Presentation of Historical Documents to James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway

Presentation of Historical Documents to James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway-image

Monday, 13 June 2005

An important collection of primary, unpublished documents, with other material, relating to the discussions between Irish Republican leaders and representatives of the British Government, during 1974/1975, on the subject of a settlement of the Northern Ireland problem and of Anglo-Irish relations, was presented to the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway today (3.00pm, Monday). The Papers were presented by Mr Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and following normal archival preparation, will be available for research by scholars, under normal academic and library conditions. The Papers will be a unique source for researchers intent on exploring the intentions, perspectives and political strategy of the Republican leadership at this particularly crucial interlude in the mid-1970s. Professor Robert W. White, Department of Sociology, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, who has had access to the Papers, and who is writing a study of Mr. Ó Brádaigh and the Irish Revolutionary tradition, was also present at the presentation. Ends

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NUI Galway hosts first European Summer School in Disability Law

NUI Galway hosts first European Summer School in Disability Law-image

Monday, 13 June 2005

The Law Faculty at NUI Galway, which has been closely involved in the debate concerning the legal rights of persons with disabilities in Ireland and abroad, will host the first ever European Summer School on Disability Discrimination Law from the 4th to the 15th July 2005. The Summer School has attracted major financial backing from the European Commission as part of its general campaign against disability discrimination. It will explore a new EU Directive that offers substantially enhanced legal protection for disabled Europeans who number at least 45 million. The Summer School is open to all members of the public as well as their legal advisers interested in finding out more about the new Directive as well as its potential uses for and on behalf of persons with disabilities. NUI Galway's Law Faculty includes many staff members who have had direct litigation experience before courts such as the US Supreme Court, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Highlights of the Summer School include a series of talks by Professor Peter Blanck who is a leading disability rights litigator before the US Courts and by Professor Christopher McCrudden of Oxford University. The main aim is to equip the participants with the practical skills needed to begin making use of the EU anti-discrimination law in the disability context. The Director of the Summer School, NUI Galway's Professor Gerard Quinn said: We are proud of our research track record at NUI Galway in the area of Disability Law and view this Summer School as a logical development in the area. The Summer School is designed to provide persons with disabilities from all over Europe with a unique learning opportunity to find out more about their rights at a European level and to begin exercising them more forcefully. We expect a diverse range of disabled participants from throughout Europe which will provide a huge learning opportunity in itself. The knowledge provided to the disability groups and their legal advisers should enable them to craft better legal strategies at both the European and Irish levels. A dedicated website has been set up for the Summer School and can be accessed through the Faculty of Law at NUI Galway: http://www.nuigalway.ie/law/Disability_summer_school/index.html Ends

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Galway author, Ken Bruen to speak at NUI Galway Crime Writers Conference

Galway author, Ken Bruen to speak at NUI Galway Crime Writers Conference-image

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Award-winning Galway writer, Ken Bruen is among a number of internationally acclaimed authors who will contribute to a conference on Memory in the Crime Genre, which will take place in the Information Technology Building, NUI Galway on 10th and 11th June, 2005. Ken Bruen, whose novels include The White Trilogy, 'Vixen', 'The Guards' and 'The Magdalen Martyrs', will give a public talk on his work at 6.00pm on Saturday 11 June in Room 125. Bruen, has published 11 books since leaving a career in teaching that brought him to South America, South East Asia, Africa and Japan. Crime Writer, Peter Tremayne will give a public lecture entitled "Sister Fidelma s World: Crime and Punishment in 7th Century Ireland," at 6.00pm on Friday 10th June again in Room 125. Sister Fidelma first appeared in short stories in 1993 and has gone on to enjoy critical acclaim. A Celtic scholar of note, Tremayne's other works include 'The Druids' and 'Dictionary of Celtic Mythology.' Dr Eamonn O Ciardha from the Keough Institute for Irish Studies, Notre Dame University, will open the conference with a keynote address on "The Irish Outlaw". The conference, hosted by NUI Galway's departments of French and Spanish, in association with the Centre for Irish Studies, has attracted delegates from Latin America, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to those from Britain and Ireland. Ends Information from: Kate Quinn, Dept of Spanish, NUI Galway on 091 492702 Phil Dine Dept of French, NUI Galway on 091 492391

