Plean Straitéiseach OÉ, Gaillimh gníomhartha amach go soiléir, gníomhartha a tharlóidh laistigh den chéad bhliain den Phlean agus gníomhartha a dhéanfar i rith thréimhse iomlán an phlean. Agus é ag labhairt faoi chur i ngníomh an phlean, dúirt an tUachtarán Ó Muircheartaigh go raibh an Plean uaillmhianach, ach réadúil san am céanna. Dhearbhaigh sé go bhféachfaí ar an bPlean ar bhonn bliantúil chun athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an ngníomhaíocht i bhfianaise riachtanas gnímh réamhshocraithe. "Tá gach ball den fhoireann bainistíochta, agus mé féin san áireamh, tar éis cúram a ghlacadh orainn féin as tosaíochtaí straitéiseacha ar leith, d'fhonn a chinntiú go bhfuiltear ag cur pleananna agus tionscnaimh i ngníomh ar bhonn bliantúil," a dúirt sé. Mar fhocal scoir, dúirt sé: "Má chomhlíontar na seacht dtosaíocht cinnteofar go mbeidh an lámh in uachtar againn san iomaíocht, lámh in uachtar atá bainte amach ag OÉ, Gaillimh mar fhoras oideachais den chéad ghrád de réir caighdeán idirnáisiúnta. Agus sinn ag aithint agus go hiomlán ar an eolas faoi na dúshláin shonracha a d'fhéadfadh a bheith in ndán do OÉ, Gaillimh de bharr an geilleagar a bheith ag athrú de shíor agus, go deimhin féin, an córas oideachais tríú leibhéal a bheith ag athrú, táimid ag súil go fonnmhar leis na cúig bliana amach romhainn, agus muinín againn de bharr an Phlean seo go leanfaidh OÉ, Gaillimh uirthi ag léiriú ceannaireacht dhinimiciúil i dtéarmaí taighde, teagaisc agus tacaíochta do mhic léinn." Críoch Eolas ó: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Oifigeach Eolais, OÉ, Gaillimh. Teil. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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Frequent attenders to Irish Emergency Departments: they will always be with us

Frequent attenders to Irish Emergency Departments: they will always be with us-image

Tuesday, 11 March 2003

Release date: Tuesday 11 March, 2003 Frequent attenders to Irish Emergency Departments: they will always be with us Report shows high number of psychosocially vulnerable patients The problems of Irish Emergency Departments have received much publicity recently. An often-suggested solution is for frequent Emergency Department attenders to be encouraged to attend their general practitioner and other community based services. A paper just published by Irish researchers in the prestigious American Annals of Emergency Medicine shows this to be simplistic, as such patients are already frequent attenders to their general practitioner and other community services. In addition, the study confirms that these patients are a psychosocially vulnerable group with multiple needs. This is the first study in Ireland to have followed such patients from the Emergency department (ED) to the community. The report found that frequent attenders to Emergency Departments: Made heavy use of other health services. They had visited their general practitioner more frequently and were more likely to have used public health nursing services, community welfare services, social work services, addiction counselling, and psychiatric services in the previous year compared to non-frequent ED attenders. Made more other hospital visits and had spent more nights in the hospital than non-frequent attenders. Had poorer psychological well-being, as measured by the General Health Questionnaire – 12 (QHQ 12), than non-frequent ED attenders. Reported lower levels of perceived social support. Were more likely to have presented with psychological problems Alcohol and drug use were much more frequently reported in the medical charts of ED frequent attenders compared to non-frequent ED attenders. The study was carried out in the ED of St James's Hospital Dublin, comparing a group of 100 frequent attenders to the ED with a group of 100 non-frequent attenders in terms of their general health service use and their clinical, psychological and social profiles. Patients were interviewed as they attended the ED, and patients' general practitioners were contacted to validate attendance data. Patients' medical charts were searched for evidence of psychological problems and alcohol or drug abuse. Ms Molly Byrne of NUI Galway said that 'this is further evidence that ED frequent attenders complement, rather than substitute, such heavy use of ED with heavy use of both primary and hospital services'. Mr Patrick K Plunkett, St. James's Hospital, noted that 'these patients are a psychosocially vulnerable group. It is important that service providers and policy makers take this vulnerable patient profile into account, as they endeavour to meet the service needs of these patients, as well as deal with resource problems in the country's Emergency Departments'. The study was carried out by Ms Molly Byrne and Prof Andrew Murphy of the Department of General Practice, NUI, Galway; Drs Patrick Plunkett and Alistair Murray, of the Department of Emergency Medicine, St James's Hospital, Dublin; Prof Hannah Mc Gee, of the Health Services Research Centre, Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Prof Gerry Bury, of the Department of General Practice, UCD. This study is published in the March issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine and is available on the Annals Web site (www.mosby.com/AnnEmergMed). Ends For further information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592 Ms Molly Byrne, Department of General Practice, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-512

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New EU Directive to insist on Employer-Employee Consultation

