European Commissioner to Officially Open Sea2Sky

European Commissioner to Officially Open Sea2Sky-image

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, will officially open the Irish segment of European Researchers Night. The event takes place on Friday, 23 September, across 800 venues in 320 cities. In Ireland, festivities take place in Galway through a celebration called Sea2Sky, organised by NUI Galway. The purpose of Sea2Sky, is to give the public free access to scientists and their research. Organisers at NUI Galway have planned a one-day celebration of science and research in the fields of Marine, Atmospherics and Astronomy. Events will take place in Leisureland, Galway Atlantaquria and along the Prom in Salthill. While school visits will take place throughout the day, at 3pm Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will officially open the evening event, to coincide with events starting right across Europe. Chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, says “As European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and a Galway-native, it is a very significant occasion that Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn is officially opening this European-wide event. It is an exciting and important time to celebrate Ireland’s reputation and involvement in research.” At Sea2Sky, visitors of all ages will be able to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations and to exchange ideas with the researchers. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about whales and dolphins, take a 3D tour of the universe, tour the Galway Atlantaquaria, check-out scientific demonstrations, and take part in a variety of other hands-on activities. The event will also feature music and entertainment for younger and older visitors. NUI Galway’s President, Dr James J. Browne, will also attend the official opening: “It is an honour to have someone as distinguished in European research circles as Máire Geoghegan-Quinn open our event. There is significant European funding of research projects at NUI Galway, reflecting our growing international research reputation.” The Sea2Sky event is being organised by NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and is funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and by Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free family event and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill, from 11am-11pm.  To view the full programme, or for more information, visit www.sea2sky.ie -ENDS-

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Bank of Ireland MEDTECH Accelerator Fund Leads €1.6m Investment in neoSurgical Ltd

Bank of Ireland MEDTECH Accelerator Fund Leads €1.6m Investment in neoSurgical Ltd-image

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today announced a €1.6m investment in neoSurgical Ltd led by Kernel Capital.  The syndicated investment comprises of a €500k investment by the Bank of Ireland MedTech Accelerator Fund, with the remainder of the funds provided by Enterprise Ireland and a number of private investors including experienced promoters from the Irish Med Tech industry.   “neoSurgical is an excellent start-up, we are impressed with their cohesive team, whom previously held senior executive positions in Johnson and Johnson Ireland. neoSurgical has developed a strong patent family, excellent product roadmap and the team has vast global experience in selling medical device products,” said Dawn Guiney, Kernel Capital. neoSurgical working in collaboration with practicing surgeons is committed to developing and delivering innovative products that enable simpler, safer and more efficient laparoscopic abdominal surgery for better patient outcomes.  The company's lead product neoClose* offers a new, superior method of closing laparoscopic wounds that can reduce or prevent herniation complications while giving hospitals the opportunity to realise significant cost savings. Laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery within the abdomen involves ‘keyhole’ incisions some of which may require closure.  Ineffective closure can lead to an operative complication called a hernia, the complication rate of which is published to be in up to 3.1% and can be significantly higher in obese patients. In the US it has been estimated to cost the healthcare system in excess of $20,000 per patient to repair the hernia. Commenting on the announcement, Dr. James J. Browne, President of National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) which is an investor in Kernel Capital said: “NUI Galway recognises the importance of translating research into innovative products. I am delighted that the MedTech Accelerator Fund, in which NUI Galway is a partner, is investing in neoSurgical Ltd. I wish neoSurgical every success.” Donal Duffy, Head of Enterprise Ireland Relations, Bank of Ireland said: “Bank of Ireland is very pleased to add neoSurgical Ltd to the list of companies supported through the Bank of Ireland MedTech Accelerator Fund managed by Kernel Capital. This funding will enable the company develop and deliver innovative market leading products and take their place in the global med tech market.” Welcoming the announcement, Seamus Bree, Director for West Region at Enterprise Ireland, said: “We have no hesitation in co-investing in NeoSurgical. This cutting-edge company, although fairly new, is a very innovative and growing player in the prospering medical devices sector. NeoSurgical’s commitment to research and development is impressive and leaves no doubt that this Galway-based company has great potential to internationalise their business.” Barry Russell, CEO, Neosurgical Limited added: “The neoSurgical team is proud to have reached this significant funding milestone and in particular to have secured Kernel Capital as an investor with their great knowledge of our sector and strong validation of our technical and commercial roadmap. This investment will enable us to complete our device development and take our place in the global med tech market.  neoClose* is the first in a portfolio of medical device projects that neoSurgical plan to develop to market in the coming years with the associated positive spin off to the Irish economy in terms of high value jobs and exports.”-ENDS-

