Friday, 18 June 2004

An internationally prestigious scientific workshop on 'Mechanisms of Genomic Integrity', hosted by the Genome Stability Cluster, NUI Galway, will take place in Glenlo Abbey, Galway, from June 21 to June 24. "This workshop, supported by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together world leaders for the premiere international conference of the year in this field," said Professor Noel Lowndes, of NUI Galway's Genome Stability Laboratory. Genetic instability underlies numerous human diseases, most significantly cancer, as the alteration of the genome carries with it the possibility of generating proteins with the abnormal or uncontrolled functions characteristic of tumours. "This is a fast-moving field in modern biology, especially following the completion of the genome project," according to Dr Ciaran Morrison, Genome Stability Laboratory, NUI Galway. "A particular theme of the workshop is how cells deal with the DNA damage that results from sunlight, ionizing radiation or cancer causing chemicals." This is the first workshop supported by EMBO to be held in Ireland since 1995 and the first to be held in Galway. Hosting of such workshops is highly competitive and reflects the excellence of the scientific cast assembled for the event. The workshop is being organised by Professor Noel Lowndes, Dr. Ciaran Morrison, Dr. Michael Carty and Dr. Heinz-Peter Nasheuer from the Genome Stability Cluster in the Department of Biochemistry, NUI Galway, together with Dr. Tomas Lindahl, the deputy-director of Cancer Research UK and Dr. Maria Pia Longhese, of the University of Milan. Ends

Monday, 14 June 2004

A new publication of selected works from NUI Galway's art collection will be launched today (Monday), by Patrick T. Murphy Director of the Royal Hibernian Academy. "Imaging Ireland" contains fifty colour plates, selected and annotated by Sioban Piercey and Ger O'Brien and includes works by Mainie Jellett, Gerard Dillon, Grace Henry, Seamus Murphy, Charles Lamb, George Russell, Walter Osbourne, Norah McGuinness and many others. Exquisitely designed, Imaging Ireland features an introduction by Peter Murray, curator of the Crawford Municipal Gallery and a brief history of the collection by Ger O'Brien. The University's art collection is a result of bequests, donations, commissions and acquisitions over the last hundred years. Many interested parties including the Galway Art Gallery Committee, Corrib Art Society, Friends of the National Collections and The Haverty Trust, were instrumental in securing notable works. During the last three years, the University Art Collection has been re-appraised, restored, cleaned, photographed and documented. The results reveal a collection of national significance. A distinct pattern may be determined – the development of modern Irish Art alongside a sociological and historical portrait of the changing values in Ireland in the last century. The selection in Imaging Ireland reveals a journey from representationalism to abstraction with the most recent images showing a return to the landscape of the West of Ireland. The new acquisition policy will concentrate on artistic responses to the region but will include conceptualism, video, digital and photography as well as traditional painting. Imaging Ireland will be on sale in selected bookshops and galleries and from the Press and Information Office at Áras Failte, NUI Galway. This important endorsement and celebration of Visual Arts on campus has been made possible by a joint venture between Galway University Foundation and the University Arts Office. The publication coincides with several new initiatives set in place by Professor Jim Ward, Vice-President for Physical Resources, together with the Theatre and Arts Committee and the Arts Office. The University Art Gallery has been a hive of activity lately with two important young Irish artists, Sinead Aldridge and Cian Donnelly invited there to present new paintings and sculptural pieces during Galway Arts Festival 2004. A new, enlarged gallery is also planned to house permanent and temporary exhibits. Ends

Friday, 4 June 2004

An international Chemistry conference, which will be attended by 250 delegates from Europe, North America and elsewhere, will take place in NUI Galway from the 6-10 June, 2004. ESEAC 2004 is the 10th International Conference on Electroanalysis and themes to be addressed include Sensor Technology, Miniaturisation, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology. Electroanalytical Chemistry, a sub discipline of Analytical Science, deals with the development, understanding and applications of chemical measurements reliant on an electrochemical or electrical signal. Among the invited speakers are renowned experts in this area, including AJ Bard (Austin, Texas), HH Girault (Lausanne, Switzerland) and W Schuhmann (Bochum, Germany). The scientific programme will include two special Symposia, one of which is in memory of Harry Mark, an eminent American Electroanalytical Chemist who passed away in March 2003. The second symposium focuses on Nanotechnology: Surfaces, Sensors and Systems, with presentations at the cutting edge of electrochemical aspects of nanoscience and technology. "It is a significant honour for the University to host this event," says Dr Donal Leech of NUI Galway's Chemistry department and conference organiser. "NUI Galway was selected as the host venue by the international scientific committee for a number of reasons, including the strength of the University's research in the area of Electroanalytical Chemistry, as well as the unrivalled scenic, cultural and social aspects of Galway as a venue for an international conference." Ends

Monday, 19 July 2004

Authors and poets, John McGahern, John Montague, Patricia Burke Brogan, Eilis Ní Dhuibhne and Mike McCormack, will address the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL), which will take place in NUI Galway from 20th to 23rd July 2004. This major international association of scholars and enthusiasts of Irish writing has over 1,000 members worldwide, and numbers among its membership many prominent academics and writers. More than 250 people will attend this year s conference, which is being hosted by the Department of English in NUI Galway. As this is a year of literary centenaries and commemorations, themes to be addressed at the conference include the work of Patrick Kavanagh, James Joyce and the Abbey Theatre. There will also be a strong emphasis on work from writers associated with Galway. Dr. Riana O'Dwyer, of NUI Galway's English Department and conference organiser said, "It is a singular honour for both the University and Galway City to host this prestigious event. Previous venues for the conference have included New York, Barcelona, and Sao Paulo. The choice of NUI Galway as this year's venue illustrates the international status of the University among literary scholars worldwide." Ends

Monday, 12 July 2004

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and the United Nations University, Tokyo will host a two-day conference (15th – 16th July) on International Accountability and Justice. This conference will bring together international specialists in this field and will cover topics such as: Prosecutorial Strategy of International Criminal Tribunals and Courts Independence and impartiality of International Criminal Tribunals Obstacles to Accountability: Amnesties and Immunities Alternatives to Prosecution Several of the past and present international prosecutors will participate in this event, making it a major opportunity to reflect upon the development of international criminal accountability as well as consider future prospects. Professor William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, who has over the past two years been serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone said: "The issues addressed during this conference are increasingly crucial in today's uncertain international climate, particularly given the ongoing controversy surrounding the trials of Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. The conference will make a significant contribution to the evolving debate on the pressing international issues of international justice." Professor Schabas continued: "With its focus on issues of independence and impartiality, and prosecutorial discretion, the conference will tackle questions where modern international tribunals have been most subject to criticism and dispute. For example, many have called into question whether Milosevic or Saddam Hussein can get a fair trial. This Conference will speak to these matters." Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will be chairing the panel on Alternatives to Prosecution. Mrs. Robinson is currently based in New York, where she heads the Ethical Globalization Initiative. This panel is particularly topical given the current debate over whether or not truth commissions constitute an effective transitional justice mechanism. Other speakers include Judge Theodor Meron, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Maureen Harding Clark, Irish judge on the International Criminal Court, and David Crane, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. ENDS

