All 2006

Chronic Pain Research Secures Major UK Award for NUI Galway Lecturer

Monday, 24 July 2006

24 July 2006: An NUI Galway researcher has won a major award in the UK for his ongoing work in combating chronic pain. Dr David Finn, a lecturer in the department of Physiology at NUI Galway, is today being awarded the prestigious 2006 Wyeth Pre-Clinical Award, by the British Association for Psychopharmacology, at a ceremony in Oxford. Chronic, persistent pain affects millions of people worldwide, significantly impairing health and well-being and is the most common symptom for which patients seek medical help. In Ireland, over half a million people suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis. The overall objective of Dr Finn's research is to increase understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms by which stress impacts on pain, inflammation, mood disorders and cognition. According to Dr Finn, "Suffering due to persistent pain has significant, far-reaching socio-economic consequences. Pain is likely to become an even greater medical and socioeconomic problem in countries like Ireland, which have an increasingly ageing population". In the working population, lower back pain is responsible for more disability than cancer, heart disease, stroke and AIDS combined. One in six people in Ireland suffering from pain has lost a job because of their condition and pain costs the Irish economy over €1.2 million per week in disability benefit payments alone (Pain in Europe Study, 2003). Dr Finn's research looks into three different research fields; pain, aversion (i.e. stress and anxiety) and cannabinoids. Cannabinaoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant or their biologically active synthetic alternatives. In 2005, Dr David Finn was awarded a President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA), worth in excess of €900,000. - ends -

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Asylum Seekers help foster a 'Global Village' through NUI Galway Technology Cour

Monday, 24 July 2006

24 July 2006: NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) will today (Monday) present certificates to eighteen Galway-based asylum seekers who have completed its web technology course. Presentations will also be made to companies and individuals who contributed to its 'Community Computer Recycling' initiative. Eamon Ó Cúiv, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, and Cllr. Niall Ó Brolcháin, Mayor of Galway, will be special guests at the ceremony. DERI, funded by Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) and based at NUI Galway, is at the forefront of European research into the next stage of web technology known as the Semantic Web. Through its extensive local outreach programme, it has helped contribute enormously over the last two years to the development of what it calls 'An Online Galway Accessible to All'. According to Brendan Smith, DERI's Community/Education officer, "The course for asylum seekers took place in the computer room of the Eglinton Hotel, Salthill. Over a six-month period, 48 individuals attended and were provided with the facilities to learn how to set up their own personal websites, utilise email, computer telephony and other online communication services. The greatest benefit for participants was that the course provided them with the opportunity to re-establish and maintain regular direct and real-time contact with their friends and families in their homelands or elsewhere around the world. Thanks to the generosity of individuals and organisations such as Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Galway Technical Institute and the Galway Public Library, many of these students will now have their own personal computer." DERI's internet courses operate throughout Galway City and county. In cooperation with Galway City Council, Galway County Council, HSE, Galway Centre for Independent Living and other NUI Galway departments, DERI provides technology courses to an array of communities including active retirement organisations, parents groups, business people, residents associations, schools and specific groups such as Gort's Brazilian population. - ends - For further information please contact Brendan Smith. Community & Educational Outreach Officer, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway 087-2935106

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President's praise for online Diploma in Irish Studies at NUI Galway

Thursday, 20 July 2006

17 July 2006: Since it was first introduced in 2003, more than 500 international students have taken part in NUI Galway's online Diploma in Irish Studies. Now, for the first time, the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, is recruiting students from Ireland for the next cycle of the online diploma, which will begin in September 2006. The unique course has been endorsed by President Mary McAleese, who recently participated in an online seminar with students at Regis University in the USA. Expressing her enthusiastic support for the programme, the President commented, "Could anything better typify the move from donkey-and-cart picture postcard Ireland to the high-tech global leader in software technology that Ireland has become in recent decades? Here is a place for the intellectually curious to have their imaginations stretched and challenged." This programme, the first of its kind in the world, has been developed by NUI Galway in partnership with Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and is targeted at non-traditional and mature students primarily who do not have access to traditional programmes of study in this area. The purpose of the course is to provide a basic introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, English, Irish, Political Science and Sociology. President McAleese went on to pay tribute to those involved in delivering the programme, "You are playing an important part in the shaping and reshaping of this new Ireland with its unique meld of the quaint and quantum physics, of tradition and trade, of craic and computer." The Presidential endorsement was welcomed by Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. 'We were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Irish Studies online for President McAleese and even more so when she volunteered to participate in one of the online seminars. This online programme has been popular among students from North America, Japan, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and, more recently, from Australia and New Zealand. By opening it up to students based in Ireland, we hope to build on this success." Full details are available on the programme website at or from Samantha Williams at -ends–