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Private Health Insurance has Major Impact on Cancer Screening Uptake

Private Health Insurance has Major Impact on Cancer Screening Uptake-image

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Health Research Board (HRB) funded study carried out by the J. E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has found that there are significant differences in cancer screening uptake across income groups, and that the main determinant of this difference for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer screening was the possession of private medical insurance.   According to Brendan Walsh, a HRB/ National Cancer Institute Fellow in Health Economics at NUI Galway: “Our research demonstrates both inequality in the uptake of cancer screening in Ireland, and the role that private health insurance plays in contributing to this.   We examined data on 10,364 adults from the SLÁN 2007 study (Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland) and focused our analysis on the uptake of breast, prostate, colorectal and cervical cancer screening in the previous 12 months.  Through a process called decomposition analysis we were able to unpack the variables that contribute to the levels of inequality that we observed.  Decomposition analysis allows you to establish and rate the importance of particular components which contribute to the overall inequality.  The results of this permit a clearer identification of possible policy actions which can then be taken to help reduce the level of inequality.   The research found that there was a clear link between income and better uptake of screening programmes.  Typically for the four cancers mentioned there was a 10 percentage point difference in uptake rates between the highest socioeconomic group and the lowest.  However for three of those cancers, breast, colorectal and prostrate, medical insurance was the largest factor contributing to the inequality.”   According to Professor Ciaran O’Neill of the J. E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, a co-author on the paper (along with Dr Mary Silles): “When you have a complex healthcare system as in Ireland, with a mix of public and private services, if people feel that they can access other parts of the service faster because they have private insurance, then they seem more likely to avail of screening services.  Our research seems to indicate that just because you have a publicly funded cancer screening programme, it doesn’t mean that you will see equal uptake of screening services or the end of differences in morbidity or mortality associated with cancer.  Because screening is just the start of a process in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, the journey should be viewed as a whole and no one part in isolation. Individuals may be more likely to go for screening if they think insurance will afford them faster access to diagnostic or treatment services. Hence publicly funded screening programmes on their own may not eradicate differential health outcomes across income groups.  This finding has major implications for health policy.   The research also highlighted the importance of marital status in several of the cancers. Greater uptake was evident among those who were married than those who were not in the case of prostate, colorectal and cervical screening, perhaps reflecting the value of pester power.”   According to Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board; “These are very important findings which have the potential to help address health inequalities, here and abroad. It is a clear illustration of the role for research to inform policy for the betterment of society as a whole.”   The full research paper is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hec.1784/full   Ends

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NUI Galway Announce Details of Open Days

NUI Galway Announce Details of Open Days-image

Monday, 19 September 2011

NUI Galway will hold their annual Open Days on Friday, 30 September and Saturday, 1 October. The Open Days will provide an opportunity for prospective students to talk to NUI Galway students and staff, explore the campus and its facilities, and find out more about courses of interest. Friday's Open Day, on 30 September, will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, although individuals are also very welcome to attend. Running from 10am to 3pm, Saturday's Open Day on 1 October is for students thinking about university and their parents and families.   The Open Days are expected to attract some 8,000 visitors and are tailored towards Leaving Certificate and mature students who are interested in studying at NUI Galway. Parents, guardians and teachers are also invited on campus to sample life at university.   With over 60 degree programmes on offer at NUI Galway, lecturers and students will be on hand at more than 80 exhibition stands to answer questions on courses, CAO points and possible potential career paths. Many of the newer courses at the University have been designed to be responsive to the changing needs of the employment market and meet the needs of the Smart Economy.   Two talks specifically for parents, ‘Focus on your Career’ and ‘Parents’ Guide to University’ on Saturday, will give an introduction to university life and an overview of the career paths of NUI Galway graduates, as well as looking ahead to the job market of the future.   The Open Days will feature a mix of taster sessions and short lectures to provide a feel for university life. Events will include hands-on science workshops, interactive demonstrations with cameras, media equipment and podcasts and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics.   Commenting on the importance of the NUI Galway Open Days, Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications, says:"Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make. Parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you".   During the Open Days, tours of the campus will allow prospective students to visit the new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland; state-of the-art sports complex and gym, home to 45 student sports clubs; and Áras na Mac Léinn, the base for over 100 student societies. Tours of the University library and student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day.   For further details on NUI Galway Open Days, or to view the full programme, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/.   -ENDS-

