Games Fleadh Success for IT Sligo Students

For the second consecutive year, IT Sligo students were among the prize-winners at the annual Games Fleadh in County Tipperary,  Ireland’s largest student computer and console games programming festival.

 Now in its 11th year, the Games Fleadh continues to go from strength to strength. With the games industry estimated to have grown by as much as 400% since 2004, events like the Games Fleadh give students invaluable exposure to the industry’s movers and shakers. The 2014 festival attracted entries from third level students throughout Ireland.

IT Sligo’s winning entry was submitted by a team of four final year Games Development students. The ‘Programmers Don’t Wear Ties’ team – Ciaran Callaghan from Ballindine, Co Mayo, Jake Devers from, Ballina, Co Mayo,  Mike Gilmartin, Sligo and Oisin Keighron, Coolaney, won the award for the Best Original Innovation in Gaming and filled runner up spot for the Games Studio Ireland Challenge with their game ‘Grinsen’,  codenamed ‘Project Nervous Ostrich’. The same team won the Best Xbox 360 Game award at the 2013 Games Fleadh.  

 Computer lecturer and mentor to the winning team, Paul Powell said he was very proud of the students.

 “They put a lot of hard work into their project so its good to see them being recognised for all their efforts.”

 He continued: “Competitions like the Games Fleadh give participants great exposure to the games industry and an opportunity to present their work to potential employers in a very practical way.

 “It’s no coincidence that past winners of the Games Fleadh and other similar competitions have gone on to make a career for themselves in the relatively new software industry.

“Creating a unique computer game requires a broad set of skills and team work. At IT Sligo we provide these skills and promote team work and the students provide the necessary dedication.  So once again, well done to PDWT for all their hard work.”

Looking ahead to when they complete their degree, Ciaran has already secured a 12 month internship with Derry gaming company, Troll Inc., while the other members of the PDWT team plan to establish a gaming development company in the IT Sligo’s Business and Innovation Centre.  

IT Sligo students have a proven track record at the Games Fleadh, winning their first awards in 2009 on their first year of entry. Since then, they have gone on to collect a number of the top awards, including Best in Animation and Best Xbox 360 Game (2013), Best in Original Audio Music (2012) and Best Original Games Play and overall runner up in 2010. 

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Congratulations to IT Sligo’s Computing Games Development Year 3 students whose game ‘Grinsen’, codenamed ‘Project Nervous Ostrich’, picked up one of the top awards at the Games Fleadh.  Back row from right to left: Neil Gannon, lecturer in Games Development with team members Jake Devers and Ciaran Callaghan and Software Development lecturer, Paul Powell who also mentored the team. Front row, team members, Michael Gilmartin and Oisin Keighron.

IT Sligo Expertise Fuels FUSION Success

IT Sligo academics have been praised for their role in an InterTradeIreland FUSION project that has helped a Co Down firm develop a novel approach to eco-friendly housing.


Kelly Brothers Building Contractors from Warrenpoint has won a ‘Project Exemplar’ award for outstanding innovation as part of the FUSION initiative.


The programme enables knowledge and technology transfer between business and academia to support innovation and increase capability within SMEs.


Through InterTradeIreland support, the family-owned construction firm was able to appoint Queen’s University, Belfast graduate Stephen McGlew to lead its innovation project and team up with civil engineering and architecture staff from the School of Engineering at Design at IT Sligo.


The ‘Project Exemplar’ award recognises exceptionally high levels of innovation and collaboration between a firm, their graduate and academics as part of the FUSION programme.


Leonard Kelly of Kelly Brothers explained: “In recent years we have been committed to the use of sustainable materials and energy efficient construction processes in all our work but, in the current climate, in order to continue to be affordable to our clients, it was vital that a more cost-effective, eco-friendly building model was developed. We needed extra skilled resource to take this idea forward and the InterTradeIreland FUSION programme proved to be the perfect solution.


“With a background in civil engineering and sustainable development, our graduate Stephen McGlew was able to take our idea for the project and implement it with the added support of the academic experts from IT Sligo, Dr Patrick Naughton, Dr Tomas O’Flaherty and Mr Peter Scanlon.


“We have already started to use this model in a new private housing scheme in Northern Ireland and have plans to introduce it further afield. The link with the academics from IT Sligo will also be invaluable for future developments and we already have additional ideas which we would like to take forward with them.”


Dr Naughton said: “The construction industry is often slow to innovate. However, I think Kelly Bros have shown that there are significant commercial advantages in doing focused research and development projects. As a result of this InterTradeIreland FUSION project, Kelly’s are now well positioned to capitalise on the current upturn in the construction industry by providing cost-effective high energy rated houses for their clients. “


InterTradeIreland is currently seeking local companies with an innovation need for the FUSION Programme. FUSION currently offers up to €52,800 per company to help SMEs innovate and improve their products, processes or services through the programme.  Participants will have access to the best ideas and expertise on the island, supporting them in fulfilling 12 month and 18 month projects.