Monday, 5 July 2004

The Department of Health Promotion, NUI Galway is holding its eighth annual Conference on the 8th and 9th July 2004. This year, the conference will focus on 'European Perspectives on Promoting Health and Well-being". Health Promotion is a social model of health and well-being and is based on the principles of equity, participation, empowerment and social justice (WHO, Ottawa Charter, 1986). "The focus of this multidisciplinary area of study and practice is on enhancing the strengths and competencies of individuals and communities, thereby enabling people to increase control over and improve their health," says Margaret Barry, of NUI Galway's Department of Health Promotion. "Central to this endeavour is the role of citizen participation and empowerment in the larger socio-political context," she says. Conference presentations will discuss topics including the growing power and influence of the European Union (EU) institutions in health promotion, public health and higher education, especially following recent enlargement. The experience of the European Training Consortium in Public Health and Health Promotion and European Masters in Health Promotion Training initiatives will also be addressed. The conference programme will also include workshops and a symposium on Professional Competencies in Health Promotion from a European perspective. Health Promotion experts from the UK, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Ireland will address the conference, which builds on the European Summer School on 'Strategies for Health in Europe' (28 June to 8th July), currently being hosted by the Department of Health Promotion. This postgraduate-level Summer School is jointly organised by the European Training Consortium in Public Health and Health Promotion (ETC-PHHP) and the European Masters Programme in Health Promotion (EUMAHP) consortium. Ends

Monday, 30 August 2004

Emerging Internet Technologies - the Semantic Web - has massive business,technology, and social applications. A research project at NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) entitled the Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project (, is a practical experiment designed to identify and solve social and business concerns arising from the next generation of web technology - the "semantic web". The first FOAF Workshop which takes place on 1-2 September at NUI Galway, will bring together people from all perspectives to discuss the issue. It will be attended by social, technical, legal, business and academic parties to try to shape and mould the evolution of these new social applications of internet technology with the budding semantic web. Online Social Networking sites and the Friend-of-a-Friend standard make it possible for communities to exist on the Internet and allow companies to build infrastructure to connect people and manage connections. FOAF and Online Social Networking also open significant business and usage opportunities. "The FOAF standard acts as a crystallization point for development of the Semantic Web", says Dr Decker. "People are extending the FOAF standard to manage their own personal and business information. Dr John Breslin, another organizer, and also a researcher at DERI, says: "Until recently, each site kept its own database of personal information. This meant that each time you visited a separate site you had to re-enter the same information. A similar thing happens each time you buy something off the Internet. Go to a different shopping site and you have to retype in the same information over again. The semantic web will allow your computer to do this automatically for you. The challenge is to enable your computer to "know" what information is appropriate to give out about you." There is a growing user and business interest in being able to transport relevant information between sites. This obviously raises big security issues. No one wants information that they enter for personal reasons to be available to marketers, spammers or fraudsters. FOAF is trying to reduce the need for data re-entry, while allowing users to control who sees what information about them. Topics to be discussed will include, among others Applications of online social networks; Trust Issues in social networks; Privacy, etiquette and best practice issues for aggregators; Exchange of social network information; Integration with desktop and mobile applications; Business Models for the Semantic Web (Life after banner advertisements). Ends

Thursday, 30 September 2004

- giving students greater insight into Arthur Shields and his contribution to the Irish Cultural Revival and Abbey Theatre- Collection includes: Unpublished letters of Yeats, Lady Gregory and O'Casey Rare first editions of books signed by the authors, including Pomes Penyeach (the 1927 Paris edition) by James Joyce Collection of Abbey plays from the 1920s onwards The National University of Ireland, Galway is delighted today (Thursday 30th September) to announce the gift to the Library and the University of the papers of the late Abbey actor Arthur Shields and those of the Shields Family (Barry Fitzgerald was a brother of Arthur Shields). The collection was presented to the President of the University, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, by Arthur Shields' daughter Christine Shields, at an event hosted in the James Hardiman Library. This extensive archive which includes posters, programmes, and playscripts - including annotated directors' playscripts of many Abbey productions from the 1920s and 1930s and material relating to the administration of those tours: press cuttings, photographs, correspondence, and financial accounts, will complement the Library's existing theatre archives. Commenting on the donation, The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, said: "Outside of the Abbey itself and the National Library, this archive is the strongest collection relating to the Abbey and will be of enormous benefit to the study of twentieth century Irish theatre in the University. This donation will give our students greater insight into the work and contribution of Arthur Shields. We are committed to the advancement of Film and Theatre Studies at this University and the growth of our theatre archive along with the progress of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, demonstrates this commitment." Marie Reddan, Librarian at the James Hardiman Library added, "We are honoured to receive this outstanding donation which will enhance our Library's existing theatre archives which include those of Druid, Macnas, An Taibhdhearc, Galway Arts Festival, The O'Malley Lyric Theatre Belfast and also the John McGahern literary archive." The collection also comes with Arthur Shields' book collection, which includes many of the Abbey plays from the twenties onwards. Shields was from his youth, committed to the Irish cultural revival (he was one of the last fighters to remain in the GPO in Easter 1916), and he acquired a very complete library of Irish poems, plays, and stories of the period. This collection includes rare first editions with copies signed by the authors, such as a copy of Pomes Penyeach (the 1927 Paris edition) by James Joyce. The bequest resulted from the enthusiasm of Dr Adrian Frazier of the Department of English at National University of Ireland, Galway who in his research on Irish actors in Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, (when Arthur Shields managed Abbey tours to America), became aware of the papers which were in the possession of Arthur Shields' daughter Christine, who lives in Oakland, California. Aware of Christine's desire to see the collection located in Ireland, Frazier signalled the particular interest of the National University of Ireland, Galway and in a relatively short time, the collection was donated to the University. Ends

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Dr Colin O'Dowd, NUI Galway, was the 2004 recipient of the Smoluchowski Award in Aerosol Science, awarded at the European Aerosol Conference, held at the Hungarian Academy of Science in Budapest this month. He is the first Irish recipient of this prestigious award. Aerosol Science is the study of airborne particles which range in size from nanometres (one thousand millionth of a meter) to millimetres and influences all aspects of our life from medical, industrial and environmental disciplines. This honour is awarded annually to a distinguished young scientist (under the age of 40) who has contributed outstanding research works to the field of Aerosol Science over the last 2-3 years. The award is in honour of the Polish physicists, Marian Smoluchowski (1872-1917), for pioneering works in aerosol physics. Dr O'Dowd's research focuses on the impact of atmospheric aerosols on climate change and air quality. Atmospheric aerosols are required to form clouds and consequently have an important impact on the global hydrological cycle. Also, both cloud and aerosol haze layers block the sun's heat and are predicted to partially reduce global warming from greenhouse gas emissions. O'Dowd has had 3 of his articles published in Nature – the world's premier scientific journal – over the last 2 years and has published more than 150 scientific articles over the last 14 years. The aerosol science award is open to competition from the fields of Fundamental Aerosol Physics, Medical Aerosols, Industrial Aerosols, Process Engineering, Combustion Aerosols, and Atmospheric Aerosol Science. Since its inception in 1986, there have been three awards in the field of Atmospheric Aerosols (one each for Finland, the UK and the US) and now Dr O'Dowd of Ireland. Ends