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Culture Night 2011 at NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library

Culture Night 2011 at NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library-image

Monday, 19 September 2011

For Culture Night 2011, which takes place on Friday, 23 September, the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway will be opening up its unique literary, theatre and landed estates archives. Marking the first involvement of NUI Galway Archives and Special Collections in Culture Night, the Library has announced a programme that will allow the public share these archival collections. The programme of events will begin at 7pm when Special Collections Librarian, Marie Boran and Archivist Brigid Clesham, will talk about their new project, The Irish Landed Estates Database. This is an invaluable resource for those interested in tracing their family history or looking at the history of the landed estates of Ireland. At 8pm, Fergus Fahy, Institutional Repository and Digitisation Librarian, will discuss the personal archive of writer John McGahern. Having catalogued the McGahern Archive, he will deliver a detailed and insightful overview of this wonderful collection of hand-written novels, drafts, stories and correspondence, created over a lifetime’s work by one of Ireland’s most celebrated and intriguing writers. The evening will be topped off at 9pm by screenings from the award-winning DruidSynge series. The screenings will include Riders to the Sea and The Shadow of the Glen by playwright J.M. Synge. John Cox, University Librarian, comments: “Culture Night offers a great opportunity to engage a wider audience with the Library’s archives and special collections, and the events planned will provide fascinating insights into their significance.” All events are taking place in the Patrick Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway, next to the James Hardiman Library. A free shuttle bus service will be available on the night to bring guests to and from Culture Night venues. For more information and updates on the NUI Galway Archives and Special Collections programme for Culture Night, contact barry.houlihan@nuigalway.ie, follow on Twitter: @nuigarchives, Theatre Archives blog http://nuigarchives.blogspot.com/ or go to our homepage http://www.library.nuigalway.ie/. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Celebrate Volunteering with Tenth Annual Fair

NUI Galway Celebrate Volunteering with Tenth Annual Fair-image

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Coinciding with the European Year of Volunteering 2011, the tenth annual NUI Galway Volunteering Fair will take place on Tuesday, 27 September, in the Bailey Allen Hall from 1-5pm. With over 2,000 students, staff and members of the general public expected to attend, the Fair will be officially opened by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton. Over 80 charities and community organisations will showcase the wide range of volunteer opportunities. The Fair is part of a week-long celebration of volunteering at NUI Galway, the culmination of which will coincide with the National Day of Volunteering on Friday, 1 October.  The Galway Community Circus will be performing and welcoming attendees on stilts.Lorraine Tansey is the Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, “We are really looking forward to celebrating community life as not only is this the European Year of Volunteering 2011, but also this is our tenth year at NUI Galway promoting volunteering, active citizenship and engagement.” “Students are actively seeking volunteering prospects with homework clubs in local schools, fundraising for national charities, befriending people with a disability, or volunteering abroad. Students benefit enormously from getting involved and gain valuable experience, while bringing energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.”Exhibitors at the Volunteering Fair will include: Youth Work Ireland, Gorta, Galway; One World Centre; ISPCC; Galway Samaritans; IWA and the European Voluntary Service. Lorraine Tansey added: “We are delighted to not only welcome community organisations to highlight their work and opportunities for volunteers, but also to welcome members of the public onto campus.”Through NUI Galway’s volunteer programme, ALIVE, students can access an online database of volunteer opportunities. The programme also includes a series of workshops to help students make the most of their volunteering experience. At the end of the academic year students can apply for an ALIVE Certificate which is awarded by NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, at a special ceremony in recognition of their commitment to volunteering. To book a stand, or for further information, please contact the ALIVE office on 091 493823 or email alive@nuigalway.ie.   -ENDS-

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Programme Revealed for ‘Sea2Sky’ European Research Event

