Wednesday, 20 June 2001

Release date: 20 June, 2001 NUI, Galway Health Promotion Conference to address issues of Social Capital The Department of Health Promotion, National University of Ireland, Galway in association with the Western, North Western and Mid-Western Health Boards will host a Conference on Health Promotion and Social Capital, on Thursday and Friday, 28 and 29 June, 2001 at the National University of Ireland, Galway. One of the current concepts creating interest among health promoters is social capital. The concept of social capital is based on the assumption that communities with good communication networks and supports, as well as a positive cultural identity, will enhance both individual and community well-being and hence promote health. However, like all new concepts there remains questions and paradoxes to be explored. The Conference programme will include Plenary Sessions which will feature keynote speakers from Ireland, United States and Germany looking at accounts of social capital: the mixed health effects of personal communities and voluntary groups, health and inequalities, social exchange and health, and a proposed sociological framework. Tom Healy, Department of Education and Science, Ireland will open the forum with an exploration of the concept of social capital and related concepts. He will go on to consider the findings, focusing on health and personal well being impacts of a recently completed international survey on social capital which he undertook at the OECD. The second keynote speaker is Professor Stephen Kunitz from the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, New York. His paper will focus on the use of the concept of social capital in the fields of public health and health promotion. He will argue that empirical data suggests that social capital has mixed effects, sometimes associated with improvements in health and at other times with diminished health. Professor Brian Nolan and Dr. Richard Layte, ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute), will present a joint paper on Health Inequalities in Ireland. They will summarise what is known about the overall extent of health inequalities in Ireland, highlight the serious gaps in our knowledge, set out the agenda for research to fill those gaps and discuss key issues in framing a policy response. Professor Johannes Siegrist, Department of Medical Sociology, University of Dusseldorf, Germany will deliver a paper on "Social differentials of adult morbidity: the role of effort-reward imbalances at work", which will focus on exposure to a stressful psychosocial environment as one of several explanations of social differentials of morbidity in adult life. He will look at place, social exchange and health and discuss the health policy implications and scientific challenges from demonstrated results. The Symposium will present progress of work undertaken to-date by The HRB Research Unit on Health Status and Health Gain, which was established at the Centre for Health Promotion Studies in NUI, Galway. Professor Cecily Kelleher will present an overview of Health and Social Gain in Ireland, while Professor Andrew Murphy, Department of General Practice, NUI, Galway will focus on Primary Care: Urban and Rural comparisons. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 13 June 2001

Release date: 13 June, 2001 Breakthrough for Communities of the West - University President accepts Taoiseach's challenge on Social Capital The President of National University of Ireland, Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh today (Wednesday, 13 June) announced a major breakthrough in University support for the local communities of the West of Ireland. Entitled the New Economy Initiative , NUI, Galway in partnership with Kiltimagh community in Co. Mayo, is proposing a radically new approach to address the challenges of isolation, decline and disadvantage, increasingly prevalent not just in rural but also in urban communities. Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh explained that the initiative is a two-way process with communities, to generate and disseminate knowledge and support in order to improve the quality of life for all. "What is unique about the new approach and why it will succeed" he said, " is that it will bring mutual benefits. Both NUI, Galway and Kiltimagh will gain through Experiential Learning Programmes, as students and staff engage voluntarily with communities, business and the public sector." Internationally, there is widespread concern with a break down in community values in developed countries and unacceptable levels of isolation, loneliness and social disintegration, to which Ireland is not immune. The Taoiseach recently spoke of the importance of building social capital and putting "communities at the centre of our debates". Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh said that NUI, Galway is accepting the Taoiseach's challenge and will develop and implement social capital systems. President Ó Muircheartaigh explained that like all great innovations, social capital is essentially simple and pragmatic. It makes it worth people s time to be mutually supportive. "Like financial capital, it operates a banking system and rewards people through time-credits. A bank of knowledge, skills, experience and general help is built up in a community from which people participating can withdraw." There are now more than 1000 social capital initiatives worldwide in the USA, Japan and the UK.The President stressed the importance of community spirit, defining it as the sense of belonging to a locality and expressed through mutual support. "Mutual support and cohesion is a major competitive advantage over the pursuit of individualism and the anonymity characteristic of many large urban settlements", he said. "It follows that new social capital systems, which promote mutual support, harnessing the extraordinary power of computers, e-commerce and the Internet, can build social and economic strengths and individual well-being. President Ó Muircheartaigh announced a major developmental strategy estimated to cost £7.9 million over 5 years for which the University is seeking support. This includes: - A Social Capital Banking System at NUI, Galway - Experiential Learning and Accreditation - Grants to local communities for Social Capital Banks - A Chair in New Economics endowed in perpetuity - Building an Outreach Campus in Kiltimagh - Doctoral and Post Doctoral Fellowships and Library Acquisitions. Welcoming the announcement of the New Economy Initiative, Mr Brian Mooney, Chairman, IRD Kiltimagh said: "This provides an exciting and practical approach to the problems facing communities in decline. The four strands of the Initiative shall serve to give a new impetus and importance to the role of communities in deciding their own futures in association with State Agencies and Local Authorities. The overall Initiative should also help overcome the decline in volunteering, exacerbated in part by the Celtic Tiger. This is particularly timely in this, 'The Year of the Volunteer'. The benefits to Community and Rural Development will be manifold. The New Economy Initiative will provide an engine not only for the community sector to pursue their ambitions but also to the State Agencies who will now have a vehicle to work through in each local area, thereby making their role all the more impacting and efficient . "He particularly praised the President and Staff of NUI, Galway whose "dedication and vision of service to the community has been exemplary and visionary throughout the evolution of the project. As a result of the New Economy Initiative, I hope that communities, throughout Ireland, rural and urban, grasp the opportunity to develop into sustainable entities, attractive to the younger generations and that the curse of emigration that we had come to accept, will be banished forever" he concluded. Ends For further details: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Office, NUI, Galway Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 6 June 2001

Release date: 6 June, 2001 International Conference highlights the benefits of Supporting Parents in helping troubled children New evidence that direct support to parents is a key ingredient in helping children who are experiencing problems, will be presented at the first International Conference on Family Support Evaluation to be held in Ireland. The two-day conference, which will take place in NUI, Galway tomorrow and Friday (7 and 8 June), will be officially opened by Mary Banotti, MEP. One of the keynote speakers, Dr Kieran McKeown, will deliver a paper on the evaluation of the Irish National Springboard Family Support Programme, a nation-wide set of 15 community based family support projects. Dr. McKeown says that "preventive community based programmes are not just beneficial to the children who attend but also act as a strong source of support to parents". His evaluation report will demonstrate how the Springboard Projects work with children, adolescents and parents, who are experiencing or are likely to experience personal difficulties such as financial problems, early school leaving, parenting problems, and young people with challenging behaviours. Dr McKeown emphasises the importance of early intervention and professionals as key sources of support to families. Speakers from the EU, South Africa, USA and the UK will all echo the importance of more comprehensive research into what works for families in adversity. Dr. Heather Weiss, of the Harvard Family Research Project will speak on Principles of Family Support Evaluation , while Professor Marian Jacobs of South Africa s Child Health Unit, will speak on Making Evaluation central to Building Family Support Provision The conference is particularly timely for the Western Health Board in that Family Support has become a central part of its services, with the number of Family Support projects growing from two in 1995 to twenty two in 2001. Commitment to family support has also been included in the Board s forthcoming strategic plan for children and families. The conference is jointly organised by the Western Health Board; National University of Ireland, Galway; and Family Support Evaluation Network International. "If there is to be a real shift in government policy toward preventative, family support approaches, it will require a commitment to evaluation of all such projects and programmes, said John Canavan, NUI Galway . "Policy change requires strong evidence - this conference is about the means of generating the evidence". "In order to help families and to lessen the cost of expensive forms of care for children, not alone is there a need for more family support services, but also clearer research into how best to support families in ways that make a difference for them," said Pat Dolan, Western Health Board. "This conference is a forum for discovering ways in which best practice in working with children and families can be identified and validated," he said. More than 250 delegates, including a wide range of professionals who work with families, policy makers, researchers and evaluators in Ireland and abroad, are expected to attend the conference. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418 Miriam Stack, Director of Communications, Western Health Board. Tel. 091 775474