Monday, 27 September 2004

NUI Galway has been named as one of only seven European universities to be funded by the Hewlett Packard (HP) sponsored Mobile Technology for Teaching Grants Scheme. The award, worth $100,000, consists of 40 state-of-the-art wireless enabled laptops, tablet PC devices, and mobile computing network infrastructure. All second year B.Sc. (IT) students will have use of a laptop, and will have full access – using the on-campus mobile network - to internet-based software, virtual classrooms and collaborative working environments. The project, managed by the Department of Information Technology, was selected based on its innovation potential and its scope to enhance the learning of students on the accredited B.Sc. degree programme in Information Technology. This technology award will facilitate an enhancement of the project-based learning approach, widely used in the B.Sc. (IT), by enabling the class to work together as a team to design and build an industry-standard internet auction site. The project will also make use of the skills learned by students on both the business and language streams, and will be translated into European languages. Dr. Jim Duggan, Project Leader, and Lecturer at the IT department, says that the great benefit of this project is that B.Sc. (IT) students will gain a unique insight into the real-world complexities of internet software development. "They will appreciate the scale of these projects, get a chance to apply their technical, business and language skills, and experience the challenges and excitement of working as part of a large team,." The project will run for the entire academic year, and the laptop resources will be made available to future second year classes of the B.Sc. (IT). Ends

Friday, 24 September 2004

Global oil reserves will be fully depleted by the year 2030 and the introduction of alternative fuels must be a priority for governments across the globe, according to Professor John Simmie who was speaking at the official opening of the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at NUI Galway today (September 24th 2004). The Environmental Change Institute was officially opened by Jim Higgins MEP and has been established as a result of successful bids by NUI Galway to obtain funding (€10.62m) under Cycles II and III of the Irish Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). The research into biodiesel is a unique study by an Irish university into the uses and functionality of biodiesel which is the only alternative fuel that can be used directly in any existing, unmodified diesel engine. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel derived from vegetable oils and animal fats. It has a positive impact on global warming and can limit dependence on foreign-derived fuel supplies. Professor John Simmie of the Department of Chemistry and ECI at NUI Galway said, "With global oil reserves severely threatened, we must seek alternative methods of fuel production. The situation is extremely serious. Oil production has peaked in 52 out of 99 oil producing countries and it is estimated that oil will be depleted by 2030. Research into alternative methods of fuel is vital if we are to maintain energy levels going forward." Professor John Simmie also stated that the Irish Government must take immediate measures to curb the amount of carbon dioxide being discharged by Irish consumers and suggested that biodiesel represents a realistic alternative, producing approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions and almost 100% less sulphur dioxide. Based on tests, biodiesel also provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks. Biodiesel also replaces the smelly exhaust odour of petroleum diesel with the pleasant aroma of freshly-cooked popcorn or chips. While the research is at the initial stages, the Environmental Change Institute estimates that biodiesel could be a reality in Irish vehicles quite soon. Speaking at the official opening of the ECI, Professor Emer Colleran, Director of ECI added, "We are very excited about the wealth of research projects being undertaken at the Environmental Change Institute. We are working hard to make a significant and positive contribution to tackle global environmental issues and to the very challenging field of Environmental Change Research. The development of the ECI has been made possible through PRTLI funding which enables us to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to this research, where we can bring together a pool of experienced researchers and post-graduate students in a state of the art facility. NUI Galway is renowned for the quality of its work internationally and we look forward to the development of the ECI and the positive impact that the findings of the Institute's research will have on making significant environmental change across the globe." Professor John Simmie also called on the Irish Government to impose measures to curtail the purchase of SUVs and to reduce the size of car engines. "The rising level of affluence in Irish society is having detrimental affects on our environment especially with the introduction of larger engines and the growing attraction of sports utility vehicles (SUVs). The Irish government must curtail the purchase of SUVs which guzzle fuel and as a result are emitting twice as much carbon dioxide as ordinary cars." Other areas of research being undertaken at the ECI include a study by Dr Vincent O'Flaherty and student Niamh Breathnach into levels of contamination in Irish drinking water, which will result in recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency on how best to reduce the levels of contaminated drinking water. Research is also being undertaken into Marine Environmental Modelling by Dr Michael Hartnett, which is a study into the transport of pollutants discharged into the coastal waters and seas surrounding Ireland. Professor Emer Colleran, is also undertaking a study into reducing the effects of landfill gas emissions and the resulting effect on global warming. Ends

Monday, 20 September 2004

Phytoplankton research at the National Diagnostics Centre, NUI Galway New molecular tests to identify the presence of dangerous phytoplankton in Irish waters are being carried out by scientists at NUI Galway. Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms and a major plant life in the sea. A small proportion of these, known as harmful algal blooms, produce substances that are toxic to humans and can cause fish kills. This new research, being conducted by the National Diagnostics Centre in collaboration with the Martin Ryan Institute at the University, and funded by the Higher Education Authority is aimed at developing more automated tests than are currently in existence, to identify the presence of these harmful species and their toxins. The NUI Galway project is two-pronged and involves a range of experts at the National Diagnostics Centre and the Martin Ryan Institute. The first part of the project is exploiting a molecular technology, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in combination with DNA probes, short specific sequences of DNA, to identify HAB species. These tests will enable rapid detection of toxic species thereby providing an early warning system for their presence in shellfish production areas. The other part of the research programme at the NDC involves the production of antibodies specific for the algal toxins. The detection systems involving antibodies are not labour-intensive and relatively unskilled personnel can produce reliable and reproducible results. The two major stakeholders with an interest in such a research project are the consumer and the fish-farmer. The consumer requires good quality shellfish for consumption and the fish-farmer depends on this industry for a sustainable livelihood. When toxic phytoplankton are found in water, a decision has to be taken on the possible closure of various waters or bays in the vicinity, while follow-up examinations are carried out to ascertain if toxins are present. "Exports of Irish shellfish are currently worth €50 million annually to the Irish economy," says Dr Majella Maher, who is leading the molecular technology section of the three-year project, due to be completed next year. Dr Maher explains that one of the drawbacks of the existing visual method of identification is that it can be difficult to identify precisely some of the toxic phytoplankton species present in samples. "However, with specific molecular tests, we could identify all toxic species," she says. "As the procedure involves fully-automated instrumentation, results become available within a single working-day." Dr Marian Kane, Manager of the National Diagnostics Centre and one of the leaders of this project, says: "A variety of analytical methods is required for the detection and determination of algal toxins in shellfish to satisfy the requirements of both the commercial producers and the regulatory agencies". "Antibodies are versatile tools – they are cheap to produce on a large scale and can be used for fully-automated test systems, such as biomolecular interaction analysis (BIA) assays, or packaged into rapid detection systems that can be used at the point where they are needed, rather than sending samples to laboratories for toxin detection," says Dr Kane. This research is being carried out in collaboration with the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, and the National Marine Institute, now also based in Galway. Ends