Programme Revealed for ‘Sea2Sky’ European Research Event-image

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The programme for Ireland’s participation in European Researchers Night, which takes place on 23 September, was officially launched today. Showcasing science on a grand scale, the Irish event, Sea2Sky, takes place in Salthill, Galway. In total, 800 venues across 320 cities in Europe will celebrate this momentous occasion. Sea2Sky is a free, family-oriented event at which hundreds of scientists will showcase their work in the fields of Marine, Atmospherics and Astronomy. The event will also feature music and entertainment for younger and older visitors. Sea2Sky is being organised by NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria.  Exhibits throughout the day will allow the public to learn more about whales and dolphins, take a 3D tour of the universe, tour the Galway Atlantaquaria, check-out scientific demonstrations, and take part in a variety of other hands-on activities. Scientists will be on hand in the main exhibition hall in Leisureland where stands will display areas of science from energy research and marine life to the study of the solar system. Visitors will have a chance to explore the mini-sea exploration vehicle which was used by scientists in the recent discovery of hydrovents deep in the Atlantic.  Chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, says “This is a very unique opportunity for the public to participate in experiments and demonstrations. The jam-packed programme offers something for people of all ages, and gives children and adults alike the chance to be a scientist for one day.” Doors to the Galway Atlantaquaria will be open throughout the day, allowing visitors to explore Ireland’s largest splash tank and huge Ray Pool. They will also be able to see the 60 foot long Fin Whale skeleton and get their hands wet in the Touch Pool where experts will help the curious and brave to handle real starfish and crabs. Representatives from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group will also be present to discuss their work. The walk between the two venues, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, will see amateur astronomers and their telescopes stationed along Salthill’s famous Promenade affording amazing views of the night sky after dark. Local artists will add a theatrical flair during the day as Cups and Crowns Theatre perform ‘Lenny the Water Daughter’, Rab Swannock Fulton will weave tales for young and old with his dramatic storytelling skills, and puppeteer extraordinaire Tommy Baker will put on a show with ‘The Ecological Brothers’. In the evening adult can participate in a special storytelling session. Also for adults is the opportunity to share their thoughts and learn from experts in the Cafe Scientifique ‘What’s in your Water?’ led by NUI Galway’s Professor Martin Cormican and hosted by renowned broadcaster Leo Enright. After night fall on the beach there will be a dramatic fire show before returning to the main hall for a musical finale to end the event. Organisers are looking for 70 volunteers to help out on the day to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations and to exchange ideas with the researchers. A science background is not needed to volunteer as information and training will be given in advance of the event. To sign up for volunteering visit www.sea2sky.ie The Sea2Sky event is funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and by Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free family event and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill, from 11am-11pm.  To view the full programme, or for more information, visit www.sea2sky.ie.   -ENDS-

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Comparative Genomics Subject of Scientific Meeting at NUI Galway

Comparative Genomics Subject of Scientific Meeting at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

NUI Galway will host the ninth annual RECOMB (Research in Computational Molecular Biology) Satellite Workshop on Comparative Genomics from 8 to 10 October. The workshop is part of the prestigious RECOMB series of meetings and usually alternates between a North American and European location, but this is the first time that the meeting will take place in Galway. The workshop will bring mathematicians and computer scientists together with biologists to share ideas and approaches for the comparison of genomes. The objective of the meeting is to achieve a greater understanding of genomics and genome evolution by comparing the genome sequences of different species. This provides a rich source of information and a valuable perspective on how genomes function. Keynote speakers for the conference will include: Professor Ed Green, UC Santa Cruz, USA; Professor Kateryna Makova, Penn State University, USA; Professor Julian Parkhill, Sanger Institute, UK; Professor Nicolaus Rajewsky, Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany; and Dr Chris Greenman, Sanger Institute, UK. Professor Green was a leading contributor to the Neanderthal genome sequencing project, the results of which were published in Science in 2010. Analysis of the Neanderthal genome revealed that non-African humans interbred with Neanderthals and that consequently humans outside of Africa share some of their DNA with Neanderthals. Conference organiser, Professor Cathal Seoighe from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “The life sciences have recently moved from the genome era to the era of many genomes. Massive advances in DNA sequencing technologies mean that the genomes of many human individuals and representatives from many different species are now available. This brings the era of personalised genomics closer and offers great opportunities to understand the basis of genome function and genetic diseases and phenotypes.” The RECOMB Conference Series bridges the areas of computational, mathematical, and biological sciences. Founded in 1997, the series provides a scientific forum for theoretical advances in computational biology and their applications in molecular biology and medicine. The conference features keynote talks by preeminent scientists in the life sciences, together with presentations of refereed research papers in computational biology. Delegates can register right up to the date of the event (8-10 October). Posters and late-breaker oral presentations may still be submitted until Tuesday, 20 September. More information is available from the website, www.recombcg.org.   -ENDS-

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Minister Launches Innovative Organisation Getting the Unemployed Back to Work