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July 2005

Urgent need for Brain Injury Rehabilitation Services in Galway

Urgent need for Brain Injury Rehabilitation Services in Galway-image

Monday, 11 July 2005

Severe brain injury is the most serious outcome of many road traffic accidents. Having received medical treatment, it is vital for the patient to undergo an effective rehabilitation programme to ensure maximum recovery. However, as there is just one specialist rehabilitation centre in Ireland which is based in Dublin, most people have no option but to return home where they are dependent on their families for the rest of their lives. Professor Agnes Shiel of NUI Galway's Department of Occupational Therapy says that treatment facilities and a proper rehabilitation service should be available in Galway. She was speaking in advance of the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Conference 2005 at NUI Galway (11th and 12th July), where international delegates addressed issues including neuropsychological or memory rehabilitation, cognitive rehabilitation and socio-emotional functioning. Professor Shiel said: "In Ireland, specialist rehabilitation of problems such as serious brain injury is wholly inadequate. There is only one specialist rehabilitation unit and this is based in Dublin. A successful rehabilitation programme needs to be accessible both in terms of starting as soon as possible after the injury is incurred and also in terms of location – that is - it needs to be regionally based so that the person's return to their community can be facilitated. A city the size of Galway should have a dedicated brain injury rehabilitation facility. " According to Professor Shiel, the average head injury survivor is male and aged between 15 and 25 years. While the numbers with physical difficulties are small (about 10% of the total), the vast majority have ongoing problems with memory, concentration, planning and paying attention. These difficulties mean that they may be unable to lead independent lives, work in open employment and resume their lives as before. Many return home and are dependent on their families for the rest of their lives. These problems are also experienced by people who incur brain injury from other causes, such as stroke, brain haemorrhage and tumours. This is creating a significant population of people living with ongoing severe difficulties. While people with brain injury may access local Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Neuropsychology services, these services are already stretched to capacity. It is estimated that there are approximately 150 people per 100,000 in the UK who have ongoing difficulties as a result of brain injury. Professor Shiel says that accurate figures for the Irish population are not available but are possibly higher because of the higher number of road traffic accidents. However, survival rates after head injury are increasing she says. This is mainly due to car safety features such as airbags, improvement in acute and intensive care and advances in pharmacological treatment of secondary complications. "However, the increased survival rates mean that there is an ever-increasing population of people who survive with significant and debilitating problems. Many survivors of head injury never access a rehabilitation programme and cope as best they can with the help of family and friends." Among those addressing the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Conference in NUI Galway was Professor Barbara Wilson OBE from Cambridge who helped establish one of the first centres in the UK for memory rehabilitation. Professor Skye McDonald from Sydney discussed emotional difficulties experienced by people suffering from brain injury who are unable to respond to non-verbal communication, while Professor Nadina Lincoln from the University of Nottingham compared different types of rehabilitation pointing out the most effective. Ends

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NUI Galway History Professor elected by British Academy