Monday, 13 September 2004

The Arab-Israeli conflict is rarely absent from world news and the deep-seated problems associated with it often seem intractable. Educating young people on both sides to understand and respect each other's past is a positive contribution towards creating a long-term peaceful society in that troubled region. One such man who has done valuable work in this area is Dr Simon Lichman who will be in Galway this week, to give a talk entitled Using Culture and Folklore in Education to Build Bridges Between Arab and Jewish Children In Israel, in Room D 202, Education Technology Building, NUI Galway on Friday, 17 September at 12.00 noon. The talk is hosted by the University's Department of Education. Dr Simon Lichman, a graduate of Hebrew University and the University of Pennsylvania, has specialized in drama, folklore and the use of culture and traditions to better understand our past as a means to positively shape our future. He is the initiator and Director of the Traditional Creativity in the Schools Project. The Project works with Islamic Palestinian and Jewish Israeli children in twinned classes and schools and focuses on both the commonalities and the differences in their shared Semitic cultural backgrounds. It creates relationships, sometimes friendships and provides a basis amongst ordinary people for a peaceful co-existence. "There are clearly some parallels between the troubles in Northern Ireland and the situation in Israel/Palestine so as well as being of interest in its own right, the lecture will be of particular interest to an Irish audience for this reason," says Professor Keith Sullivan, Department of Education, NUI Galway. "Dr Lichman is an excellent speaker who provides an insight into how he and his colleagues in the Traditional Creativity in the Schools project have dealt with a difficult problem in a way that is both respectful towards and enabling for both cultures involved. The solutions provided will also provide useful insights for those who have an interest in multiethnic educational initiatives for an increasingly ethnically-mixed Ireland." The lecture should be of interest to teachers, from the primary, second and third level sectors, to University academics and to anyone interested in human rights issues in education. Ends

Thursday, 9 September 2004

The Disability Law & Policy Research Unit (based in the Law Faculty, NUI Galway) and the Equality Authority, are to co-host a major conference entitled Human Rights and Disability Discrimination: Exploring the Value Added by the ECHR and other sources of European Law, on Saturday 25th September from 9.00am-5.30pm in the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. The conference is one of the first events to deal with the immediate implications of incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into Irish law for a particular category of persons and comes on the eve of publication of the long-awaited Disabilities Bill. It will be of interest to persons involved in disability discrimination litigation whether as litigants or lawyers as well as to those involved in public policy, service delivery and research. Speakers include: Niall Crowley and Eilis Barry of the Equality Authority; Professor Gerard Quinn, Donncha O'Connell, Shivaun Quinlivan, Mary Keys and Dr. Laurent Pech of the Law Faculty, NUI Galway; and Des Hogan of the Irish Human Rights Commission. The conference will also be addressed by two experts from the United Kingdom: Anna Lawson of the University of Leeds and David Ruebain, a solicitor specialising in disability discrimination litigation with a particular interest in the education rights of young persons with disabilities. The conference will be addressed by Alderman Catherine Connolly, Mayor of Galway at 5.00pm. There is no registration fee for participants who are, however, advised that advance registration is requested by the organisers. Ends

Monday, 6 September 2004

A renowned expert in cancer research will give the inaugural Annual Cancer Research Lecture in NUI Galway later this month. Professor Thanos Halazonetis's talk, "DNA Damage Checkpoints and Cancer" will take place at 1.00pm on Friday, 17 September 2004 in the McMunn Theatre. The lecture is being hosted by the University's Department of Biochemistry and supported by the Bank of Ireland, University Branch. Professor Thanos Halazonetis graduated from the Dental School in Athens and did a PhD degree in Genetics at Harvard University. He currently holds a research position at the Wistar Institute and a Professorship in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Halazonetis is researching how normal cells respond when the genetic material is damaged and how defects in these responses result in cancer. A particular focus is the DNA Damage Checkpoint Pathway, which co-ordinates a range of cellular responses to DNA damage, ensuring efficient repair and therefore suppression of tumour formation. In particular, Professor Halazonetis has been studying various DNA damage response markers in a spectrum of lung lesions ranging from hyperplasia to invasive carcinoma. His findings indicate that even in its earliest stages, cancer is associated with activation of the DNA Damage Checkpoint Pathway. Professor Halazonetis is coming to NUI Galway because of similar research to his being carried out by Professor Noel Lowndes and his team in the University's Genome Stability Laboratory. "We are privileged that Professor Halazonetis is coming to share his knowledge with us," said Professor Lowndes, whose research team is currently working on related genes in model systems more amenable to genetic studies. "We believe that the involvement of the DNA damage checkpoint Pathway in cancer requires that we understand this pathway at the molecular level. In fact, great strides have been made in recent years in research in this area and, with the recent establishment of the Genome Stability Cluster, NUI Galway is now contributing to the exciting progress being made. This understanding will lead to advances in the treatment of one of the most serious diseases of our time". Ends

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

NUI Galway has conferred honorary MA degrees on four individuals in recognition of their special contribution to their specific areas of activity. They are: Jim Lyons, former CEO of Co. Clare Vocational Education Committee for his immense achievements in many aspects of education in Co Clare, particularly in the area of Adult Education. During the 1980s, in partnership with NUI Galway he set up the first literacy tutor-training course in the region, and established a pioneering adult literacy programme within Clare VEC, which served as a model for other regions. He has also published two successful books on education, School in Action and School 2000. Sr Enda Ryan, for her immense achievements in many aspects of education in Malaysia, where she founded Assunta Secondary School which started with 84 students in 1958 and today has more than 2000 pupils. Since going to Malaysia, Sister Enda s contributions towards building that new nation have not gone unrecognised, as she has received numerous awards and honours recognising her achievements. Seán and Máire Stafford, for their outstanding contributions over many years to the activities of An Taibhdhearch Irish language theatre in Galway. Both have had long and distinguished acting and directing careers with the theatre. Hugo O'Neill, O'Neill of Clanaboy, descendant of the O'Neill Chiefs of Ulster, was honoured for his contribution to Ireland-Portugal relations. His forebears went to Portugal in the 1740s but retained strong links with Ireland. Ends