Thursday, 26 July 2001

Release date: Tuesday 10 July, 2001 Report recommends New Approaches to Water Quality Monitoring in Western Irish Lakes "The ecological integrity of the flora and fauna in the country's lakes can provide an early warning system for impending problems in lake water quality and when used in conjunction with systematic analyses of water chemistry and monitoring of nutrient inputs, help in the protection of Irish lakes", according to Dr. Kieran McCarthy of NUI, Galway's Department of Zoology and author of a new environmental report. The results of the three-year research programme on six large western lakes (Loughs Carromore, Conn, Cullen, Carra, Mask and Corrib), undertaken by NUI, Galway in partnership with the Central Fisheries Board and Aquafact Ltd, have just been published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Report is entitled, Investigation of Eutrophication Processes in the Littoral Zones of Western Irish Lakes.The report describes research on a variety of aspects of the lakes, including their planktonic algae, submerged plants, aquatic insects, sediments, water circulation and fishes. The studies have shown that though localised signs of pollution were detected in all the water-bodies, and significant enrichment was noted in Loughs Carromore, Conn and Cullen, the lakes of the Corrib catchment have so far escaped the more serious effects of eutrophication that can be noted in most of Ireland's other large lakes. The main conclusions of the report were: Though water quality in the western lakes was generally better than some previous press reports suggested, three of the six lakes studied showed signs of eutrophication and localised signs of enrichment were evident in all of them. Many unique features of the lake ecosystems are being lost (e.g. Arctic Char are now gone from Loughs Conn and Corrib), due to the combined effects of environmental deterioration and the introduction of species not native to the lakes. Conservation of the unique plant and animal communities of the lakes is important and maintaining their ecological integrity can serve to ensure their use for domestic water supply, angling and other recreational purposes. Dr. McCarthy expressed concern that introductions of non-native aquatic invertebrates and fish parasites could adversely affect the many interesting species of aquatic plants and animals that are typical of the lakes. "Studies on these unique elements of the lakes' communities are important and ensuring their survival might be one of the best ways of guarding the lakes against early stages of enrichment and other undesired environmental changes", he said. Welcoming the continuing support shown by local anglers for the University's freshwater research programmes, Dr McCarthy pointed out that the role they played in reporting pollution events and other unwelcome changes to our lakes was a vital one. "The long hours that anglers spend on or near the lakes or their in-flowing streams and rivers, provides them with ideal opportunities to observe fish and wildlife habitat conditions", he said. "However, anglers' contributions to lake water quality monitoring could be extended and more effectively linked to the work of the fishery boards and long-term EPA surveys. Anglers could systematically record localised algal blooms and other visible evidence of fish habitat degradation. They can also be effective environmental guardians by helping to keep out unwanted species introductions". Irish anglers have in recent years been active in preventing the spread of the zebra mussel from the Shannon lakes to the great trout fishing lakes in the West. Ireland's lakes are now home to an increasing variety of alien species, like North American crustaceans and Japanese fish parasites. Some of these species introductions may in time cause unexpected changes in the lake ecosystems, to the detriment of fisheries and maybe even, like the Shannon's zebra mussel invaders, to water quality parameters. The report also indicates that dense coarse-fish populations can affect lake ecology and strongly recommends that the unique fish community of Lough Mask deserves special protection from further fish species introductions. Unfortunately, roach have found their way from Lough Corrib to Lough Mask in the past few years and concern is being expressed about the effects they may have on the currently healthy char stocks there. Also, roach and gradual environmental change may result in the loss of other unusual inhabitants of the deep cool clear waters of the lake. Lough Mask is home to such species as the blind white crustacean, Niphargus kochianus hibernicus, a creature more typical of subterranean waters and not found in any other Irish lake bottoms. Also found in the lake are rare insects, like the non-biting midge Corynocera ambigua, that are thought invaded its waters soon after the retreat of glacial ice sheets over 10,000 years ago. Studying and attempting to protect these interesting lake dwelling invertebrates may, according to Dr. McCarthy help focus attention on the need to guard against even apparently minor changes in the ecology of the lakes. The main recommendations of the report were: Nutrient inputs to the lakes and the variations in chlorophyll levels, and other water quality parameters, should be monitored more systematically. A more comprehensive ecological approach to monitoring the lakes should be adopted, involving new biomonitoring techniques discussed in the report. should be paid to all adverse environmental changes, not simply nutrient enrichment. Avoidance of species introductions to the lakes, including transfers of coarse fish from other parts of Ireland, is important. Research on the unique elements of the flora and fauna of the lakes is recommended as these ecologically sensitive species may provide early warning signs of environmental change not yet affecting more abundant and widespread aquatic plants and animals. This project was part-funded by the European Regional development Fund through the Operational Programme for Environmental Services, 1994-1999. The NUI, Galway research team has recently started a new inter-disciplinary study of Lough Corrib involving co-operation between the University's Departments of Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Hydrology and Geology, funded by the Higher Education Authority, as part of a major programme of environmental research linked to the establishment on campus of a new Environmental Change Institute. The recent purchase of a new research boat for the Lough Corrib study is, according to Dr Mc Carthy, an indication of the university's commitment to long-term studies of the lakes in the Corrib/ Mask system. "NUI, Galway is uniquely located, among Irish universities, for such limnological research, as its riverside campus is just a few miles down stream from Lough Corrib and research workers can easily travel directly from their laboratories to the lake. Use of the new boat will enable researchers to further develop the new lake monitoring protocols recommended in their report now released by the EPA and to enable young researchers to learn about the intricacies of freshwater ecology on one of Ireland's most beautiful water-bodies", he said. ENDS Tel. 091 750418

