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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May 2003

NUI Galway Scientist wins Optical Society of America award

NUI Galway Scientist wins Optical Society of America award-image

Monday, 26 May 2003

NUI Galway Scientist wins Optical Society of America award The Optical Society of America (OSA) has announced that the recipient of its C. E. K. Mees Medal 2003 is Professor Christopher Dainty, of NUI Galway. The award recognizes his achievements in the field of Optics. The C. E. K. Mees Medal was established in 1961 in memory of C. E. K. Mees,who contributed much to the development of scientific photography, and acknowledges a recipient who exemplifies the thought that optics transcends all boundaries, interdisciplinary and international. Chris Dainty was chosen as the 2003 recipient for his contributions to the understanding and application of speckle phenomena and for leadership in the international optics community. Professor Dainty is Science Foundation Ireland Professor of Experimental Physics at NUI Galway and is President of the European Optical Society. His research has spanned a wide variety of topics in optical imaging, propagation and scattering. His early work focused on laser speckle and astronomical speckle interferometry. However, by the early 1980s, he became interested in measurement of atmospherically induced scintillation and phase fluctuations, as well as enhanced backscattering from rough surfaces. More recently, he has been involved in low-cost adaptive optics and its applications, and in the optics of the eye. His advanced research uses novel electronics, computer power and light-sensing devices to improve our view of the world. Known as "adaptive optics", the approach is already being used to enhance the images captured by earth-based telescopes. Adaptive optics is a technology developed by astronomers to compensate for the deleterious effects of atmospheric turbulence in astronomical imaging. Dainty is applying adaptive optics to the human eye, primarily to produce very high-resolution images of the retina in vivo. Reversing the optical system could provide "super-vision" that would enable people to see better than "20/20". In the same way that applied optics can clean up a telescope image, Dainty is using the technique to get a clearer view of the back of the retina. A cleaner image of retinal cells can help diagnose disease, but also opens the possibility of sharper vision, he says. Other applications include "line-of-sight" cable-free optical communication links that operate in all weathers, more powerful microscopes and CDs with greatly increased storage capacity. Dainty's research programme also includes basic and applied studies in the fields of smart optics, light scattering and propagation through random media. Smart optical systems are ones where both the optical elements and the detector are programmable, allowing complex tasks to be performed with potentially very low cost devices: consumer digital cameras are one product area that could benefit from smart optics. On a related theme, Professor Dainty is also coordinating an EU Research Training Network, "SHARP-EYE" from his base in NUI Galway. Ends

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SFI awards major Research Centre to NUI Galway

SFI awards major Research Centre to NUI Galway-image

Friday, 23 May 2003

Release date: 23rd May 2003 SFI awards major Research Centre to NUI Galway Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced major funding for three new Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs) at NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons and UCC. The three successful centres received their awards against competition from 23 other applicants. The new Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway will receive €12m from SFI over the next five years (with a review for further funding after two years), with significant resource investment being contributed by Hewlett-Packard s European Software Centre in Galway. DERI will conduct basic and applied research on the Semantic Web and Semantic Web-enabled Web Services, and on the innovative implications of this emerging technology for industry and society. The importance of this research to business and the public alike is evidenced by the already enormous use of the Web as a tool for communication, accessing and distributing information and conducting business. Traditional Web technology has stimulated the development of entirely new methods of accessing markets, distributing product information and connecting dispersed commercial partners. However, the success of the Web has made it increasingly difficulty to find, sort, present and maintain the information distributed globally. Fortunately, the Semantic Web provides a way of handling this explosion of information and DERI will be at the forefront of this step into the second generation of Web technology. Conceived by the architects of the original web, the Semantic Web is still in its infancy, but when fully developed it will enable computers to talk meaningfully to each other. The new Institute will be directed by Prof. Dieter Fensel, a leading figure in Semantic Web research world-wide, and co-directed by a leading industrial researcher, who brings significant experience to DERI from the US. Prof. Fensel plans to build the number of research staff in DERI to over 60 post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers by 2008. DERI will be a rich collaboration between NUI Galway researchers from the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Research Unit, the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, the Departments of Information Technology and Electronic Engineering and key industrial researchers from HP's European Software Centre in Galway. In addition, DERI will attract world-class researchers from around the globe. While DERI will be based on the NUI Galway campus it will also have a laboratory at the HP European Software Centre, allowing easy physical and intellectual exchange of researchers between academia and industry. DERI has also developed strong academic links with the Next Web Generation Group at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, through joint projects headed by Prof. Fensel, and plans to foster an extensive researcher exchange programme with the Group. In a research area that demands team-work and global collaboration, this international sharing of ideas and personnel will greatly enhance the potential of DERI to establish itself as a world-leader in the Semantic Web. The involvement of Hewlett-Packard's European Software Centre in Galway is particularly important for DERI s mission to support the future development of indigenous Irish industry. In the commercial world, where software technologies for different parts of a business have not been based on a common foundation, there are serious problems with trying to connect these various data-handling applications. Semantic Web-enabled Web Services will allow the development of simple interfaces between these applications. With over 100 interconnected systems and interface technology ranging over 30 years, HP s European Software Centre represents an ideal 'real-life' laboratory in which the research carried out by DERI can be case-studied and applied. Ends

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June 2003

Nelson Mandela Conferred with Honorary Doctorate at NUI Galway

Nelson Mandela Conferred with Honorary Doctorate at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 26 June 2003