Monday, 18 October 2004

"The Government must continue to invest in the basic capital infrastructure of our Universities and in pioneering research programmes like the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in order to reach the goals established under the European Union's Lisbon Strategy," according to Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh was addressing graduates at the University's autumn conferral ceremonies which continue throughout the week when more than 3,000 students will be conferred with primary and higher degrees. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh stated that, "Investment in Irish universities is not an "option" – it is a necessity, a necessity which is supported by the findings of the recent OECD Report on third level education in Ireland." Welcoming the report which points the way forward for the sector and the country at a time when higher education is at a crossroads, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said that the Report requires "a comprehensive response from Government and should be acted on in a holistic and not a piecemeal way if it is to have a major impact on the country's development." Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh went on to say that in the context of the report, "We see NUI Galway as a university committed to providing a world-class education for its students, to significantly enhancing its research profile, to modernising its structures and engaging with its communities in support of economic, cultural and social development." He said that together with the other universities in Ireland, NUI Galway is more than ready to play its part in providing leadership for change. "To enable us to do this, however," he said, "it is essential that government adopt a funding policy for Higher Education which will support ambitious and progressive strategic plans, such as that of NUI Galway," Ends

Monday, 11 October 2004

An EU-funded research team lead by Professor Colin O'Dowd from the National University of Ireland, Galway and Dr. Maria Cristina Facchini from the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate has discovered a new and dominant source of aerosol particles over the ocean which can contribute, through the formation of haze and cloud layers, to the Earth's heat shield. This in turn can partially reduce global warming driven by the increase in greenhouse gases. These aerosol particles are mainly comprised of organic matter, produced by plankton, and concentrated at the ocean surface due to its surface-active properties. Through the formation and bursting of bubbles in oceanic whitecaps, this organic matter is ejected into the atmosphere in the form of sea-spray aerosol particles. The bubble bursting process produces sea-spray which is generally thought to comprise sea-salt (i.e. inorganic matter). However, this new research has demonstrated that during periods of plankton blooms, sea-spray comprises organic matter rather than inorganic sea-salt and that the addition of this organic matter can increase the availability of aerosol particles and cloud nuclei – both of which contribute to increasing the cooling effect of the Earth's heat shield. Previous research had linked algae and plankton to climate change through sulphur and iodine vapours forming aerosols. This new research which has been published in the most recent edition of Nature magazine, has shown that organic matter could in fact be the most important contributor to marine aerosols. However, this source of marine aerosol is currently lacking in state-of-the-art climate modelling studies. This breakthrough, linking the marine biosphere to climate change, is expected to have an important impact on the future prediction of the Earth's response to greenhouse-gas induced global warming. The research team is composed of scientists from the Environmental Change Institute of the National University of Ireland, Galway; the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, also in Italy. This work was funded by EC FP5 projects QUEST and PHOENICS. Ends

Monday, 4 October 2004

"Research – central to our economic progress"- Hanafin The Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, TD, today (October 4th 2004) opened a new €35 million biomedical research centre at NUI Galway which has the potential to revolutionise patient treatment, eliminate the need for organ transplant and improve the health and quality of life for millions of people worldwide. The National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) brings together a team of over 150 researchers who will also focus on developing treatments for diseases which are currently incurable. Speaking at the opening of the NCBES, Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, TD said, "It is an honour for me to be present for the opening of this facility which firmly places NUI Galway and Ireland at the frontier of international biomedical research. We look forward to the impact that this research will have on future generations around the globe. Ireland must remain internationally competitive and the development of world-class research across a range of disciplines in Irish universities is vital for us to fulfil this ambition. Scientific education and research is central to our economic progress". Commenting on the research ongoing at the new facility, Professor Terry Smith, Director of the NCBES said, "We are very excited about the development of this new facility and the extent of the research being undertaken here. The facility brings together a broad team of researchers from the disciplines of science, engineering and medicine, who will work together to develop new techniques which will revolutionise current processes. The NCBES is unique in Ireland and will work closely in collaboration with local industry involved in the biomedical field and with University College Hospital, Galway (UCHG). Through its interdisciplinary approach, the NCBES has established an international reputation for its research and is working with other similar institutes in Europe and the US to ensure that rapid advances are made in this exciting area of biomedical research." One of the specific areas of research currently ongoing is the development of materials that will minimise rejection of stents in the human body. Stents are implanted in the body for a variety of heart and other operations. The research involves the development of SMART materials, so called because they adapt to their environment in the human body by reacting to the body's temperature. The development of SMART materials is unique to an Irish university and involves the use of sophisticated modelling techniques. The material is inserted into the body as a fluid which then becomes a gel. A coating of the smart material on the stent also facilitates effective drug-release control. The main advantage of the use of these biomaterials is that they are biodegradable and can also be removed if necessary. Other research projects ongoing at the centre include tissue engineering which is a new field of biomedicine that unites science, engineering and medicine, to restore or replace tissues and organs that have been damaged by disease or injury. Ends

Tuesday, 30 November 2004

-President supports establishment of multimillion euro fund to drive reform in the University system- University Reform, identified as a key issue in the recently published OECD Report, is being successfully implemented in NUI Galway through widespread consultation with staff and in a collegiate spirit, according to NUI Galway President, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. The President was speaking at the University's final conferring ceremony of the year today (Tuesday). Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said that there appears to have been a widely-perceived implication in the media that because there have been major internal disagreements in other universities on these matters, those universities are perceived as being "the most advanced" in terms of reform. However, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh stated that substantial reforms have already been instituted at NUI Galway based on a strong consultative process and that NUI Galway is to the forefront among the Irish universities in terms of reforms actually implemented. He said: "For our part, we believe that reasoned dialogue and exchange of ideas are the essence of a university, and would suggest that because we have engaged in such debate and deliberation, we have managed to arrive at collegial positions on difficult issues, thus enabling reforms to be implemented relatively quickly and without rancour." In conjunction with this, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh also welcomed Minister Hanafin's proposal that a multimillion fund be established to support reforms in the university system but called for a process that is open and clear with measurable metrics. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said, "We would urge that, if such a fund is set up, whatever process is adopted for the allocation of this fund should be open and transparent, and that clear and measurable metrics be applied both in relation to what has already been achieved, and in relation to proposed further reforms. There is no doubt that our continuing reform can certainly be accelerated with financial support." Dr Ó Muircheartaigh went on to outline specific changes implemented in NUI Galway's academic programmes and structures: A number of departments have been successfully amalgamated to create larger academic units, and, as a matter of policy, are actively promoting this agenda. Two chairs and associated departments have been suppressed in areas where student demand did not justify the continuation of such departments. The University has semesterised and modularised all of its undergraduate academic programmes. The start of the academic year has successfully been brought forward to early September in order to support this modularisation and semesterisation. Again this has been achieved with the full support of all staff. A Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CELT) has been created and resourced in order to provide support for staff in their teaching activities, including active encouragement to use the most advanced technology available. NUI Galway has successfully competed in all PRTLI (Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions) cycles and has succeeded in embedding both the PRTLI-related research centres and the new structures funded by SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) into reformed academic structures. In particular, the University has developed new structures to integrate the teaching and research functions both within and across departments. The University's Quality Assessment function has succeeded in completing a full cycle of assessments of all academic departments, and, where appropriate, significant reforms – both structural and operational - have been instituted. With the support of academic staff, NUI Galway has successfully launched a Service Learning and Community Knowledge Programme in order to involve students more actively in the community. This programme actively encourages students to engage with communities on a volunteering basis – in Galway, throughout the region, nationally and internationally and NUI Galway has begun to integrate such activities into the University's formal academic structures. Ends