Thursday, 26 July 2001

Release date: 17 July, 2001 NUI, Galway Research Shows Serious Decline in Eel Stocks In Ireland over 1,000 tonnes of eels, valued at £5 million, are captured annually. Most are exported to the continent, in particular to Holland and Germany, where eel is more of a delicacy than salmon and priced accordingly. The eel is generally regarded as a typical member of the fish communities that inhabit Ireland s lakes and rivers. Frequently, scientific surveys have shown it to be among the more abundant species present in lowland river reaches and coastal streams. Indeed, in some isolated western Irish streams, like several on Clare Island, Co. Mayo, it may be the only fish species present. Ease of natural recruitment to Ireland s inland waters by juvenile eels is thought to be a major factor in the success of the species here. Young eels that travelled thousands of miles across the Atlantic on the Gulf Stream current from spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea, have in the past migrated into Ireland s rivers in spring and early summer each year in large numbers. However, the situation is deteriorating and according to Dr Kieran McCarthy, of NUI Galway s Department of Zoology, a steady decline has been recorded in the quantities of elvers (young eels), entering Irish rivers. The River Shannon eel stock has experienced a steady decline in natural recruitment over the past three decades. The numbers of juvenile eels trapped at Ardnacrusha for stocking the Shannon lakes, has dropped from a peak of almost 7 tonnes in 1979, to an average of less than half a tonne in the past decade. Similarly, the numbers captured leaving the river as mature silver eels, migrating to their spawning area in the Sargasso Sea, has declined from an average of 28 tonnes per year in the 1980s and early 1990s to an average of 10 tonnes since the mid 1990s. Although natural recruitment of juveniles to the river is the principal cause of the decline, other threats to the species include water quality problems and the spread of oriental eel parasites, accidentally introduced in recent years. The serious decline in juvenile eel numbers has also been observed elsewhere in Europe and the eel fisheries of countries from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean area are being seriously affected. According to Dr McCarthy, "the available evidence suggests that the decline in juvenile eel populations arriving in European coastal zones is due to climatic effects on ocean currents. The Gulf stream, to which Ireland owes its mild climate, is also very important in marine ecology. Declines in eel, Atlantic salmon and other migratory fish, may be due to the changes in oceanic circulation patterns caused by global warming". Having arrived safely in Ireland s rivers, eels often encounter many obstacles, which prevent them reaching lakes where most of the eel fishing takes place. Dr. McCarthy suggests that in order to facilitate their up-river journey, eel ladders should be installed at obstacles in rivers, which would help the eels on their way just as special fish passes in many Irish rivers, enable salmon to move upstream. Irish eel researchers and fishery managers have played a pioneering role in the development of eel stock monitoring protocols and stock enhancement measures. At present, most of the eels caught in Ireland are from the intensively managed Lough Neagh fishery. It has been calculated that the productivity of our eel fisheries could be doubled or trebled, through scientifically managed stocking programmes. However, this will not be possible if the overall European stocks of eels are not conserved. Sustainable exploitation of eel fisheries requires development of an international management plan. At a meeting in NUI, Galway last week, scientists from Sweden, Germany, Belgium, France, and Portugal discussed with eel researchers from Galway and Northern Ireland, the possible ways in which this goal might be reached. They called on national government agencies, including the Department of Marine and Natural Resources, to encourage the EU to provide on-going support for research on eels. ENDS Tel: 091-750418

Wednesday, 19 September 2001

Release date: 19 September, 2001 IT Expert emphasises the continuing need for skilled workforce Tánaiste opens £9.5 million IT Building at NUI Galway "Although the IT industry is undoubtedly experiencing difficulties at present, we should not be deflected from creating a highly skilled workforce to take advantage of the economic recovery that will follow the current temporary downturn." That is the strong message from Professor Gerry Lyons, Director of the School of IT in NUI, Galway. Professor Lyons was speaking at the opening of a £9.5 million IT building, which An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD, officially opened at the University today (Wednesday, 19 September). Opening the facility the Tánaiste said "Investment in skills and the promotion of close links between third level institutions and industry is central to Ireland s strategy to weather the current downturn in the IT industry". "The experience of Galway shows clearly the effectiveness of this approach. Following the closure of Digital it was the availability of skilled people and the willingness of the education sector to work closely with business that led to the regeneration of the high tech sector in Galway and the creation of the vibrant City that we see today. This investment will ensure that this positive development is sustained into the future," the Tánaiste added. The horrific terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York was not only a human tragedy of enormous proportions but also a body-blow to the American, and by extension the global economy. "However, given the robust, resilient nature of the US business sector, recovery will probably take place much quicker than we can at present forecast", says Professor Lyons. He predicts that further contraction will indeed take place throughout this year, followed by gradual recovery in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) consumer and investor confidence in 2002. Recovery will continue thereafter as excess inventory is replaced with a more market-balanced supply-demand capacity and the rate of innovation increases again. "The IT industry has a high "clockspeed", i.e. a shorter expansion/contraction cycle than most traditional industries", says Professor Lyons. "These are indeed dark days in the aftermath of the US attacks. However, as recovery resumes, it will bring with it a new wave of innovation and Ireland must be in a position to participate in those developments. A reduction in demand for third-level IT programmes this year is short-sighted in Professor Lyons's view. "It takes four years to produce an IT graduate and there is still a supply shortfall in the numbers of these graduates, who do after all not work exclusively in the ICT sector. Their skills are required across all industries, business and public services – in any human or economic activity that relies on computing and communications technology". Professor Lyons also urges development of an indigenous IT sector. "Ireland has a world-wide reputation as a leader in the ICT industry", he says. "However, we must promote more indigenous innovation and creation of ICT businesses that can scale-up to play on an international platform". Israel for instance, which is comparable in size to Ireland, has nearly as many companies listed on NASDAQ as Europe does. Ireland is no longer a low labour cost economy and high volume labour intensive manufacturing operations will increasingly move to Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Ireland is already becoming established as a post-industrial, information intensive, high-cost, high-skilled economy, much like Switzerland or Sweden. "The only sustainable raw material for such an economy is a highly educated, technologically advanced workforce", says Professor Lyons. "This means not just primary degree graduates in IT, Engineering and Science, but an increasing investment in fourth level graduates - specialists who have completed postgraduate degrees and developed research skills to fuel the indigenous product development industry." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway said that the new IT Building was a "vote of confidence in the future of IT in Ireland. This sector has brought tremendous success and prosperity to this country in recent years", he said. "It is important that we provide the most modern facilities to enable our students acquire the skills and training required to meet the technological challenges presented in the new millennium." The new building is a major element of the University s £45 million capital development programme, which was launched in 1998. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway Tel. 091-750418

Thursday, 13 September 2001

Release date: 13 September, 2001 University response to US Attacks NUI, Galway shares pain of US students and staff The impact of recent events in the US has been felt globally. NUI, Galway has implemented a range of measures to help the 400 US staff and students at the campus. Students support services such as counselling and chaplaincy have been intensified and a special Ecumenical Prayer service held to reflect the solidarity and support for the US staff and students, many of whom have been affected by the recent events in New York and Washington. The University has also announced that the annual Gala Banquet scheduled to take place on 6 October, has been postponed as a mark of respect to the victims of this week's terrorist attacks in the United States. "The University has an extensive range of links with many institutions and individuals in the US said Professor Ruth Curtis, Vice-President for Development and External Affairs, NUI, Galway. We have collaborative links with many American third level institutions in areas of research, teaching and student exchange. In addition, many of the University's 40,000 graduates live and work in the United States. The University also has close links with US companies based in Galway and the West region. These important relationships, and our US students and staff on campus highlight how we are all brought into close contact with the terrible events of recent days." According to Professor Curtis the University s "main concern right now is for the 400 US students who have registered at NUI, Galway for their Junior Year Abroad programme. Many of these young people are very upset and far from home and the support which we give them at this time is vital. Student counsellors and chaplains have been inundated and have reacted by setting up a Support Centre with facilities including counselling and medical services and a bank of telephones to enable them speak with their friends and relatives in the US. Taking all those factors into account, it was decided it would be inappropriate to hold a celebratory event, such as the Gala Banquet at this time. The annual Gala Banquet is the social highlight of the University calendar, with distinguished guests travelling from many countries, including the US, to renew old acquaintances, mark developments in the University and celebrate alumni achievement. "We are postponing this event, preparations for which were well advanced, to demonstrate our solidarity with the four hundred US students and staff on campus", said Professor Curtis. The Gala Banquet will now take place on Saturday, 2 March, 2002 in the Radisson SAS Hotel. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418. Mobile: 087 2986592