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Tánaiste launches NUI Galway's €3 million Irish Centre for Social Gerontology

Friday, 14 July 2006

- as Professor warns of economic and social challenges facing Ireland's ageing population - At the launch of Ireland's first dedicated research centre on economic and social ageing, the Director of the new Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at NUI Galway, Professor Eamon O'Shea, today warned policy makers of the challenges facing rural communities as Ireland's demographics alter dramatically over the next number of years. Professor O'Shea warned of huge demographic changes ahead as one in four Irish people would be over the age of 65 by 2050 compared to the current figure of around one in ten. However, population shifts into towns and cities means that in some local rural districts up to one in three of the population may already be aged 65 years or over, particularly in Western regions. Meeting the personal and social needs of these scattered and ageing rural communities is a real challenge for Irish society and the disenfranchisement being felt by Ireland's rural aged will become acute over the next number of years without adequate investment in services and infrastructure. Professor O'Shea's comments were delivered at the official launch by An Tánaiste, Mary Harney TD, of the new €3 million Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at NUI Galway. The Centre is the first of its type in Ireland which will examine the economic and social aspects of Ireland's ageing population across multiple disciplines including: social gerontology, economics, sociology, psychology, law, nursing and medicine. Professor O'Shea welcomed the Government's support for the Centre as an important step which would facilitate comprehensive research in the area and identify problem areas for Ireland's elderly. Speaking at the launch of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Professor O'Shea said, "Ireland is on the cusp of major demographic changes and the ICSG will be a vital resource in assisting Ireland's policy makers to plan and make provision for Ireland's ageing population. The formulation and implementation of measures to improve and enhance the participation of older people in economic, social and civic life has not been heretofore properly addressed in research in Ireland. Older people have too often been seen as drawing on public resources rather than as net contributors to society. ICSG seeks to both inform and influence attitudes to, and expectations of, older people as well as exploring innovative ways, through technology for example, to ensure that older people play a full part in society at all levels. Each of us has a role to play in ensuring that we include older people in social and community initiatives. " ICSG recently co- produced a research report funded by the National Council on Ageing and Older People on the quality of life for older people in long stay facilities and is currently completing a further report for the Council on the quality of life of older people living at home with a chronic illness or disability. ICSG is also working on a number of other research projects in the following areas: volunteerism, technology, dementia, and the ethnogerontology of Irish-born immigrant populations. ICSG is funded through a combination of public and private funding, including important financial support from Atlantic Philanthropies, and will work closely with stakeholder groups including Age and Opportunity, Age Action Ireland, Senior Citizens Parliament and the Federation of Active Retirement Associations to promote a holistic and positive view of ageing in Ireland. From September 2006, the ICSG will offer Ireland's first Diploma in Social Gerontology. -ends-

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Seolann an Tánaiste Ionad €3 Mhilliún OÉ Gaillimh don tSeaneolaíocht Shóisialta