Monday, 22 November 2004

Thousands of second-level students from all over the country are expected to attend NUI Galway's annual Open Day which takes place this year on Thursday 2 December, from 9.00am to 3.00pm. Parents are also welcome to attend. The event is an ideal opportunity for second-level, access and mature students to get information on the academic programmes provided by the University. Academic staff from the University's fifty-two departments will be available at the exhibition stands to answer queries and provide detailed subject and course information. With seven Faculties and almost 14,000 students, NUI Galway is the first choice option for many students when completing their CAO forms. "Given the huge range of courses on offer, Leaving Cert students often find it difficult to choose the options best suited to them," says Mary Coyle, NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer. "Open Day provides an ideal opportunity for the students to meet academic staff and postgraduate students at the various stands and discuss the various courses being provided." On their arrival at NUI Galway on the 2nd December, students are requested to come to the assembly point in the Quadrangle, where they will be given directions to introductory lectures and exhibition areas. Guided tours of the campus will be provided throughout the day. These will include visits to the Clinical Science Institute (Medical School), the Martin Ryan Institute, the Arts Millennium Building, Áras na Gaeilge, Student Accommodation and Sports Facilities. There will also be laboratory demonstrations in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Information Technology Labs. and the University's Applied Languages Centre. NUI Galway is constantly improving facilities for its students and staff. A new Graduate School of Business and Public Policy as well a new Centre for Nursing, Therapies and Political Science and Sociology, are currently under construction. In addition, the University hopes to proceed with the construction of a new €53m. Engineering School, as part of the overall St. Anthony's campus development while plans are at an advanced stage for the construction of a new Sports and Recreation Centre, which will include a swimming pool. Ends

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

New Book in Support of Amnesty International Seamus Heaney at a ceremony in NUI Galway, today (Wednesday 17 November, Aula Maxima, Upper) launched his new book Anything Can Happen, in collaboration with Amnesty International. Anything Can Happen is Heaney's translation of an ode by Horace written over 2,000 years ago, with an accompanying essay on the conflict in today s world, and 23 translations of the poem. "This work perfectly reflects Amnesty's warnings on the threats to human rights in the world today," said Director of Amnesty International's Irish Section Sean Love. "It will be a huge boost to our work in Ireland and around the world, and Anything Can Happen maintains our long tradition of support from internationally-recognised artists." Anything Can Happen was formally launched by the South African Ambassador, H.E. Melanie Verwoerd, at NUI Galway today. In a special ceremony, Seamus Heaney presented a unique copy of the book, signed by Nelson Mandela, to the President of NUI Galway Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. Students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights read extracts from the work in various languages. Welcoming the guests to the University, President Ó Muircheartaigh remarked, "it is a great pleasure to host the launch of this work by one of the world's leading poets in support of Amnesty, and it is indeed fitting that this launch takes place at NUI Galway, home to the Irish Centre for Human Rights." He continued "on behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to accept the special edition of Anything Can Happen signed by Nelson Mandela when he visited the University in June 2003." The poem is published with an accompanying essay in which Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney reflects on the relevance of art in the political context of the twenty-first century. The language translations are presented in an order that reminds us of the difficult histories between the people who speak them. The webcast of this event will be available from 2.30pm (local time) at Anything Can Happen is available from Amnesty's website at The translations appear courtesy of the Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Association, who have generously donated their efforts to the project. Ends

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Social services providing family support, child protection and out-of-home care, have developed significantly in recent years and there are now many models of good practice to be found in health board areas throughout the country. That's according to a new study carried out by the Western Health Board/NUI Galway Child and Family Research and Policy Unit. The report, entitled "Working with Children and Families – Exploring Good Practice," will be launched by Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD, Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children, with special responsibility for children, in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Oranmore, today (Tuesday). The report provides a snapshot of some of the models and approaches currently being implemented in child and family services throughout Ireland. Each Health Board was asked to nominate examples of good practice of service provision in their areas. The 26 profiles nominated and discussed in this report, will enable policy makers and practitioners to see examples of good work and learn from the experience of others. Dr Pat Dolan, one of the researchers on the project said: "The wide range of projects demonstrates that interventions with families can be effective in many different ways and across service settings from early years day care to residential care." He added that a number of the case studies "advocated greater partnership with children and families as key to good practice." The report shows that the most effective and successful services are those provided in consultation with the recipients, whether they are teenagers or parents of children at risk. Among the examples of best practice cited in the report are: Pre-school childcare services that combine provision of childcare with support for the parents, such as parenting skills courses and vocational educational programmes that enable the parents and children function better as a family. Drop-in Centres for teenagers where trained staff provide additional support for adolescents in difficulty. The young people are also involved in the design and set-up of the centre which gives them a sense of ownership of the project Community-based projects to assist children at risk of expulsion from school. The child-led model agrees steps with the parents, child, teachers and local youth workers and as it is the child who determines what is likely to work, there is a greater likelihood that the child will remain in school. Residential care model that keeps children in care in their own community, where they continue to attend their local school, have regular contact with their family and friends, thus retaining their social network Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD, Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children said: "This Government is committed to strengthening policies and enhancing services to support families and children. I am confident that this report will prove to be of enormous benefit to both policy makers and practitioners and will play an important part in the ongoing quest to improve the quality of services provided for families and children." The report is not intended as an evaluation of services but focuses on strengths in child and family care practices which can be replicated nationally and internationally. The research was commissioned by the Child Care Policy Unit of the Department of Health and Children. Ends