NUI Galway History Professor elected by British Academy-image

Monday, 11 July 2005

Nicholas Canny, Professor of History and Academic Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change at NUI Galway, has been accorded the exceptional accolade of being elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy at the annual meeting of the Academy on 7 July 2005. According to the Academy, this is the 'highest honour that the Academy is able to confer in recognition of scholarly distinction'. It is awarded each year to only seven scholars from all subjects in the humanities who may be chosen from any country in the world except the United Kingdom. Professor Canny is only the second living scholar resident in the Republic of Ireland who has been honoured in this way. In the citation recommending Professor Canny for election, reference was made first to his consistent record of scholarly publications spanning thirty years and including two prize winning books, the most recent Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford University Press, 2001); and The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland, (Harvester Press, 1976); then to his outstanding career as a teacher of History at undergraduate and post-graduate levels; and finally to his leadership role in promoting multi-disciplinary research in the Humanities in Ireland and abroad. Particular mention was made of his leadership role at NUI Galway that led to the establishment of the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change. This Centre, created by the Higher Education Authority under its Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions has recently completed its first major research programme to the highest international standard. The Centre facilitates multi-disciplinary and co-operative research on topics related to the histories of human migration, settlement and cultural change. The Centre has forged strong collaborative links with other national and international institutions, including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies Zagreb, Croatia and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala. Congratulating Professor Canny on his success, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "This is a great honour for an outstanding historian. Through his own research and the leadership he has shown in the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change, Professor Canny has demonstrated the highest standards of scholarship and academic excellence we are so proud to have at NUI Galway." Ends

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NUI Galway's success at Henley Royal Regatta

NUI Galway's success at Henley Royal Regatta-image

Friday, 8 July 2005

This year two NUI Galway crews made the final of Henley Royal Regatta. The crew of John Forde, Marc Stevens, Paul Giblin and Dave Mannion raced in the Visitors Challenge Cup. They easily qualified for the quarter final, but encountered stiff opposition from Molsey Rowing Club in the semi-final. Having defeated Molsey, NUI Galway progressed to the final against a strong Oxford Brookes crew stroked by an Irish man, Derek Holland. The final took place on Sunday in front of a packed stadium. NUI Galway stormed into a strong lead which they maintained throughout the race, winning the coveted Visitors Challenge Cup. A very young and inexperienced crew of James Wall, Steve Keyes, Paul Murray and Evin Donelly raced in the Student Coxed Fours Challenge Cup. They were led by Ruadhan Cooke who coxed several Henley and Irish Championship winning crews. The most exciting race of the event and arguably the regatta was their semi final against tipped favourites, Imperial College London and Goldsmith College. The Imperial crew had a very strong first half, taking up a length lead. The NUI Galway students fought back and in a sprint for the line won by an official verdict of one foot. However, in the final, the Galway crew was pipped at the line by Durham University, who on the way to winning the event, broke all the course records. Ends

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International Feminist Conference at NUI Galway

International Feminist Conference at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 1 July 2005

An international conference on Feminisms Within and Without,' organised by the Women's Studies Centre at NUI Galway, will take place from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th July 2005 in the Arts Millennium Building. Many of the papers to be presented reflect debates central to contemporary feminist politics and Women's Studies, such as the distinction between education and activism, and theory and practice, as well as the many and varied feminist frameworks within which women's work – paid and unpaid – can be analysed. Delegates from Ireland, Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will present papers on many different areas of the social, political, academic and creative aspects of Women's, Feminist and Gender Studies. The conference provides an opportunity to bring together experts in these fields, as well as from related disciplines, to exchange ideas and information. The international thrust of the conference is reflected in the extensive range of papers being presented, which include "The evolution of Spanish Feminism", "A Critical Look at New Zealand's Gender-based Art Environment," and "The Sufism of Ibn' Arabi." The Irish dimension includes papers on "Republican Women TDs in Early Twentieth Century Ireland," and "Fetal Imaging and the Creation of Knowledge." There are also papers on topics such as ethics in medicine/nursing, feminist child-rearing, and masculinity studies. An opening plenary panel, made up of Ailbhe Smyth (Ireland), Katharine Side (Canada) and Sandra Krajewski (USA) will address various aspects of feminist politics in Ireland and beyond. Guest speaker for the conference is film director, Mystelle Barbée, whose film 'Highway Courtesans' will be shown as part of the conference, in conjunction with the Galway Film Fleadh. The conference will also include a sean-nós performance workshop, and a feminist writing for performance workshop. Sessional fees are available for half- or full-day attendance. Details of the programme and conference events are available on www.conference.ie Ends