New EU Directive to insist on Employer-Employee Consultation-image

Monday, 3 March 2003

Release date: 3 March, 2003 New EU Directive to insist on Employer-Employee Consultation A one-day conference taking place in NUI Galway on Friday, 7 March, will address the EU Directive on Information and Consultation, that all Irish companies will have to implement by 2005 (some smaller companies will have until 2007). Ireland is one of only two member states, the other being the UK, that do not have a permanent and statutory system for information and consultation. "The Directive is potentially the most significant piece of employment legislation to emerge from the European Union to date," according to Dr Tony Dundon, of NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), which is hosting the conference. "It will give all employees, in organisations employing more than either 20 or 50 people, the right to be informed and consulted on matters currently affecting their jobs and those likely to impact on their future work life," says Dr Dundon. The NUI Galway conference will bring together a number of key experts in the field, including policy makers, academics and researchers, They will review the current situation in Ireland, in terms of how far companies are from the requirements of the Directive and also what the Irish Government may or may not do in drafting legislation for compliance. Stressing the importance of the Directive for Irish companies, Dr Dundon commented: "When implemented, this Directive will create a new legal framework for collective representation that marks a significant departure from the traditional voluntarist approach adopted in this country." Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 750418

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April 2003

New Deep Sea Research Centre established at NUI Galway

New Deep Sea Research Centre established at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 28 April 2003

Release date: Monday 28th April 2003 New Deep Sea Research Centre established at NUI Galway At some ten times the size of Ireland's land area, our seabed is a resource of major significance and there now exists a whole new body of knowledge that allows us to pursue biological and ecological studies in deeper water as never before. NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) has just announced the setting-up of an Irish Centre for Offshore Biological and Ecological Studies (ICOBES). The centre, in collaboration with national and international partners, will address the serious deficit of knowledge on the animals of the deep ocean floor and on their relationships with their environment. These animals constitute a highly important resource in their own right – ecologically and commercially. "Their presence determines in no small way the 'health' of the seafloor, and they play an important, as yet poorly understood, role in the food web of the deep sea", says Professor Brendan Keegan, Chairman of the new research centre. "This is extremely important when, with the decline of many traditional fisheries (e.g. the cod), our attention is being turned towards new food species from deeper waters." "If we are not to make the same mistakes again, we have, amongst other requirements, to be able to identify the diversity of animals in question. We must know their biology (e.g. when and how often do they reproduce) and their ecology (e.g. who eats whom and what other effects they have on their habitats)", says Professor Keegan. NUI, Galway has built up an international reputation in marine taxonomy - the identification of marine plant and animal species. Many of its graduates have endured with this interest in their own work places, such as the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Aqua Fact International Services Ltd. This survived the rising attractiveness of molecular taxonomy (identifying species on the basis of their genetic composition), which saw many institutions world wide turn away from the classical approach of identifying whole animals and plants on the basis of their "shape and make". "It was indeed very strange that, even in the face of widespread concern over the permanent loss of species, expert recognition of marine plants and animals continued to decline", observes Professor Keegan. " There is growing awareness of the urgent need to re-acquire these impoverished skills", he said. Ireland, as a whole, has had little marine taxonomic expertise beyond our shallow coastal waters. "This is regrettable, given the increasing interest in the offshore/deep sea area and its natural resources", says Professor Keegan. "However, the Seabed Survey commenced by the Geological Survey of Ireland in 2000 represents an extraordinary first effort to understand this resource". Under funding recently received from the Higher Education Authority, Galway's Martin Ryan Institute has formed and equipped a team of young graduates to carry out complementary studies of this kind. They will look to the Marine Institute for the use of its vessels, RV Celtic Voyager and RV Explorer and to the Geological Survey for its storehouse of newly won information on the sea floor. According to Professor Keegan, the new ICOBES centre will take the obvious next step in bringing together all interested parties, and through a pooling of expertise and equipment, optimise on these new research opportunities. All interested organisations are being invited to have a representative on an ICOBES Advisory Group. In addition to the actual researchers based in the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will also provide secretariat facilities, library, database and newsletter access. It will also maintain biological reference collections, in parallel with the National Museum and the Museum and Galleries of Wales and provide important technological support and training. "This is one instance where, given that Irish expertise is pretty thin on the 'sea-floor', the more cooks the better the broth", concluded Professor Keegan. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel. 091 750418; 087-2986592

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NUI Galway appoints Director to Huston School of Film and Digital Media

NUI Galway appoints Director to Huston School of Film and Digital Media-image

Wednesday, 16 April 2003

Release date: Wednesday 16th April 2003 NUI Galway appoints Director to Huston School of Film and Digital Media NUI Galway is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Rod Stoneman to the post of Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at National University of Ireland, Galway. Mr Stoneman has been CEO of the Irish Film Board since its re-establishment ten years ago. Prior to that he was a Deputy Commissioning Editor for Channel Four television in the UK. The Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway will be launched by Angelica Huston at a Gala Banquet to be held in Los Angeles on May 2nd 2003. The school has been founded with the support of the Huston family, commemorating their long association with "St. Cleran's", John Huston's family home in Co. Galway. Additional support has been provided by Coca Cola HBC. "We are delighted to welcome the appointment of Mr Stoneman, as Director of the new Film School", said Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. "He brings wide industry experience and an international profile to this exciting and innovative project". The Huston School of Film and Digital Media has been founded with the ambition of training a new generation of filmmakers, making use of the latest digital technology. Its inaugural programme, beginning in September 2003 will be a Masters programme in Screenwriting. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer. NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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