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Two NUI Galway scientists, carrying out advanced research in Optics have become the first Ireland-based scientists to be elected to the principal organisations governing the activities of the Optics community worldwide. Both scientists are based in NUI Galway's Department of Experimental Physics. Professor Chris Dainty has been elected vice-president of the Optical Society of America, which has over 14,000 members in over 80 countries, while Professor Tom Glynn has been elected to the Board of Directors of SPIE, the Society for Optical Engineering, with over 18,000 members around the world. The appointments mark the first occasion that a single institution outside the US has been represented on the boards of these important optics organisations, dedicated to advancing Optics and Photonics. Each of the scientists was part of a short list presented to the membership, who voted to select governing boards for a 3-year period, beginning in January 2005. "This is a singular honour for our scientists and an indication of the reputations that the NUI Galway research groups have established in the lasers and optics communities worldwide," said Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. "The research strength of the University has been significantly increased in recent years through our success in the Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and research carried out in the University is achieving global recognition". Since October 2002, Professor Chris Dainty is Science Foundation Ireland Research Professor in the Department of Physics at NUI Galway, where his research group works in imaging, adaptive optics, and instrumentation for vision science. He is particularly interested in the applications of optics in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions in the eye and in applying adaptive optics to the human eye, primarily to produce very high-resolution images of the retina in vivo. Professor Tom Glynn was recently appointed Professor of Experimental Physics in NUI Galway and is founder and current director of the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA), also based in the Department of Physics. The laser group carries out research, training, prototyping, and technology transfer activities in the area of high-power lasers and their applications. The NCLA has extensive collaborations with industry partners in Ireland. Ends

Wednesday, 3 November 2004

Sports Scholarships amounting to €70,000 have been presented by University President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, to athletes who are the recipients of this year's NUI Galway's Sports Scholarships Scheme. This is the seventh year of the scheme, which supports athletes who excel in their respective sporting fields and are students of NUI Galway. The scholarship and bursary scheme assists these students financially through their time in University and this year's selection of athletes is representative of many sports, including Gaelic Games, Athletics, Rowing, Ladies Football, Hockey, Squash and Water Polo, and also includes a wide geographical spread. The scheme has been a phenomenal success over the past six years, with many recipients representing the University with distinction at national and international levels. A total of sixteen athletes, who are already on sports scholarships and are still studying at the University, have received €2,000 again this year. A further nine students have received scholarships (worth €2,000) for the first time, while an additional 36 students have benefited to the tune of €1,000 each, under the University's Bursary scheme. This year's Scholarship winners include Cormac Folan from Barna (Rowing), who was a silver medallist at the World Student Games 2004; David Horkan from Mayo (Soccer) a Harding Cup winner with NUI Galway in 2004; Geraldine Conneally, from Dunmore, Co. Galway (Ladies Gaelic Football), an all Ireland Senior Medallist with Galway 2004; and Sinéad Keane, from Kinvara (Camogie), current wing-back on the Galway Senior Camogie Team. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway says the scheme shows the commitment of the University to supporting and facilitating sporting excellence in its students. "The scheme has been a huge success over the years enabling top calibre student athletes reach their full potential. This initiative shows NUI Galway's commitment to the promotion of sport which is so important in creating a balanced lifestyle for our students," he said. NUI Galway Sports Officer, Tony Regan says the Sports Scholarship Scheme initiative encourages students to participate at the highest levels in sport. "This scheme in a firm indication of our interest in supporting students to participate in all sports at the highest levels." he said. "Since the inception of the scheme, sports scholarship holders have successfully participated in a diverse range of sports at national and international levels right up to and including the Olympic Games". Ends

Thursday, 2 December 2004

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's sixth annual Gala Banquet, which will take place at the Radisson SAS Hotel on Saturday 5th March 2005. The theme of the 2005 Gala Banquet is the University's mission in international education. The Gala will focus on NUI Galway's role as an international force for change in improving educational opportunities for students from developing countries. To underline this global responsibility a major new initiative, the NUI Galway International Scholars programme has been announced. The NUI Galway International Scholars programme is a philanthropic initiative spearheaded by Galway University Foundation who will be working with a range of donors to secure substantial new scholarship funds for postgraduate students from developing countries to study in NUI Galway. Income from the Gala Banquet itself will also contribute to this new initiative. One of the highlights of the evening is the presentation of seven Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievements among the more than 50,000 graduates worldwide. The Alumni Awards are, Medtronic Vascular Award for Health Care and Medical Science; Seavite Award for Natural Science; Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce; Hewlett-Packard Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts; TBD Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics; Duais Hewlett-Packard don Ghaeilge and the NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government. Speaking at this week's reception, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "The University's Gala Banquet has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland. This year the event will celebrate NUI Galway as an international centre of educational excellence. The establishment of the NUI Galway International Scholars programme, which will feature prominently at the Gala, is a major philanthropic initiative which will enable us to help students from developing countries to continue their studies at this University." Ticket for the banquet cost €150 each or a table of 10 for €1,500. For further information, please telephone 091 495266 or Email: Ends

Friday, 31 January 2003

Release date: 30 January, 2003 Spring has sprung with Múscailt 03 NUI Galway's third annual Springtime Festival Múscailt 03 is sure to banish winter blues with its exciting programme of music, art, drama, dance and film. 'Múscailt', meaning to awaken, will take place from the 17-23 February 2003. All events are open to the public and take place in various venues throughout the campus. Sean McGinley, currently starring in the RTÉ series On Home Ground, will officially open the Festival on the 17 February. The theatrical highlight of the festival is Dublin-based Loose Canon Theatre Company's The Duchess of Malfi. This production of John Webster s Jacobean tragedy was critically acclaimed at the 2002 Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival. The musical highlight of Múscailt 03 is the Cole Porter favourite Anything Goes which includes such favourites as I Get a Kick Out of You, You're the Top! and Blow Gabriel Blow and will be presented at the Black Box Theatre. The comedy takes place on a ship bound for England from the United States, it includes an arranged marriage, mistaken identity, gangsters, Wall Street millionaires, stowaways, and nightclub singers. Music of a different kind can be heard in the Aula Maxima on Wed 19 Feb, when the superb concert harpist Máire Ní Chathasaigh who will perform with her husband virtuoso guitarist Chris Newman. Ní Chathasaigh has been a major influence on Irish harp playing and is one of Ireland's leading exponents of the instrument. Also on Wed 19 Feb, the NUI Galway Writers Group will host a special evening of prose and poetry. Guests include Jamie O'Neill, author of the acclaimed novel At Swim, Two Boys, Emily Cullen, former NUI Galway Arts Officer who will read excerpts from her poetry and Rab Fulton, who will read from his new e-novel, The Kiss. Poet, critic and editor of The Burning Bush, Michael S. Begnal, has chosen Múscailt 03 to launch his first collection, The Lakes of Coma. Begnal's work has been widely published and he is currently working on his next collection, Ancestor Worship. The 2003 edition of NUI Galway's own arts magazine Criterion, whose patron is Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, will be launched on Thursday 20 February at a literary evening, which will include readings from contributors to this year's publication. An event not to be missed is the double act of John Spillane and Louis de Paor on Thursday, 21 February. Spillane's voice has been described as "full of honesty, commitment and sensitivity". Poet Louis de Paor, currently the Director of Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has a string of awards to his credit. Their regular, successful collaborations, have been referred to by Spillane as the Gaelic Hit Factory'. A traditional music intervarsity, including workshops in uilleann pipes, sean-nós singing and traditional instruments, will take place throughout the weekend. NUI Galway has a particularly strong art collection of more than one hundred and fifty works representing Irish painting and sculpture across the 20th century. These include paintings by Walter Osborne, Mainie Jellet, Nathaniel Hone, Ann Madden and Robert Ballagh. An exhibition of selected works will be on view throughout the Festival in the University Gallery, Quadrangle. What amounts to a 'festival within a festival' will take place during Múscailt 03 when a film festival will run concurrently with Múscailt. The programme features Italian, American, French and Spanish film with a romantic theme. The Student Societies have a big involvement with this year s festival programme. "Without the vitality, creativity and commitment of the Societies, we wouldn't have such an ambitious and exciting programme" said Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway's Societies Officer. "They have done Trojan work in the last few months and we are confident that Múscailt 03 will be a memorable event." Tickets and Festival programmes are available by contacting: Festival Office at Tel. 091-512062. View programme on Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer. NUI Galway Tel. 091-750418