Wednesday, 12 September 2001

Tá lá náisiunta dobhróin fógartha ag an Taoiseach ag éirí as na heachtraí uafáis sna Stáit Aontaithe inné. Dé hAoine, Meán Fómhair 14 an lá atá i gceist, agus tá cinneadh déanta go ndúnfar oifigí uile na hOllscoile an lá sin, agus gcuirfear imeachtaí uile na hOllscoile an lá sin ar ceal. _____________________________ In the light of the declaration by An Taoiseach that Friday, September 14 is to be a national day of mourning arising from the tragic events in the United States yesterday, it has been decided that all offices in the University will be closed on that day, and that all University activities on that day will be cancelled.

Monday, 10 September 2001

Release date: 3rd September, 2001 Advocating the Abolition of the Death Penalty World-wide Abolition of the death penalty is very much at the centre of the international human rights agenda, with major diplomatic initiatives being undertaken by the Council of Europe and the European Union. In June 2001, Ireland s constitution was amended to prohibit capital punishment following a successful referendum. Internationally, however, the principal concern remains the extensive use of the death penalty in the United States and China. In fact, there are still 86 countries which continue to use the death penalty. During 2000, at least 1,457 prisoners were executed and 3,058 people were sentenced to death. Leading international specialists on capital punishment will meet in the Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway, September 21-22, for a symposium on abolition of the death penalty, under the auspices of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, and the Centre de Recherche sur les Droits de l'Homme, Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II. The conclusions of the conference are to be delivered by Senator Robert Badinter, one of France s leading statesmen, who was Minister of Justice in 1981 when France abolished capital punishment. The conference will also be addressed by Professor William A. Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, who is recognised as one of the leading international authorities on capital punishment, particularly in its international legal dimensions. His two books on the subject have been cited by the United States Supreme Court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of the Philippines and numerous appellate courts. Other speakers at the conference include academics, international officials and activists involved in work on the subject, in Europe and North America. This conference forms a centre-piece of the strategy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in advocating the abolition of the death penalty world-wide. Ends Further details from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Sunday, 9 September 2001

Release date: Monday, 10 September, 2001 Leading Irish Artists to talk at NUI Galway NUI, Galway will host Talking Through Their Arts, a series of illustrated talks by six major Irish artists between September and December 2001. This initiative follows on from the highly popular Introduction to Contemporary Irish Art series, which the University hosted in Autumn/Winter 2000. The featured artists work in a variety of media including video and new technologies, performance, sculpture, painting etc. and are among the nation's leaders in each of their chosen fields. The general public is once again invited to enjoy these talks which will give voice to the individual creative process and, in so doing, bring to light issues in contemporary Irish art. Each of the artists will survey their own work using slides, discuss their art-making process and share their thoughts on Irish art today. The talks take place fortnightly, on Tuesdays, in the Ó hEocha Theatre, in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI, Galway. Tickets are £3/£2 per session or £15/£10 for a season ticket and are available at the door. The first talk in the series will begin on 25 September. Tuesday 25 September : Nigel Rolfe - Performance Artist Tuesday 9 October : Alanna O'Kelly - Multimedia Artist Tuesday 23 October : Dermot Seymour - Graphic Artist Tuesday 6 November : Gwen O'Dowd - Abstract Painter Tuesday 20 November : Robert Ballagh - Pop Artist / Designer Tuesday 4 December : Eilís O'Connell - Sculptor / Public Art Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway Tel. 091 750418

Thursday, 6 September 2001

Release date: 5 September, 2001 NUI Galway hosts Maximising Performance in Sport Conference Pressure to win at all costs sometimes puts intolerable pressure on those engaged in competitive sport. This is manifested in a variety of ways from excessive training to competing while suffering an injury, to taking banned substances in order to enhance performance. A seminar, which will take place in NUI, Galway on Saturday 15 September, 2000, will address these and other issues relating to the demanding world of competitive sport. Among the guest speakers will be Kenny McMillan, Sports Physiologist with Glasgow Celtic Football Club. He will focus on the role of the Sports Physiologist at a professional football club and will highlight the growing importance of physiology in professional football and the move away from more traditional methods of training and preparation. Mr. McMillan will discuss the main aspects of the Sports Physiologist¹s role, which include fitness assessment, fitness conditioning, monitoring of training workload and intensity, rehabilitation and research. The seminar is being co-ordinated by Dr Aideen Henry who is Sports Medicine Physician and lecturer in Sports and Exercise Physiology at NUI, Galway and by Dr John Newell, Lecturer in Statistics at NUI, Galway. Dr Henry works with the Connaught Rugby Team as Team Doctor. One of the topics Dr. Henry will address is the controversial use of Creatine and the fact that some studies show improvement, particularly in repeat sprint performance in athletes who take high doses of Creatine. However Dr. Henry will present the arguments against Creatine use which include weight gain; potential kidney damage; the threat to endogenous Creatine production; the fact that long-term side effects are not known; and Creatine is not FDA approved. In terms of endogenous Creatine production, Dr. Henry explains that the dose taken by athletes is 20 times the normal dietary intake. It is equivalent to five steaks a day, then the internal Creatine production is switched off. We do not know if this is reversible when Creatine supplementation is stopped. Dr Henry will also discuss problems encountered by girls and women in sport and in particular the Female Athlete Triad. This condition, first defined in 1993, includes disordered eating, amenorrhea (absence of normal periods for more than three consecutive months) and osteoporosis. The cause of female athlete triad stems from the internal and external pressures on girls and young women to achieve and maintain an unrealistically low body weight. Other speakers at the seminar include Mary Walsh, chartered physiotherapist, who has been associated with the Irish Underage International Rugby Team, Irish Hockey Teams and Inter-County and club Hurling and Football teams. She will discuss methods of injury rehabilitation and prevention. Dr Alan Ringland will speak on Psychological Techniques to improve Performance . Dr Ringland is Sports psychologist with Warrington Rugby League Club, the Lawn Tennis Association, the Irish Paralympic Boccia Team and the Cavan Football and Limerick Hurling teams. Maria Keane is a Sports Nutritionist based in Limerick Regional Hospital, will speak on Nutrition for Optimal performance . For registration and further information, please telephone 091 524411, ext. 2761; http://stokes.nuigalway.ie/~jnewell/max Dr. Aideen Henry is available for interview on her conference paper and the programme content. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 31 October 2001