Minister Launches Innovative Organisation Getting the Unemployed Back to Work -image

Friday, 9 September 2011

WIN bucks trends in assisting one third of participants reengage in workplace Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., today [Friday, 9 September] launched WIN – West of Ireland Networking (WIN); the training, mentoring and networking forum for unemployed professionals and entrepreneurs at the Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. WIN, based in the West, is a unique volunteer organisation that plays a substantial role in getting unemployed participants back into the work place while providing further supports to those seeking to start their own business or is already running a small enterprise. Speaking at the launch, Minister Bruton said: “Jobs are at the very top of this government’s agenda, and I am determined to do everything possible to achieve the job-creation we so badly need. Government does not create jobs, people and businesses do, and the role of government is to support an environment in which job-creating entrepreneurs and businesses can flourish. “WIN - West of Ireland Networking is an excellent example of what people and communities can do to help people get back to work and to help entrepreneurs start the successful businesses we so badly need. The get-up-and-go, self-help spirit embodied by this organisation is exactly what we need to help turn our fortunes around, and I am delighted to see it is alive and well. I am determined that government will keep its side of the bargain and do everything it can to get people back to work”. With unemployment at 14.4%, WIN is bucking current trends, assisting one third of participants reengage in the workforce. WIN’s success is based on its innovative approach to helping the unemployed through consistent and regular supports including: bi-weekly group networking sessions including relevant and flexible training programmes; one to one mentoring, building confidence and self esteem of participants. A recent survey sampling 106 participants of WIN indicated the impact of the organisation with 34% reengaging in the workplace; 14% actively interviewing; 28% working on potential business start-up; and 24% new participants. CEO and Founder of WIN, Caroline McDonagh: “We at WIN are very excited about the contribution we have made to getting people back to work and supporting start up enterprises. WIN is a lean organisation working with minimum resources with a strong commitment to value and committed to addressing previously unmet needs. To date there has been a lack of support, training and services for the ‘unexpected unemployed’ or the ‘new unemployed’ in Ireland and WIN has successfully filled this gap. WIN recognises that if these skills are lost to Ireland, they could be gone forever. WIN is the necessary vehicle to ensure that these skills are retained and enhanced and used to drive and grow our economy.” President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: “I am delighted to host the formal launch of WIN on our campus. The spirit of partnership, volunteerism and enterprise embodied by this unique, innovative volunteer organisation is exactly what Ireland needs more of at this time. We at NUI Galway are pleased to support WIN’s objectives of training, mentoring and networking for unemployed work seekers, entrepreneurs and small enterprise owners. Our support is an example of how the University partners with local organisations to ensure that we meet the legitimate demands of all the stakeholders in our region.” WIN Board Members include: Seamus Bree, Director, Western Region, Enterprise Ireland; Breda Fox, CEO, Galway County and City Enterprise Board; P.J. O’Reilly, Regional Manager Technology Transfer and R&D, Enterprise Ireland; Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of School, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway; John Liddy, St Vincent De Paul; Caroline McDonagh, CEO, WIN – West of Ireland Networking; Majella Connelly, Financial Consultant, Hennelly Insurance; Gert O’Rourke, Owner, Gert O'Rourke Training and Development; and Ralph Smith, Managing Director, Do My Books. WIN is assisted by the Maureen O’Connell Fund of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. ENDS

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NUI Galway Alumni All-Ireland Final Golf Outing

NUI Galway Alumni All-Ireland Final Golf Outing-image

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The annual NUI Galway Alumni Association Golf Outing will take place at Mullingar Golf Club on Friday, 16 September. An opportunity to meet up with fellow NUI Galway graduates, old and new, attendees will also be in with a chance of winning two tickets to the All-Ireland Football Final. Renowned sculptor, and NUI Galway graduate, John Coll has donated a new perpetual trophy for the winner of the golfing competition. Event Organiser, RTÉ Presenter and NUI Galway graduate, Seán O’Rourke, says: “This year we’re delighted to announce our new perpetual trophy, created by graduate John Coll, one of the country’s most renowned sculptors. We are also delighted to offer our golfing guests the opportunity to win two stand tickets for the much anticipated All-Ireland Football Final. It promises to be a wonderful outing and we hope as many alumni and friends as possible join us in Mullingar.” The entry fee of €55 includes green fees, prizes and dinner that evening. Bookings and further details available from NUI Galway Alumni Office on 091 493750 or online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends   ENDS

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