Tuesday, 28 January 2003

Release date: 27 January, 2003 NUI Galway establishes Huston Film School A Gala Banquet to be held in Los Angeles on May 2nd 2003 will mark the launch of a new school of film and digital media at National University of Ireland, Galway. The school will be known as the Huston School in tribute to John Huston, one of the 20th century's most respected directors who drew much of his inspiration from St Clerans, the family home in Galway. This major initiative represents a significant commitment by NUI Galway to the training of critically- and historically-informed screenwriters and filmmakers. The School will offer postgraduate training and education in aspects of film and digital media, with a special emphasis on the potential of new technologies for cinematic storytelling and documentary production. The ethos of the School is one that seeks to make a virtue of Ireland's special position as a potential 'contact zone' between the disparate traditions of American and European cinema, and will foster a critical awareness of both mainstream and alternative film traditions, including those of non-western cultures. The School will seek to promote excellence in Irish screenwriting, and to explore the creative possibilities of new technologies for storytelling and representation, especially the medium of digital video. It will benefit from synergy with other developments in the university and will establish links with the existing film and creative culture of the Galway region. The school will have a full time Director with support from Coca-Cola HBC. Programmes will commence in Autumn 2003. The Huston Gala at Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles will bring together those associated with the Hustons, the film industry, academia and the many people who celebrate the links between Ireland and Hollywood. Income from the Gala will generate scholarship support for students. Anjelica Huston, School Patron in welcoming the project, said that "this event recognises the deep relationships that bind Ireland and California, both past and present. St Cleran's was a major part of our family s life. The Huston School will ensure that Ireland continues to bring its many creative talents to a world audience. I am delighted to be associated with the new school and look forward to welcoming friends from all over the world for a terrific launch ceremony on May 2nd." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said that "this is a wonderful project for the University. It is a natural for us and brings together cultural and commercial elements in a way that is highly relevant to Galway and to our world today. With the pace of change in modern technology, the University has an obligation to give a strong lead." ENDS Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; Mobile 087-2986592

Friday, 24 January 2003

Release date: 24 January 2003 Report from NUI Galway calls for new UN Treaty to protect people with Disabilities A major report launched today (Friday January 24th 2003) entitled "Human Rights and Disability: the current use and future potential of the United Nations human rights instruments in the context of disability" calls for a new UN Treaty on the rights of people with disabilities as the most effective way of guaranteeing those rights. The report was launched by Mr Tom Kitt T.D., Minister for State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and was carried out by a research team based in the Faculty of Law in NUI Galway, under the direction of Professor Gerard Quinn. The Report argues that a new UN treaty for peoples with disabilities would focus attention on disability and tailor general human rights norms to meet particular circumstances of persons with disabilities. It would add visibility to the disability issue within the human rights system and State parties would be clearer on their precise obligations in the disability field. Civil society would also be able to focus on one coherent set of norms rather than six different sets of norms. The Report also recommends that: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights actively considers the appointment of a special rapporteur on the human rights of persons with disabilities National human rights institutions form a forum or working group on disability and human rights NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) combine their resources to form an international Disability Human Rights Watch, to help raise levels of awareness and human rights capacities within the disability sector Donor countries fund human rights projects in the area of disability as part of their development, democratisation and human rights programmes in developing countries According to Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the NUI, Galway Law School, "The core problem in the field of disability is the relative invisibility of persons with disabilities, both in society and under the existing international human rights instruments. What people with disabilities aspire to most is to have access to the same rights – and civic responsibilities – as all other persons". Approximately 600 million people or 10% of the world's population have a disability of one form or another. More than four fifths of them live in developing countries. Only 2% of disabled children in the developing world receive any education or rehabilitation. "The link between disability and poverty and social exclusion is direct and strong throughout the world", says Professor Quinn. "However, a dramatic shift in perspective has taken place over the last two decades from an approach motivated by charity towards the disabled, to one based on rights". There are currently six UN Conventions, aspects of which are relevant to peoples with disabilities. These include treatment of prisoners, the rights of the child, discrimination against women, and treatment of racial and minority groups. However, the authors of the Report claim that the adoption of a thematic treaty on the rights of persons with disability would underpin rather than undermine the web of existing human rights treaties insofar as they relate to disability. The Report was commissioned by the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights and funding for the project came mainly through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 20 January 2003

Release date: 20 January, 2003 Newly appointed Writers-in-Residence at NUI Galway Two new Writers-in-Residence have taken up their posts within the English and Irish Departments at NUI Galway. After a full appraisal of their residency schemes, the Arts Council has devised a new structure of long-term writer-in-residency University Partnerships of two to three years duration and NUI Galway is the first university to implement this new scheme under the Council s new Arts Plan. Mike McCormack and Pádraig Ó Cíobháin are the new writers-in-residence. Born in London, 1965, Mike McCormack has lived all his life in the west of Ireland. Educated in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, he took a degree in English and Philosophy in NUI Galway in 1988. In 1996 he published his first book, a collection of short stories, Getting It In the Head, which won the title of 'New York Times Book of the Year' and 'Guardian Book of the Year'. This was followed two years later by his first novel, Crowe's Requiem. Both books appeared in American and Norwegian editions. Mike lives in Galway city and is currently finishing his second novel. Novelist and short story writer, Pádraig Ó Cíobháin hails from the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht in Co. Kerry and is no stranger to NUI Galway having tutored previously at Scoil na Gaeilge on campus. A novelist and short story writer, Ó Ciobháin has won prizes at the Oireachtas and at Listowel Writers Week. The Arts Council and Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge awarded him a bursary to write a Galway-based novel entitled Ré an Charbaid. His other works include Le Gealaigh, Ar Gach Maoilinn Tá Síocháin, Tá Solas ná hÉagann Previous writers-in-residence at NUI Galway have included Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Rita Ann Higgins, John McGahern, Ré Ó Laighléis, Pat McCabe and Vincent Woods. The purpose of the residencies is interaction between the writer and student/staff population and the community, and development of the writer s own work. Watch out for details of creative writing workshops and special readings coming up soon. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418