Release date: 31 October 2001 Irish Centre for Human Rights to lead major EU-China Human Rights Project Human Rights abuses in China have long been a matter of international concern but there was a perception that world opinion was a matter of indifference to the Chinese authorities. In recent years however, China has opened up considerably to the outside world and with that openness comes a recognition of the necessity to address and improve the country's human rights record. The Irish Centre for Human Rights, which is based in NUI, Galway will coordinate a €1.5 million three-year project, financed by the European Commission, to promote the ratification and implementation of the international human rights covenants in China. The programme involves fifteen European human rights centres, one from each member state, and the same number of Chinese institutions. A wide range of human rights issues will be addressed, including capital punishment, torture, the right to education, labour standards and the right to a fair trial. The working languages of the project are English, French and Chinese. "In the last few years China has shown increasing willingness to accept the role of International human rights monitoring mechanisms," says Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. "Consequently, it has ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and is preparing to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is essential however, that China's commitments go beyond simply formalistic gestures and that they be given substance. The idea behind the EU-China project is that European human rights specialists can contribute to the process of human rights monitoring in China by adding their expertise," he said. A series of academic seminars, as well as exchanges and internships, are at the core of the project. The initial seminar will be held in Galway, at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, where the project secretariat will be located on a permanent basis. Themes of the seminars are to be determined by the network steering committee, which is composed of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the University of Paris II, the University of Essex, the University of Milan and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Aside from the seminars there is an important component in the training of Chinese human rights practitioners and this will include lawyers, academics and government officials in various aspects of human rights law and practice. Professor Schabas acknowledges that China's concern about International Human Rights standards can be understood in the context of the country's desire to be a full player in international affairs, including the development of economic links and cultural manifestations such as the Olympic Games 2008. "There is now an openness within China to international human rights that everybody who is familiar with the situation has noticed," says Professor Schabas, who visited Beijing last May as part of developing the current project. "It was very clear that debate evolves very, very rapidly in China on the subject of human rights," he says. "Everybody agreed that the kind of discussions and the level of exchange we had in May could not have taken place two or three years ago. Circumstances are more welcoming to this kind of activity than they have been at any time in the past," he said. "This is the first major research grant obtained by the Irish Centre for Human Rights since its inauguration in February 2000," said Professor William Schabas. "We are honoured to have been given such responsibility in this important field, and look forward to our role as a focal point for EU initiatives with respect to human rights in China." Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418 Note on Professor William A. Schabas: Professor Schabas was named to NUI Galway's new professorship in human rights law in 1999 and is the Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, which was launched in 2000. He is an internationally-recognised scholar in the field of human rights. He publishes and lectures throughout the world on a wide range of human rights issues. His seminal publications include: The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Genocide in International Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000). His expertise is regularly solicited by international human rights non-governmental organisations, on whose behalf he has conducted missions in Africa, Asia and South America. He has quite specific expertise in the following areas: genocide, minority rights, humanitarian intervention, human rights during armed conflict, abolition of capital punishment, the right to a fair trial, the history of human rights.

Wednesday, 24 October 2001

Release date: 24 October, 2001 Major Exhibition of Seán Keating s Paintings comes to Galway A unique exhibition of the work of one of Ireland s most respected artists will be on view at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway from Wednesday, 31 October to Monday, 5 November, 2001. Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway will officially open the Exhibition on Tuesday 30th October 2001 at 7.00pm. The Exhibition in NUI, Galway is organised in association with the ESB and includes 18 paintings depicting the story of the development of Ardnacrusha. Fifteen of these paintings are provided from the ESB's own art collection. The painting The Key Men" was made available by kind permission of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland; "Night's Candles are Burnt Out" (1929), was made available by kind permission of the Oldham Art Gallery and Museum, UK; and "The Bunk House" was made available by the kind permission of a private collector. The work of Seán Keating RHA (1889-1977), spanned an exciting era of Ireland s history when the nation emerged from centuries of repression. Keating was awarded perhaps one of the most important commissions when he was allowed to record on canvas the construction of the Shannon Scheme including Ardnacrusha, the ESB Power Station on the Shannon. The portfolio of work created is staggering in impact and scope, providing a vibrant vision of the progress of the work itself, along with a clear insight to the minds of those responsible for completing the most significant transformation in the history of the Free State. Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway said that the West of Ireland, Galway and the Aran Islands in particular, had a lasting influence on Keating throughout his life. "NUI Galway is, therefore, a very appropriate place to celebrate the artist's achievements by the staging of this wonderful Exhibition", he said. ESB Chief Executive, Ken O Hara said that the Keating paintings are among the most prized possessions in ESB s art collection. "Keating s paintings are not just drawings, sketches and paintings of a major project. They capture the spirit, ingenuity and perseverance of those responsible for making a major contribution to the transformation of our society. They reflect in essence the raison d etre of the ESB", he said. To mark the coming of the Keating Exhibition to Galway, a number of public lectures will take place in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle, NUI, Galway. These include:  Cumann Céimithe na Gaillimhe Christy Townley Biennial Lecture at 8.00 p.m., on Wednesday 31 October. The lecture, entitled "Rishworth, McLaughlin and the Shannon Scheme", will be delivered by Mr. Paul Duffy.  Reminiscences of Seán Keating, by Dr. John Behan, RHA at 3.00 p.m. on Thursday, 1 November.  Seán Keating, The Man I Knew, by Mr. Tom Kenny, at 8.00 p.m., on Monday, 5 November. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 24 October 2001

Release date: 24th October, 2001 Autumn Conferring Ceremonies at NUI, Galway Three days of Conferring ceremonies will take place in NUI Galway today (Wednesday), Thursday and Friday, the 24, 25, and 26 October. Almost 2,000 students from seven Faculties will be conferred with degrees and diplomas. The first students of NUI, Galway s Access Course will graduate this week. Students from two new undergraduate programmes, B.A. in Economics and Social Studies and B.A. in Public and Social Policy will also graduate at this week s conferring ceremonies. In addition, Honorary M.A. degrees will be conferred today on two people who have been associated with the University and have made an extraordinary contribution to the communities in which they live and work. Brother Colm O Connell, who has been working in Kenya for almost 30 years, has been responsible for coaching Kenyan athletes who have won World Championships and Olympic medals. For many years he was Principal of St. Patrick s School, a boarding school for boys in Kenya s Rift Valley, where he coached pupils to excel on the running track. His protegés have included world-class athletes, Peter Rono, Wilson Kipketer, Sally Barsosio and David Kiptoo. An honorary MA will also be conferred on Mr. Joe O Halloran, who for many years worked in NUI, Galway s James Hardiman Library. He edited The Galway Historical and Archaeological Journal for almost fifteen years. He also discovered (and arranged provision of copies for the James Hardiman Library), of a very large collection of manuscripts relating to Galway in the papers of Sir D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson in St Andrew's University Library. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418