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August 2005

Ireland's first national Centre for High End Computing announced

Ireland's first national Centre for High End Computing announced-image

Wednesday, 31 August 2005

- New €2.6 million centre will give Ireland a supercomputing capability- Researchers at eight Irish third level institutes today (August 29th 2005) announced that Ireland's first supercomputing centre – the Irish Centre for High End Computing, (ICHEC) will commence operation on Thursday, 1st September 2005. The centre, which will deliver a national research infrastructure, has been funded through a €2.6 million Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) grant, a €0.7M equipment loan from the HEA PRTLI funded CosmoGrid programme and an equipment loan of €1.2M from TCD's HEA PRTLI funded IITAC programme. When completed, ICHEC, will address the growing need for computational resources to assist Irish researchers in their work in disciplines as diverse as medical device simulation, marine modelling, bio-informatics, drug discovery, astrophysics and computational chemistry. High End Computing, also known as 'super computing', uses the most advanced aspects of modern computer science to produce supercomputers capable of many trillions of calculations per second. With this power many physical problems can be simulated on the computer – in silica. For example it is possible in silica to determine how a surgical implant such as a stent will fatigue during its lifetime. Doing this on a computer has clear benefits over measuring the fatigue after it has been put into a patient. The development of the centre is the first of a three-phase project with the objective of ensuring that Ireland is a leader in high end computing on a per capita basis by 2010. It is expected that the centre will be a major power house for the knowledge based economy, benefiting Universities, SMEs – through its technology transfer work – and multi nationals. Commenting on the importance of the project, Dr Andrew Shearer, Dept of Information Technology, NUI Galway and Director of ICHEC said, "Ireland's ability to compete for international science projects has been hindered by the lack of computational resources, with no machines in the country making the world's Top 500 Supercomputers list. This centre will transform computational science in Ireland, creating facilities, which will be on a par with those in the rest of Europe. "Computational science is one of the few areas where Ireland can contribute to 'big' science projects. In the future, we intend that Ireland will be a Centre of Excellence in High End Computing. The ICHEC will also be of immense importance in economic terms, by keeping Ireland competitive and attracting high tech industries to the country. As high end computing can answer almost any question that a researcher in academia or industry would want to ask, the benefits of the ICHEC are endless," he says. Prof. Luke Drury, Director of CosmoGrid said "The CosmoGrid project is delighted to be part of this exciting development which will significantly enhance our ability to deliver grid-enabled computation as a tool for Irish researchers." As well as aiding Irish academic research another important aspect of the new centre will be its role in embedding advanced computing methodology into Irish research and through spin off and collaboration, to transfer advanced computing technology and expertise to the Irish economy. The Irish Centre for High End Computing involves eight partner institutions; NUI Galway, Trinity College, Dublin, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), UCD, UCC, NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University and the Tyndall Institute. ICHEC will also have an industrial outreach programme working with those researchers and industries that do not normally have an interest in super computing. In addition, an outreach programme will be developed to encourage second-level students to develop an interest in computational science. Ends

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NUI Galway hosts major Health Psychology conference