Friday, 14 July 2006

- agus deir Ollamh amháin go mbeidh dúshláin mhóra eacnamaíocha agus shóisialta ag pobal scothaosta na hÉireann - Agus an chéad ionad taighde don aosú eacnamaíoch agus sóisialta á sheoladh in Éirinn, chuir Stiúrthóir an Ionaid nua don tSeaneolaíocht Shóisialta (ICSG) in OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Eamon O'Shea, fainic ar do lucht déanta beartais faoi na dúshláin a bheadh ag pobail tuaithe na hÉireann sna blianta beaga le teacht mar gheall ar an athrú a thiocfaidh ar dhéimeagrafaic na tíre. Dúirt an tOllamh O'Shea go mbeadh athruithe móra déimeagrafacha ann sa todhchaí mar go mbeadh duine as gach ceathrar in Éirinn os cionn 65 faoi 2050, i gcomparáid le duine as deichniúr faoi láthair. Ach mar gheall go bhfuil go leor den daonra ag bogadh isteach i mbailte agus i gcathracha, ciallaíonn sé go bhfuil duine as gach triúr, i gceantair thuaithe áirithe, 65 bliain d'aois nó os a chionn cheana féin, go háirithe san Iarthar. Tá deacracht ag sochaí na hÉireann déileáil le riachtanais phearsanta agus shóisialta na ndaoine scothaosta faoin tuath mar atá siad agus is in olcas a bheas an scéal ag dul sna blianta amach romhainn gan infheistíocht cheart i seirbhísí agus in infrastruchtúr. Is í an Tánaiste, Mary Harney TD, a chuir tuairimí an Ollaimh i láthair agus an tIonad nua €3 mhilliún don tSeaneolaíocht Shóisialta á sheoladh aici i Scoil Iarchéime JE Cairnes don Ghnó & don Bheartas Poiblí in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é seo an chéad ionad den chineál seo in Éirinn a bhreathnóidh ar ghnéithe eacnamaíocha agus sóisialta de dhaonra scothaosta na hÉireann i ndisciplíní éagsúla cosúil le: seaneolaíocht shóisialta, eacnamaíocht, socheolaíocht, síceolaíocht, dlí, altranas agus leigheas. D'fháiltigh an tOllamh O'Shea roimh thacaíocht an Rialtais don Ionad mar chéim thábhachtach a d'éascódh taighde cuimsitheach a dhéanamh sa réimse agus fadhbanna na ndaoine scothaosta in Éirinn a aithint. Ag labhairt dó ag an seoladh dúirt an tOllamh, "Tiocfaidh athruithe suntasacha ar dhéimeagrafaic na hÉireann go gairid agus beidh an tIonad seo ina acmhainn riachtanach a chabhróidh le lucht déanta beartais na hÉireann pleanáil agus soláthar a dhéanamh do dhaoine scothaosta na hÉireann. Nuair a rinneadh iarrachtaí roimhe seo páirt na ndaoine seo sa saol eacnamaíoch, sóisialta agus sibhialta a fheabhsú i gceart ní dhearnadh dóthain taighde air. Breathnaítear go minic ar dhaoine scothaosta mar dhaoine a chaitheann acmhainní poiblí seachas mar dhaoine a fheabhsaíonn an tsochaí. Déanfaidh an tIonad seo iarracht an meon i leith na ndaoine seo a fheabhsú chomh maith le bealaí nua a fháil, trí theicneolaíocht mar shampla, lena chinntiú go mbeidh páirt iomlán ag daoine scothaosta sa tsochaí. Tá ról ag gach aon duine againn maidir lena chinntiú go bhfuil áit ag daoine scothaosta i dtionscnaimh shóisialta agus phobail. " Chabhraigh an tIonad le tuarascáil a chuaigh amach le gairid a bhí maoinithe ag an gComhairle Náisiúnta um Dhul in Aois agus Daoine Scothaosta maidir le caighdeán saoil daoine scothaosta i gcúram fadchónaithe. Faoi láthair, tá tuarascáil eile á críochnú ag an Ionad don Chomhairle maidir le caighdeán saoil daoine scothaosta a bhíonn ina gcónaí sa bhaile agus tinneas ainsealach nó míchumas orthu. Tá an ICSG ag obair chomh maith ar chúpla tionscadal taighde eile sna réimsí seo a leanas: obair dheonach, teicneolaíocht, néaltrú, agus eitnisheaneolaíocht na n-inimirceach a rugadh in Éirinn. Faigheann an ICSG maoiniú poiblí agus príobháideach, lena n-áirítear tacaíocht airgeadais ó Atlantic Philanthropies, agus oibreoidh sé go dlúth le páirtithe leasmhara lena n-áirítear Age and Opportunity, Age Action Ireland, Senior Citizens Parliament agus an Federation of Active Retirement Associations chun meon iomlánaíoch agus dearfach den aosú in Éirinn a chur chun cinn. Ó Mheán Fómhair 2006, cuirfidh an ICSG an chéad Dioplóma i Seaneolaíocht Shóisialta in Éirinn ar fáil. - Críoch -

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