Conferral underlines NUI Galway's global human rights activity The world's elder statesman, Nelson Mandela visits NUI Galway today (Friday 20 June 2003) to be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. The visit and conferral emphasises the work the University has, and continues to carry out, as a leading world-centre of research on global human rights issues. Commenting, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "As a university, NUI Galway is committed to the study and promotion of human rights and global humanitarian law. This is demonstrated through the ongoing work of the University's Irish Centre for Human Rights. It is therefore a fitting and momentous occasion for NUI Galway to welcome Mr. Mandela to this University". He added, "While we honour Mr. Mandela with an honorary doctorate, it is actually he who honours us by his presence today at NUI Galway". Continuing he said: The values and beliefs that have shaped the life of Nelson Mandela continue to drive and shape reform, not only in South Africa and the African continent but throughout the world. His visit to NUI Galway underlines a genuine commitment and engagement on the part of this institution to those ideas of human rights, justice and equality for all. The visit and conferral of the Honorary Doctorate to Nelson Mandela can be viewed live via the University's website at: www.nuigalway.ie/mandela To mark the visit, the University has also organised an International Development Conference on Friday 20 June, which will focus on the key themes in economic development, human rights and development co-operation. It will look at opportunities for enhanced and innovative partnerships with African states, and consider in conjunction with Irish aid practitioners, the particular role Ireland can play in these areas. Speakers include Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Michael D Higgins, T.D.; Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire and John O'Shea of Goal. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William Schabas said: "The main objective of the conference will be to honour Nelson Mandela's visit to NUI Galway, and his ongoing work on behalf of the disadvantaged. In addition, the conference will seek to inform the public debate on development issues and contribute to the dialogue in policy formulation, and to review and highlight key developing world priorities." Ends Issued on behalf of NUI Galway by Drury Communications, contact Orla Benson / Paddy Hughes at Tel: +353 1 260 5000 / +353 87 8033262 / +353 87 616 7811 For reference: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel: +353 91 750 418 / +353 87 298 6592

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NUI Galway Conference on Economic Development, Human Rights and Aid

NUI Galway Conference on Economic Development, Human Rights and Aid-image

Monday, 16 June 2003

NUI Galway Conference on Economic Development, Human Rights and Aid A new partnership for Africa's Development – Ireland's Role To mark the visit of Nelson Mandela to NUI Galway, the University is organising an International Development Conference which will take place from 11.30 to 5.00 p.m., on Friday, 20 June, 2003, in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. The conference will focus on key themes in economic development, human rights and development co-operation. The proceedings will focus on the opportunities for enhanced and innovative partnerships with African states, and consider in conjunction with Irish aid practitioners, the particular role Ireland can play in these areas. Speakers at the conference will include Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Michael D. Higgins, T.D., Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire and John O'Shea of Goal. The main objectives of the conference are to inform the public debate on development issues and contribute to the dialogue in policy formulation; to review and highlight key development priorities; and to honour Nelson Mandela's visit to NUI Galway and his ongoing work on behalf of the disadvantaged. Ends

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Bank of Ireland Fellowship in International Human Rights Law

Bank of Ireland Fellowship in International Human Rights Law-image

Monday, 9 June 2003

Bank of Ireland Fellowship in International Human Rights Law to be established in honour of Nelson Mandela's visit to Galway Bank of Ireland has announced the establishment of a fellowship to be awarded to a distinguished scholar from a developing country studying at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The fellowship will be established to commemorate the visit of Nelson Mandela to the University to receive an honorary degree on June 20th. Hundreds of applicants are expected to apply for this prestigious fellowship. Applications will be considered by a special academic panel chaired by Professor William A. Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. "This important fellowship will make a most significant contribution to the academic research capacity of the Irish Centre for Human Rights", said Professor Schabas. "Since the Centre began activities in early 2000, it has quickly become the Irish think tank with respect to issues on the cutting edge of international human rights law. The fellowship will strengthen its international reputation for excellence and innovation." Professor Schabas went on to say that the requirement that the fellow comes from a developing country is particularly important. "Research from developing countries suffers from inadequate resources, and we believe a fellowship like this can help in a modest way to correct the imbalance," he said. Mike O Grady, Regional Manager Area Office West at Bank of Ireland said, "Nelson Mandela is a towering figure in human rights. We were glad to be able to recognise his historic visit to Galway by establishing a fellowship for a scholar from a developing country." Ends

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Fifth International Biennial Conference of the International Association of Geno

Fifth International Biennial Conference of the International Association of Geno-image

Friday, 6 June 2003

From 7 – 10 June 2003 the Irish Centre for Human Rights will host the Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Over 150 delegates from throughout the world will participate in this prestigious international event. Genocide, often called "the crime of crimes", is defined by human rights law as the racist destruction of an entire group. The keynote address will be delivered by Gerald Gahima, the Attorney General of Rwanda. He will give an account of his experience in the pursuit for justice in post-genocide Rwanda. Other notable speakers include the Honorable Howard Wolpe, Former Congressman from Michigan and Special Presidential Envoy of the U.S. to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Ben Kiernan, Professor of History and Director of Genocide Studies Program, Yale University and Professor Israel Charny of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem. The Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and chair in human rights at the University, Professor William A. Schabas will discuss the implications for international law of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals. This conference will involve over forty panels discussing a variety of topics, including the genocide of indigenous peoples, the effects of genocide on survivors, prevention of genocide, the role of mass media, international law and genocide, the role of truth commissions and denial of genocides. Scholars from the numerous countries, including Canada, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States and Israel will participate in this event. The International Association of Genocide Scholars is at the forefront of research and study on the subject of genocide and the Irish Centre for Human Rights is honoured to be hosting this conference. Ends

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