NUI Galway hosts major Health Psychology conference-image

Monday, 29 August 2005

A major international conference entitled "Enhancing Individual, Family and Community Health" will be held in NUI Galway from the 31st August to 3rd September 2005. The European Health Psychology Conference 2005, which will be attended by 620 delegates from 34 countries, brings together a range of academics, healthcare professionals and organisational psychologists who will present cutting edge research on a wide variety of topics, which are impacting health and the quality of family life in society. The diverse range of topics to be discussed include the stress of illness; sexual health; perceptions, attitudes and the experience of aging; quality of life following childhood illness; coping with cancer and chronic pain; influences of exercise and physical activity; and public attitudes towards advances in genetic technology. Professor Shelley Taylor, UCLA will deliver a keynote address on Wednesday on 'Why people tend and befriend under stress', which will address the importance and source of social support for those suffering illness or stress. For many people suffering severe stress or trauma, expressing their feelings through writing has proved both therapeutic and life-enhancing. Professor James Pennebaker, University of Texas, who has carried out extensive research in this field, will deliver a keynote address on Thursday, entitled ''Two decades of expressive writing and health.' Commenting on the conference Professor Ruth Curtis, Conference President and member of Dept of Psychology, NUI Galway, said, "We are very honoured to host this prestigious conference, which recognises the outstanding contribution that the Department of Psychology at NUI Galway has made to health psychology in Ireland. "This conference brings together many of the leaders in this field and recognises the importance of health psychology in helping us to explore and understand how we cope with and manage the impact that an ever changing society is having on people's lives. "We have a duty to ensure that policy makers understand the important role that health psychology plays in preparing strategies for the development of health services in Ireland. It is vital that the Government recognises this important role in the future and provides funded training places to enable graduates to specialise in health psychology." Health psychology can play an important role in significant health promotion initiatives such as the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland. NUI Galway was the first university in Ireland to introduce a professional training programme in Health Psychology. -ends-

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Lifting the lid on the amazing nocturnal activities of bats

Lifting the lid on the amazing nocturnal activities of bats-image

Monday, 22 August 2005

The amazing diversity of bats, of which there are 10 species native to Ireland, is the focus of a week-long conference at NUI Galway (22nd – 26th August). Over 200 scientists from 40 countries are attending the 10th European Bat Research Symposium where they will dispel myths regarding the blindness of these nocturnal creatures and explain the important role bats play in agriculture. NUI Galway's long involvement in bat research, first initiated by Professor James Fairley in the early 1980s, led to the University being chosen as the venue for the conference's first visit to Ireland. A keynote address delivered by Professor Thomas Kunz, Professor of Biology at Boston University, will focus on the role bats play in controlling agricultural pests. For example, the local bat population of the Brazilian Free Tailed Bat species in south central Texas may exceed 100 million each night. These bats disperse over varied landscapes to feed on flying insects. Some of their prey includes crop pests such as the corn earworm and the cotton hole worm. Dr James Dunne of NUI Galway's Department of Zoology explained how beneficial the creatures are in controlling Ireland's insect population. "The small bat seen first at dusk, weaving around and over trees is the Pipistrelle. This is the most common bat in Ireland and feeds mainly on midges, mosquitoes, caddis flies and crane flies. A pipistrelle may eat 3,000 small insects in a single night. A roost of 100 can account for the annihilation of many millions of harmful insects over a summer," he said. Dr Dunne also put paid to some of the more popular misconceptions about the common bat. "Despite several myths, bats are not blind, they do not entangle themselves in people's hair and the species native to Ireland, do not spread disease." Other areas to be explored throughout the week-long symposium include research which sheds light on the eating habits of bats. Although the vast majority of bats feed on insects, research by scientists in the Basque region has shown that the long-fingered bat is capable of also feeding on free swimming fish by plunging onto the water surface and grasping them with their hind feet. The Lesser Horseshoe Bat is one of Europe's rarer species and is the subject of a number of papers to be delivered at the conference. Sinead Biggane, a researcher with the Department of Zoology at NUI Galway, has been part of a team who have been studying a maternity roost in County Clare for many years. Using radio transmitters, Sinead tracked individual bats to determine their main feeding areas and pattern of feeding. She shows that the bats use mixed woodland, riparian woodland and associated habitats for foraging. They use hedgerows and stone walls to commute to their feeding areas and will not cover large open spaces. This research has important implications for the conservation of bats. The economic boom throughout Europe has resulted in the destruction of many bat inhabited old buildings. The conference will include a special workshop which will deal with the problems associated with this growing trend and also the legal obligations under European law to protect bats and their habitats will be discussed.

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