Galway 2040, a major public debate on the future of the city and county, is to take place at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology tomorrow, November 5.
Members of the public will gather with CEOs of multinationals, academics, and community leaders for the free day-long forum and public symposium to present ideas on life in Galway in 2040.
The public debate will be divided into four sessions, each of which is 90 minutes in duration. Consisting of initial presentations of papers, each part includes a plenary session with opportunities for public feedback facilitated by Dave O’Connell, chairman of the Connacht Tribune group and radio presenter with RTE. He will be assisted by Professor Kevin Leyden of NUI Galway, who will summarise the outputs from the event.
“This event is the culmination of six months’ preparation, bringing a diverse group of experts to lead a discussion with the people of Galway. We see the cross-overs and similarities and realise how we can aid one another to reach our dreams,” said Rory O’Connor, chairman GMIT, co-organiser of Galway 2040 initiative.
Attendees will include Mayor of Galway City Cllr Mike Crowe and Mayor of County Galway Cllr Jimmy McClearn as well as representatives of both GMIT and NUI Galway. Following the official opening at 9.15am by Michael D Higgins TD and President of Galway Chamber Paul Shelly, the day will begin with presentations from Mike Devane on marine and energy, Professor Terry Smith of NUI Galway on research, and Mark Gantly, MD of Hewlett-Packard, on enterprise and innovation.
Later in the morning well-known architect David Heffernan and local planning consultant James O’Donnell will present on infrastructure and environment, and harbour master Captain Brian Sheridan will discuss the opportunities for Galway docklands and its potential impact on the region.
Following lunch a thought-provoking session will involve Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland West, local theatre artist Mairéad Ní Chróinín, and Professor Michael Cuddy discussing their vision on tourism, culture, and agriculture, food and rural development. To round up the afternoon the vast arena of education will be touched on by Dr Seán McDonagh while Rachel Doyle will talk about social inclusion.
This event is an opportunity for all to contribute and the organisers are emphasising the fact that the Galway 2040 initiative is there to focus people from the Galway region to create a vision for 2040, forgetting about the current barriers. Using the slogan ‘Fís gan Teorainn’, a proactive approach where all things are possible is the attitude.
“We all fall in love with Galway for various reasons, there’s something that we can’t put our finger on that is peculiar to our fabulous region and city, it is a special mix,” said Paul Shelly, co-organiser of the Galway 2040 initiative. “We want to keep and nurture its uniqueness, while creating some of the infrastructural support to sustain Galway into a very positive future for the next generation.”
Ensuring the participation of all age groups, Galway 2040 Initiative is hosting the Voice of Youth project aimed at both primary and post-primary schools in the Galway region. Students at post-primary level will take part in The Eyre Square Soap Box at 11am today. Members of the public are welcome to come along to support the event and hear the views of adolescents.
This week also sees five primary schools participating in the Galway 2040 module of Junior Achievement project. A special poster exhibition of visual representations of life in Galway in 2040, by third class students, will open at 1pm today in Eyre Square Shopping Centre.
Members of the public are invited to register for tomorrow’s one day symposium through www.galway2040.ie The event is free of charge but registration is essential. For further information go to www.galway2040.ie or email [email protected] or contribute to the debate on www.facebook.com/galway2040