The great, the good and the ordinary people of Galway packed into GMIT’s largest lecture theatre last Friday to take the first steps in collective planning for the future of Galway.
Chaired by newspaper editor Dave O’ Connell, the day-long symposium included presentations from industry experts and audience feedback
Speakers included Prof Terry Smith of NUIG on Research, Mike Devane on Marine and Energy and Mark Gantly, MD of Hewlett-Packard on Enterprise and Innovation.
They were followed by well-known architect David Heffernan and local planning consultant James O’Donnell who presented on infrastructure and environment and Harbour master Capt. Brian Sheridan who discussed the opportunities for Galway Docklands and its potential impact on the region.
Afternoon presentations included a thought-provoking session involving Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland West, local theatre artist Mairéad Ní Chróinín and Prof Michael Cuddy discussing their vision on Tourism, Culture and Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Rounding up the afternoon was the vision for education presented by Dr. Seán McDonagh with Rachel Doyle from the National Womens’ Council of Ireland discussing the opportunities for social inclusion.
Organisers Paul Shelly and Rory O’ Connor, were keen to stress that Friday’s event was the start of the journey and that further discussions would take place online and in the media over the ensuing weeks and months. Plans also include a public lecture from a leading international speaker in the early Spring.
“Friday’s event was the culmination of six months preparation, bringing a diverse group of experts to lead a discussion with the people of Galway. It has opened the door allowing us to 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.
Speaking on behalf of the steering committee, Paul Shelly, President of Galway Chamber stated: ‘We are overwhelmed with the turn out for the symposium – it’s a very positive step. The next stage is very important in keeping the momentum of the tremendous work that has been done so far. We invite members of the public to participate and contribute to the Galway 2040 discussion on our on-line forums through our website and facebook page. ‘
Special thanks were paid to the organising team for their work in making the event happen. This included Brian Fitzsimons of Kárma Media who developed the website, Michael FitzGerald, who produced the corporate logo for the group and Dermot Kelly of Konnect Media who supplied graphic design services to the event. PR and Event Management services were provided by Carmel Dooley of PRWORKS and Máirín O’ Reilly of Mór Public Relations.
Summarizing the day’s deliberations Prof Kevin Leyden of NUIG Galway thanked the pillars and the audience for their contributions and said that all the papers would be online over the coming weeks for further feedback.