Monday, 22 October 2001

Release date: 22 October, 2001 Companies woo Graduates at NUI, Galway Recruitment Fair The current down-turn in the global economy did not affect the attendance of some of this country s major employers at NUI Galway s annual Graduate Recruitment Fair. The Fair, which took place today (Monday, 22 October), attracted over 50 companies and was attended by more than 2,000 graduates. "The Fair is an ideal opportunity for graduates to meet prospective employers and find out about a wide range of employment possibilities", said Mr. Peter Keane, of NUI, Galway s Careers Service. "We have noticed a slight move away from the IT sector this year and broader representation from business and industry". Among the companies attending the fair were banks, management consulting companies, accountancy and technology companies and those representing the public sector. They included Deloitte and Touche, the Kerry Group, Smurfit Ireland, Intel, Boston Scientific and Siebel Systems. The Recruitment fair, the only one of its kind in the west of Ireland, was organised by the Careers Service at NUI, Galway. Each year the service produces several publications offering guidance and direction to graduates and postgraduates. As well as a fortnightly newsletter 'Career Matters', the Careers Service publishes a range of material providing graduates with information on interview techniques, employment opportunities and career planning. A survey carried out by the Careers Service earlier this year revealed that of those students who completed their studies last year, 61% are in employment; 18% are undertaking further academic studies; 5% are in teacher training; and just 1.2% are still seeking employment. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer. Tel. 091 750418

Tuesday, 9 October 2001

Release date: 8 October, 2001 Ireland s most powerful computer launched at NUI Galway Mr. Noel Treacy, T.D., Minister for Science and Technology launched a £1million Supercomputer facility in NUI, Galway today (Monday 8 October). The 40 processor Silicon Graphics (SGI) Origin 3800 Supercomputer, will perform computationally intensive calculations for the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, which is based on the Galway campus. Its peak performance of 40 billion calculations per second makes it the most powerful computer in Ireland. The Supercomputer will help in the design of better medical instruments, the understanding of the chemical behaviour of drugs and carry out improved simulations of blood-flow and enhanced X-rays. Research in all of these areas are currently being carried out in NUI, Galway. The work is a good example of inter-disciplinary research involving scientists and engineers from a number disciplines in the University. Researchers at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science will use the high performance computer in a broad range of research projects in the area of biomechanics. These include the simulation of blood flow in the heart; heat flow and heat loss from patients during surgery; insertion of angioplasty catheters; and the deformation and remodelling of bone subject to physiological loads. Blood flow patterns through critical cardiovascular elements such as heart valves, coronary bypass grafts and surgical implants will be investigated and visualised using sophisticated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. CFD will be used to facilitate design improvements of novel biomedical engineering concepts for artificial heart components - mechanical pumps and valves. CFD will also be applied to pulmonary flows, to calculate the performance of artificial respirators and drug delivery systems. Astronomers from NUI, Galway have established an international reputation and have developed ways of improving X-ray images. These improved images will allow radiologists to identify illness earlier. In particular, researchers are studying how these improved images can be used to detect small fractures in bones. In the future these techniques can be used in basic science, medicine and industry. Possible applications include flaw detection in manufacturing processes and security cameras. All of these processes require substantial computing power, which will now be provided by the new supercomputer. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418 Dr. Andrew Shearer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 524411, Ext. 3114

Monday, 8 October 2001

Release date: 8 October, 2001 Minister turns first sod for new University Innovation Centre Mr. Noel Treacy, TD, Minister for Science and Technology, turned the sod today (Monday, 8 October) for the AIB University Business Innovation Centre on the NUI, Galway campus. Speaking at the sod turning ceremony Minister Treacy said "This facility will provide an additional 7,500 sq. ft. of accommodation to house up to 18 new start-up businesses wishing to locate at the University. The new Centre represents a £1.6 million (€2m) investment, with funding made available by Enterprise Ireland, Allied Irish Banks, and NUI, Galway. This new centre will make a major contribution to Enterprise Ireland s strategy of increasing the number of new technology start-up companies with export potential. Dr. Iognaid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway, welcomed the advent of the AIB University Business Innovation Centre saying, "The establishment of the first Innovation Center on the Galway campus in 1984 showed a commitment by the University to put its resources at the disposal of potential entrepreneurs and to provide a means for the commercialisation of research results which would generate employment and facilitate further economic development in the Western Region". Since 1984, more than 30 companies, employing some 320 people have started life in the incubator accommodation. Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh said he hoped that the new Center would provide a steady stream of new companies with the potential to provide employment for highly trained graduates in the city and region. He welcomed Enterprise Ireland's support for the new Center and noted that the Agency was also currently considering proposals for the provision of an Entrepreneur Development Programme on the NUI, Galway campus, to be supported by NUI, Galway and Enterprise Ireland. Current indications in this respect are very positive. This programme would create an additional stream of new knowledge-based companies seeking to locate in the new Innovative Centre. Mr. Seamus Bree, Director, Enterprise Ireland, West Region said, "This is a very welcome addition to the incubator space already established here in NUI, Galway. It underpins the strong link which exists between the University and business development, and will speed up the process of getting new high-growth companies established". Gary Kennedy, Financial Director, AIB Group stated, "It is our strategic intent to both support, and get increasingly involved with, early stage businesses in the high technology sectors, particularly in the entrepreneurial and supportive environment being developed at NUI, Galway. AIB is delighted to become involved with this exciting project which is a significant development for the business sector, both on and off campus, and for the region". Dr. Joe Watson, Director of the AIB University Business Innovation Centre said, "The Centre will provide a focal point for the interaction of the University with industry. It underlines the crucial importance of easy access to information and expertise in today's society. Companies locating in this Centre will be doing so because they need close access to the University s academic researchers and facilities. They will be able to utilize these contacts to build and maintain competitiveness in the knowledge economy. There are almost 12,000 students at NUI, Galway, of which 1,495 are full-time postgraduates, with over 500 engaged in research. This strong research base represents a fruitful source of ideas for commercialisation and the students form a very significant pool of entrepreneurial talent and technical expertise with the resulting potential for enterprise generation. NUI, Galway undertakes more than £11.5 million of funded research projects on campus each year. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 21 November 2001

Release date: 21 November, 2001 IT Companies donate more than £370,000 Software to NUI Galway NUI, Galway s Department of Information Technology has received a gift of software, licencing and support valued at approximately £370,000 from three companies, Progress Software Corporation, QAD and Seabrook Research Ltd. The software will provide students with the opportunity to use industry-standard tools for Enterprise Information Systems Design, Enterprise Application Integration and Client-server systems development. "The goal is to make the learning experience as rich as possible," says. Dr. Owen Molloy, lecturer in Information Technology, NUI, Galway. "These tools from QAD, Seabrook and Progress have models and components for unlimited enterprise design and problem-solving options. This donation, for which we are very grateful, gives our students a state-of-the-art tool." The software (QAD MFG/PRO) will also be used in at least two ongoing Enterprise-Ireland funded research projects at NUI, Galway. These are A System to Support Extended Supply Chain Design and Integration and An XML-Based Expert System Shell for Distributed Agent Intelligence, currently under way in the IT department. Over the next year the QAD MFG/PRO software will be incorporated into a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University, providing students with hands-on Enterprise Application experience. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418 Notes for Editors: Since its foundation in 1989 Seabrook Research Limited has grown steadily and is now an established and successful company with a modern product range and is recognised as one of the main suppliers of and specialists in manufacturing software in Europe. This fact was reiterated in 1997, when Seabrook Research Ltd., was awarded the MFG/PRO Distributor of the Year Award for Europe, Middle East and Africa. QAD delivers value through collaborative commerce for manufacturers, empowering enterprises to integrate diverse business processes and increase profitability. QAD s release of Version 9 of MFG/PRO marks a significant breakthrough in the convergence of Information Technology and Communications Technology within the Manufacturing Industry. Comprising of a Net User Interface which is 100% JAVA based, the application comes with a set of e-business applications that are available for use on both the Internet and company intranets. Founded in 1981, Progress Software Corporation is a $271 million global software industry leader offering a comprehensive range of products and support services to customers worldwide. More than 60% of Progress Software s revenue is realized in partnership with more than 2,000 independent ISVs and ASPs who market Internet-enabled applications based on Progress technology.

