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NUI Galway launches 2020 plan



President of NUI Galway Dr James J Browne.

NUI Galway hopes to rise to the ranks of the Top 200 universities in the world and have a 25% mix of international students by 2020.

President Jim Browne has unveiled the university’s five-year strategic plan, ‘Vision 2020’, and said he hopes to make Galway one of the top 2% in the world.

Part of the plan will see the student accommodation crisis tackled, with sites already identified on campus to provide up to 1,000 new bed spaces.

He said that while rankings are seen by some as a vanity exercise, alumni had stressed its importance to him.

“We’re grown 200 places; we were somewhere between 450 and 500 in the world, and now we’re about 250. Some people think of rankings as a vanity exercise, they’re not.

“I regularly meet with alumni [in the United States], what surprised me was the number of young graduates who said to me how important it was that Galway was well-ranked, for the simple reason that they are filling in applications for jobs in major corporations who never heard of Galway.

“There are 8,000 universities in the world. If they can say they’re NUIG, one of the top 2% in the world, that’s a major, major point, that gets them an interview.

“Rankings are far from perfect, but they cannot be ignored for graduates looking for jobs outside of Ireland with employers who don’t know Galway. We want to be recognised globally and be globally competitive,” said Dr Browne.

He said he envisages a university with a more diverse student body – including a 25% target for international students.

“We are keen to have a more diverse student body. I’m talking to diversity in terms of international, non-traditional, mature students, Access students, all the various non-traditional groups to create a kind of ambience here where students are not just a homogenous bunch of 18-year-olds,” Dr Browne said.

He added the university also wants to double its research funding to €100 million.

“We have a target of €100 million from Horizon 2020 and we’re on target to do that. We want to grow our post-graduate student body – we want to have 30%; it’s currently at about 22%,” he said.

Dr Browne said that in terms of funding for the provision of new student accommodation, NUIG will have to borrow to complete it and repay the loan through rental income.

“We have a plan for 1,000 bedrooms. The initial plan is for 450 and we have a site picked out for that, that will depend on planning permission. We have identified a set of sites on the campus,” he said.

“Our first commitment is – and always will be – to our students. This commitment to delivering excellent academic and developmental opportunities for our students informs all our decision-making.

“It involves ensuring our students are challenged and intellectually stimulated by academic staff at the frontiers of research, as well as creating a learning environment that enhances student interaction and engagement, and enriches their leadership potential,” he said, in launching the college blueprint.


Connacht Tribune

New President for Local Ireland



Left to right, Bob Hughes, Executive Director, Local Ireland, Dan Linehan, Head of Irish Times Regionals and Declan McGuire, Operations Manager of the Connacht Tribune.

The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.

Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.

Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”

Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.

He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.

Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.

Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.

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Connacht Tribune

Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region



Pictured at Regional Insight Series in the Galmont Hotel are: Trevor O’Rourke, (CEO, Fibre Networks Ireland); Senan Colleran, (Head ESB Assets, Generation & Trading, ESB); Eilish O'Sullivan, (Human Resources Director, Medtronic); Danny McCoy, (CEO, Ibec); Helen Leahy, (Head of Regional Policy, Ibec); Ruairi Conroy (Diligent Corporation) and Fergal O’Brien, (Executive Director of Lobbying & Influence, Ibec). PHOTO: Michael Dillon.

The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.

At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.

Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.

“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.

“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.

Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:

  • Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
  • Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
  • Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
  • Investment in people and skills
  • Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
  • Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth




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Connacht Tribune

Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless



Conor Quirke of BOI Payment Acceptance: move to card payments.

One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.

In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.

Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.

Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.

Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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