For more information on the FUSION programme or to apply, visit




(Left to right) Dr Patrick Naughton, Senior Lecturer, Civil Engineering IT Sligo, InterTradeIreland CEO, Thomas Hunter McGowan, Stephen McGlew,  Dr Tomas O’Flaherty, Lecturer, Civil Engineering  IT Sligo and Mark Kelly, Director of Warrenpoint-based construction company, Kelly Brothers. Through the project, the team developed a new low cost, eco-friendly modular housing model for both the domestic and export market.

Third Trophy Triumph for IT Sligo Women

IT Sligo Women’s soccer team have won the Intervarsities Cup for the third time in the club’s history.

They put in an awesome display to beat hosts and pre-match favourites UCD 6-1 in a thrilling Cup final.

Earlier in competition, IT Sligo had a convincing 4-0 win over Mary Immaculate College, Limerick at the quarter-final stage with goals from Geraldine McLoughlin (2), Aoife Brennan and Kim Flood.  

They beat holders UCC 3-0 in the semi-final stage with Aoife Brennan (2) and Emma Hansberry both on target. This semi-final win was sweet revenge for IT Sligo who lost on penalties to UCC in last year’s Cup final.

IT Sligo were underdogs going into this year’s final. They had already lost 3-2 to UCD in the Premier League Final and then suffered a second defeat at the hands of UCD in the Futsal Cup final. With the Cup final being played in the UCD Bowl, the host were firm favourites to lift the title.

However, IT Sligo gave a stellar performance. They dominated play in the first-half and were up  4-1 at the interval, courtesy of goals from Emma Hansberry (2), Geraldine McLoughlin and Aileen Gilroy.

Nicole Fowley and Aoife Brennan added a further two goals in the second-half, allowing IT Sligo to run out convincing winners. UCD did have chances in the second-half but IT Sligo goalkeeper Rachel King pulled of a number of excellent saves.

IT Sligo is captained by Sligo woman Nicole Fowley, who is a Recreation and Leisure Year 3 student.

Emma Hansberry won the coveted Intervarsities Player of the Tournament award. She joins an elite group of previous IT Sligo winners of the award – Maz Sweeney, Emma Mullin and Deirdre Doherty  

It has been a memorable three months for the Year 2 Health Science and Physiology student. Emma won the National League Player of the Month award for both January and February and was called up to the Irish senior squad for the Cyprus Cup in March.

Recreation and Leisure Year 3 student, Aileen Gilroy won Player of the Match for the final. She, too, was named on the Cyprus Cup senior squad.

Emma Hansberry, Aileen Gilroy and Kim Flood were selected on the Intervarsities Team of the Tournament.

Winning the Intervarsity Cup was a personal triumph for team manager, Emma Mullin, FAI facilitator at IT Sligo. Emma has the unique achievement of winning an Intervarsity medal as both a Captain and a Manager. She captained the last IT Sligo soccer women’s team to win the Intervarsity Cup in 2007 and also played on the 2005 winning team.

Most of the Squad are IT Sligo Sports Scholarship holders – a scheme designed to assist talented student athletes to reach their sporting potential. For further information on the scheme, go to

IT Sligo Panel: Rachel King (Forensics Year 1); Kathryn Sullivan (Business Recreation and Leisure Year 4); Amy Roddy (Recreation and Leisure Year 3); Kim Flood (Business Recreation and Leisure Year 4); Nicole Fowley (Recreation and Leisure Year 3); Caoimhe Barrett (Health Science and Physiology Year 3); Geraldine McLoughlin (Recreation and Leisure Year 2); Aileen Gilroy (Recreation and Leisure Year 3); Aoife Brennan (Recreation and Leisure Year 2); Emma Hansberry (Health Science and Physiology Year 2); Colleen Cavanagh (Recreation and Leisure Year 3); Colleen Kearney (Health Science and Physiology Year 3); Enya Clarke (Health Science and Physiology Year 2); Louise O’ Connor (Recreation and Leisure Year 2); Tracy O’ Boyle (Health Science and Physiology Year 1); Cliodhna Maloney (Business Recreation and Leisure Year 4)

IT Sligo players celebrate Main pic

IT Sligo players jump for joy at the final whistle in their Intervarsities Cup win over UCD.

UCD v IT Sligo - WSCAI Intervarsities Cup Final 2014

Jubliant  IT Sligo captain Nicole Fowley holds the trophy aloft after the WSCAI Intervarities Cup final. Photo credit: SPORTSFILE

IT Sligo panel with Intervars Cup after final

IT Sligo Panel jpg: The victorious IT Sligo panel –(left to right) Colleen Kearney, Caoimhe Barrett, Emma Hansberry, Rachel King, Colleen Cavanagh, Geraldine McLoughlin, Louise O’ Connor, Amy Roddy, Kim Flood, Enya Clarke, Aoife Brennan, Cliodhna Maloney, Aileen Gilroy, Tracy O’ Boyle.  Giving a thumbs up on the ground is the captain, Nicole Fowley. (Missing from photo- Kathryn Sullivan).