Monday, 19 November 2001

Release date: 15 November, 2001 NUI Galway Engineering Student wins inaugural MEDTRONIC AVE Prize The MEDTRONIC AVE AWARD for 2001 has been presented to James McGarry, a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at NUI, Galway. The IR6,000 Prize was awarded to the best Bio-Medical device research project submitted to Medtronic-AVE in 2001 and presented by Sean Silke, Medtronic AVE's Director of Human Resources, at a reception in the University. The annual competition is open to all final year degree undergraduates in Northern Ireland and the Republic whose projects are focused on Bio-Medical Device Technology. According to Mr. Peter Walsh, Vice President of Medtronic-AVE, Ireland, "The award recognises, rewards and promotes the excellent bio-medical research being conducted in Colleges and Universities throughout the island. Its intention is to highlight the importance of research to industry. The competition is open to medical, engineering and science undergraduates, underlining the interdisciplinary nature of Bio-Medical research". Mr. Walsh added, "I hope it will encourage young people to consider careers in Science and Technology, hopefully in the Bio-Medical Industry. The scale of the prize emphasizes Medtronic AVE's commitment to R&D in Ireland". The Winning Project for 2001: "Finite Element Analysis of the Mechanical Performance of a Cardiovascular Stent Design based on Micro-scale Modeling", was conducted by James McGarry, during his final year in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, under the supervision of Dr. Peter McHugh. It considered the mechanical performance of the materials used in implants that hold open arteries that have been treated for vessel blockage, a condition that leads to angina and heart attacks. James used computer based finite element modelling to predict the micro-mechanical behaviour of metals in the design of these devices. According to Dr. McHugh, "Winning the award, especially in its inaugural year, is a highly significant achievement for James and for the Mechanical Engineering Department here at NUI, Galway. It reflects the high standard of education provided by the Department through both its Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Degree Programmes". Dr. McHugh added, "The project is also closely linked with ongoing research being performed at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI, Galway. At this state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facility, engineers, scientists and clinicians are performing cutting edge research with a focus on solving problems in the areas of biotechnology and medicine". Medtronic is the world leader in medical technology providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. The company provides products, therapies and services that enhance or extend the lives of millions of people. Medtronic AVE employs 1400 people in Galway, in the manufacture of coronary care products, including over 100 graduates in R&D. Each year, 2.5 million patients benefit from Medtronic s technology, used to treat conditions such as heart disease, neurological disorders, and vascular illnesses. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 10 December 2001

Release date: 10 December, 2001 Partnership Agreement between University and Rural Medical Centre An agreement has been signed between National University of Ireland, Galway and the Turloughmore General Practice of Drs. Brendan Day and Mary Conroy. The agreement confirms Turloughmore Medical Centre as the clinical centre for the Department of General Practice, NUI, Galway. Close co-operation between the practice and the department has occurred over the last three years with Professor Murphy's clinical activity being based there. Dr. Brendan Day stated that 'as a graduate of NUI, Galway, and one of the first graduates of the general practice training scheme in Galway, I am delighted that our practice is to be explicitly linked with NUI, Galway. The link has already proven most beneficial to both the practice staff and patients.' Dr Mary Conroy said that '2001 has proven a significant year for the development of the practice. We are about to move to a new practice premises and, together with the formalisation of the link with NUI, Galway, these are two important practice milestones.' This explicit relationship between a University academic department of general practice and a rural practice is unique in Ireland. Professor Andrew Murphy said that 'the department of general practice in NUI, Galway is supported by the North-Western and Western Health Boards. Both of these Health Boards wished for the clinical centre of the department to reflect the rural nature of much of their community. Having been based for three years in Turloughmore, I am delighted that the relationship has now been formalised and I look forward to further developments.' Prof Jim Browne, Registrar, NUI, Galway said 'the University is very aware of its important leadership role in the Western seaboard region. We would see this strategic alliance as reflecting our appreciation of such a role and warmly acknowledge the support of the North-Western and Western Health Boards to the department of general practice, NUI, Galway.' ENDS Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Friday, 7 December 2001

Release date: 7 December, 2001 NUI Galway Academics contribute to New Edition of Anthropological Classic The third edition of a pioneering anthropological text entitled, Family and Community in Ireland, was launched in NUI, Galway today (Friday), by Michael D. Higgins, TD. An extended introduction that brings to light much new material concerning the political, economic and cultural context in which the study was conducted, has been provided by Dr. Anne Byrne, Dr. Ricca Edmondson and Dr. Anthony Varley of the University s Department of Political Science and Sociology Family and Community in Ireland, written by Harvard authors, Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball, is based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork among the people of north Clare and the townspeople of Ennis in the years 1932-4. It is a world-renowned social anthropological study of how a traditional rural society functioned in the early decades of the twentieth century. One of Family and Community in Ireland's main purposes was to arouse interest in the possibilities of ethnographic fieldwork methods in settings outside premodern and so-called 'primitive' societies and the societies of the industrially advanced 'modern' world. The outstanding interest in Ireland for authors of Family and Community in Ireland lay in the fact that it was still an overwhelmingly rural society in Europe that could be located somewhere in between the pre-modern 'primitive' world and the industrial advanced societies. Family and Community in Ireland provides a detailed study of family and kin, of life and work, of mutuality in social and economic relationships among the small farmer class. Its authors reveal a story of the importance and centrality of the family as a social and economic system, which produced and reproduced a self-sufficient, traditional rural community. Documenting the 'minutiae of social life', this book represents a view of the 'Old World from the inside' by two 'outsiders' from the 'New World', 'a document expressing a point-of-time in the social life of rural Ireland'. This third edition of Family and Community in Ireland is accompanied by new material which allows us to reconstruct the day-to-day experiences of the anthropologists during their time in County Clare. Both the book and its new introduction provide the general reader and the social science student with an opportunity to reassess the significance of this classic text. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Friday, 7 December 2001

