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Details of Galway Science and Technology Festival launched



The 18th Galway Science and Technology Festival will see 180 events and 35,000 primary and secondary school students take part in shows and workshops

The 2015 Festival, part of National Science Week, was launched this week by the main sponsor Medtronic in their Customer Innovation Centre, Parkmore – and the event itself will run from November 9 to 22. Among the highlights will be the visit of ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

This year’s Festival will explore and celebrate “Science Week 2.0 – Design Your Future” in this International Year of Light at events in schools, colleges, research institutes, companies and community centres across Galway City and County.

Students at this week’s launch in Medtronic heard from former Irish international rugby player and qualified engineer Malcolm O’Kelly.

“In school, while I loved sport, I always had an interest in maths and science. After school I was lucky enough to be able to go on and pursue a career in rugby and played for both Leinster and Ireland internationally. While pursuing this career I also qualified in college as a civil engineer,” he told them.

“It’s that degree that has stood to me since my career in sport ended. I’m now working in the sector and finding it to be a really challenging and rewarding industry to be in. I’d encourage all of you today to pursue your passion.

“Whether your passion is be in sport, medicine, fashion or art you can be guaranteed you’ll need technology whatever path you take. This is why festivals like the upcoming one in Galway are so important to ensure you understand all the opportunities available to you,” he added.

Students in primary schools can look forward to the return of the popular Kitchen Chemistry – The Amazing World of Chemical Wonders; Bug Doctor introducing students to insects, bugs and much bigger creatures, Lego Education Workshop will introduce robotics to young children and for junior and senior infants Little Cells is back again, introducing students to the concept of cells that form our body. Learn all about software and app development with visits to the Galway Atlantaquaria to partake in workshops and enjoy a tour of the Aquarium.

Secondary schools can also avail of many brilliant shows that bring science to life including Dr Ken’s Circus, which reveals the scientific principles used by circus performers using gravity in their stunts, True Physics shows students how to launch rockets and and learn about flight pressure and perform live experiments in Scientific Sue’s Chemistry Show and a Transition Year workshop by WhizzKids.

Scientists from NUI Galway are participating by offering both school roadshows and on-campus events.

ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli will visit GMIT on Wednesday, November 11, and over 500 secondary school students will get to meet the Italian Astronaut and also attend GMIT’s new Game Zone initiative, which will include Laser Grid, Lego Robots, Photoshop workshop, Smart Car in Action and Wave Phenomena.

The Marine Institute in Oranmore will host an Open Day for Transition Year students on the Thursday where students will be invited to meet the scientists and see the work of the Marine Institute through a series of exhibitions including marine environment, fisheries, seafood safety, seabed mapping, research vessel operations and oceanography, as well as getting information and advice on marine careers.

The Reel Life Science NUIG video competition for primary and secondary schools which aims to promote Science to a wider audience is being judged this year by Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, Trinity College Dublin’s Prof. Aoife McLysaght and BT Young Scientist’s Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy.

The competition was extended nationwide in 2014 to much success and involves making a 1-3 minute video communicating a scientific topic in an engaging and entertaining way.  A selection of this year’s videos will be screened in the City Museum.

Teachers can book a workshop or show for their school by completing the booking form on the website, all shows and workshops are free to the school.  Booking details for events at NUI Galway and GMIT are available on the website.

The final day Festival Exhibition takes place on Sunday, November 22, from 10am to 6pm. Tickets will be available for booking on Eventbrite from Saturday, November 14.

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

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