Release date: 10 December, 2001 IMPORTANT NEW FINDINGS ON IRISH RURAL GENERAL PRACTICE Irish rural practitioners, in comparison to their urban colleagues, work longer hours, have more public patients, are more likely to work from purpose built premises which are publicly owned and participate more in a team approach to patient care delivery. The results of a national census on general practice in Ireland, with an emphasis on rural general practice, has just been published in the international journal Family Practice. The project was conducted, with the significant support of the Irish College of General Practitioners, by Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn (Assistant Academic Director, Department of Health Promotion, NUI, Galway), Professor Andrew W Murphy, (Professor of General Practice at NUI, Galway) and Professor Cecily Kelleher (Professor of Health Promotion at NUI, Galway). Completed questionnaires were returned from 2,093 General Practitioners which was an 86% response rate. Information on 1429 practice centres were provided; 34% of these were designated as city, 28% as town and 38% as rural. Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn said : 'We were especially pleased with both the high quality and quantity of responses to this census. This could only have occurred because of the significant support which the Irish College of General Practitioners provided to the study'. The mean number of public or 'GMS' patients per general practitioner was 740 for city, 818 for town and 865 for rural locations. Professor Andrew W Murphy commented that : 'Public perceptions of poverty are dominated by urban images yet the health implications of poverty are universal and irrespective of location. Combining these figures with the distances which patients live from acute hospitals emphasises the workload implications of rural poverty for General Practitioners. 70% of rural practitioners have weekly contact with a public health nurse; this compares to 30% and 38% for city and town practitioners respectively. 54% of rural practitioners have weekly or monthly contact with a community psychiatric nurse; this compares to 30 and 39% for city and town colleagues respectively. The quality of these contacts is described much more positively by rural practitioners. Professor Andrew W Murphy said that : 'The recent primary care strategy emphasised the importance of teamwork. The results of this study suggest that what levels of teamwork currently exist in Ireland, do so largely in rural areas. Consideration of these rural primary care teams is worthwhile if the aspirations of the teamwork approach as outlined in the strategy are to be implemented.' Smaller and more regional studies of rural practice from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and the United States have found broadly similar results. Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn stated that : 'This means that, irrespective of the prevailing health care system, rural practice appears to have distinctive characteristics. Specific programmes to support the development and delivery of rural general practice are therefore appropriate.' Mr. Fionán Ó Cuinneagáin, Chief Executive of the Irish College of General Practitioners, commented: 'The results of this important study emphasise the unique role which Irish rural general practitioners play in the delivery of healthcare in this country. For this role to continue, and to develop, it is important that substantial support be given to rural practitioners in reducing excessive workload and guaranteeing locum coverage and the provision of distance learning programmes. It also highlights the important contribution which academic general practice can make in the formulation of policy development.' sor Andrew Murphy is available for interview on the findings of the national census ENDS Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418 Professor Andrew W Murphy, Department of General Practice, NUI, Galway Tel : (091) 750470

Monday, 3 December 2001

Release date: 3 December, 2001 Announcement of New Chair of BioMedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway NUI, Galway wishes to announce the appointment of Dr. Terry Smith as the first Professor of Biomedical Engineering Science and Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) which is also based on campus. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Oxford University, Professor Smith has been General Manager of the National Diagnostics Centre, NUI, Galway since 1994. His major research interest is focused on using functional genomics approaches to investigate the molecular basis of human disease, in particular, human reproductive disorders. As Director of the NCBES, Professor Smith s main priority will be to lead the development of a world-class research Centre in Biomedical Engineering Science. "This goal will be achieved through the development of interdisciplinary research programmes within the Centre in selected areas where significant expertise already exists, and by establishing research collaborations nationally and internationally with key research Institutes and researchers. Through our interdisciplinary approach, the NCBES will establish itself as a world-leader in key areas of Biomedical Engineering Science research", he said. Professor Smith s other priorities include the development of collaborative research programmes with local and national biomedical and biotechnology industries and to harness the expertise within the NCBES towards the development of novel diagnostics tests and treatments for human disease. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Thursday, 21 December 2000

Release date: 21 December, 2000 Poland honours NUI Galway Lecturer Dr. Oliver Ryan, a lecturer at the Department of Education, National University of Ireland, Galway has been awarded "The Knights Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland" (Krzyz Kawalersky Orderu Zashugi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej). The Polish Ambassador Janusz Skolimonwski, made the presentation on behalf of the Polish Government, at a reception in NUI, Galway, hosted by Professor Ruth Curtis, Vice-President for Development and External Affairs. Dr. Ryan has been working closely with a number of Polish Universities and Teacher Training Colleges since 1991. He has co-ordinated five major TEMPUS programmes, on behalf of the EU and during that time, has organised programmes in NUI, Galway for 407 students and 264 lecturers from the various colleges. The programmes included English Language Teacher Training; European Life and Institutions; Modernisation of Primary Health Care in Poland; and Poland and the European Union. All of the programmes resulted in a restructuring of courses in the Polish Colleges and in the provision of additional teaching equipment. In 1995 NUI, Galway signed protocol agreements with the Universities of Poznan and Katowice. Dr. Ryan has already been awarded the Marie Curie Medal (1993) by the University of Lublin, The Medal of Honour (1994) by the University of Silesia and the Medal of Distinction (1997) by AMU University. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Office, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750

Wednesday, 20 December 2000

Release date: 20 December, 2000 Major award for NUI Galway Human Rights Expert Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, which is based in NUI, Galway has been awarded the Medal of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. The presentation was made at an International Conference in Johannesburg, where Professor Schabas was delivering a paper on "Fair Trial and Fit Punishment: How International Human Rights is Transforming Criminal Justice". The opening address of the conference was delivered by former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela. The International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law is an international non-governmental association of judges, legislators, lawyers, academics, and governmental officials, who have come together to work actively on the administration of criminal justice both in their own jurisdiction and internationally. The Society publishes the Criminal Law Forum , whose current editor in chief is Professor William Schabas. The Forum is intended to promote new thinking about the fundamental principles of criminal law, to encourage comparative criminal law analysis, and trace the development of new international criminal law. Established in 1987, when over 200 experts from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, other Commonwealth Countries, the United States, Europe, and Israel, gathered at the Inns of Court in London, to discuss the reform of criminal law and the criminal justice system, the Society encourages joint research and policy development among individuals and government bodies from different jurisdictions. The Society participates as a professional organisation in the work of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program, through the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council. Members of the Society have participated in numerous UN meetings. In September 1991, the Society was accorded observer status on crime problems, by the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Society s participation in the work of the Council in this area provides criminal justice policy makers in Europe with another valuable link with their counterparts in the jurisdictions in which the Society has members. Professor Schabas recently published Genocide in International Law, which is currently being used by lawyers dealing with the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 11 December 2000

Release date: 11 December, 2000 NUI Galway establishes unique initiative with Polish College NUI, Galway has been co-operating with the prestigious Wroclaw University of Technology (WUT) in Poland for more than seven years under the EU Tempus Programme, whereby students and staff from Wroclaw came to Galway to study. However, Irish students tended to favour the UK, US, France and Germany for their study-abroad periods. That is now set to change as a result of a new agreement signed between NUI, Galway and Wroclaw University, with the support of a Polish bank. Academic staff from WUT visited Galway last week to attend a function in the Universiry marking the signing of the new agreement. The agreement provides for six NUI, Galway undergraduate students (mainly from the Faculty of Engineering) to go to Poland for their Professional Experience Programme activity. Four Polish postgraduate students will come to Galway to undertake Masters or Doctoral studies in the Faculties of Science or Engineering. The distinctive element of the agreement is the support of Bank Zachodni, WBK, AIB Group, Wroclaw. The total cost of the initiative is estimated to be £130,000, with Bank Zachodni providing £38,000 over a three-year period and NUI, Galway supplying the remainder. "We are delighted to be partners with this prestigious university. Wroclaw University of Technology with its 27,000 students is an exciting and pioneering institution in a country which is perceived as the economic leader in Eastern Europe", said Professor Ruth Curtis, Vice-President for Development and External Affairs at NUI, Galway. "I believe the benefits of this new agreement to students of both universities will be most beneficial and worthwhile". Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418