Major Alzheimer’s Research Launched at IT Sligo

New EU-funded research is under way at IT Sligo into the plight of people with dementia who require acute care for an additional medical illness or serious injury. 

The aim of the research is to devise service solutions that would enable them to remain for longer at home with care and support rather than hospitalisation being the first option.

Acute care is where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition or during recovery from surgery.

The Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly (BMW) and the Centre for Design Innovation (CDI) at IT Sligo have launched the two-year pilot study which also involves partners in Belgium, France and Wales.

Initial anecdotal evidence points to a need for access to a co-ordinated system of information and advice on issues that include medication and care-management and other personal matters such as patient independence and “sense of self”.

According to Dr Linzi Ryan, the CDI’s Lead Researcher in the project, although research is still at an early stage a picture is emerging of a communications gap and some individuals and care-givers “feeling lost”.

The “Designing Services for Alzheimer’s Disease” (DSA) project has a steering committee of health care specialists and members of official agencies, professional and voluntary bodies involved in healthcare and Alzheimer’s and dementia issues.

The BMW Regional Assembly, based in Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon, is a regional development agency charged with managing an EU-funded programme of €454m and developing regional initiatives to improve to socio-economic position of the region and improving the delivery of public services. It is managing the DSA project, which is funded under the North West INTERREG Programme and is part of the transnational SPIDER initiative.

Following a competitive tender, the project was awarded to the CDI.  Dr Ryan is Ireland’s only holder of a PhD in Product and Service Innovation, which she was awarded at IT Sligo last year. She is from Crumlin in Dublin.

 Officially launching the project, Professor Terri Scott, President of IT Sligo, said: “This project is in an area that involves one of the most significant health challenges facing the country in the coming years. Achieving INTERREG funding is an indication of the international standing of the Institute and its partners, in collaboration with the BMW Regional Assembly. We look forward to the significant contribution that the research will make.”

BMW Director, Mr Gerry Finn said: “This important project is focused upon improving the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s by extending their capability to live independently through re-design of the current service delivery model. We are delighted to be associated with the Centre for Design Innovation at IT Sligo and leading this innovative approach to providing solutions and better service delivery.”

The launch event was chaired by Dr John Bartlett, Head of Research at IT Sligo and the other speakers included Mrs Helen Rochford-Brennan, Acting Chair of National Dementia Working Group.

The DSA initiative is under way against a backdrop of various factors:

  •  Hospital-stay marks a critical moment for people with dementia, often with a risk of them becoming “institutionalised”.
  • Research elsewhere suggests hospital-stay acute care for people with dementia carries a disproportionately high mortality rate.
  • It also suggests some people would not have to be admitted to hospital at all for their particular primary illness, were it not for the accompanying dementia.
  • The rising cost of health services is increasing the importance of identifying the factors in admission to acute care and appropriate alternative management systems.

Dr Ryan said: “We are trying to identify a gap that exists by talking to people with dementia, to care givers and health professionals, including hospital staffs who are working under immense pressures.

“We want to hear people’s personal stories so that we can then design how to make current processes as user-centred as possible and make the quality of life better for everybody involved better.”


Group Photo

Launch of the DSA research project: IT Sligo President, Professor Terri Scott and lead researcher, Dr Linzi Ryan with ( from left) Dr David Tormey, Dr John Bartlett, Mr Gerry Finn, BMW Director, and Mrs Helen Rochford-Brennan, Acting Chair of National Dementia Working Group.



Dr Linzi Ryan gives a presentation on her research at the launch of the Designing Services for Alzheimer’s Disease project.

IT Sligo Accounting Student Receives CIMA Award

IT Sligo final year Accountancy student, Ann Carter, has been awarded a coveted Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) award.  Ann who is from Abbeytown, Ballisodare, achieved the highest score in the Management Accounting modules during year two of her course.  The award was presented by Colm Murphy, Student Liaison Officer with CIMA.

While visiting the campus, Colm Murphy took the opportunity to speak to second year BA in Accounting and third year BB Accounting students.  His presentation emphasised the global nature of the CIMA qualification and its particular links in the USA and highlighted how the qualification allows students to travel the world.  He also commented on the new flexible exam structure that CIMA will be introducing next year.

IT Sligo’s BA (Hons) in Accounting has received generous exemptions from CIMA, in addition to exemptions from the other three professional accounting bodies, making it an attractive professional qualification which can open the door to exciting career opportunities.

Congratulating Ann on her success, Beatrice Flavin, lecturer in Management Accounting said she was pleased to welcome CIMA to IT Sligo.

“The CIMA presentation gave students an opportunity to learn more about the broad application of management accounting particularly in industry.”

John Gaynor, programme chair for the BA (Hons) in Accounting said he was delighted to see Ann Carter receive the award from CIMA.

“The BA (Hons) in Accounting is a fast track to qualification as an accountant and CIMA highlights the diverse range of roles an accountant can pursue.  The first cohort of students on the new degree in Accounting graduated in November and the majority of graduates have already secured contracts of employment or have gone on to complete Masters Degrees.

CIMA is the world’s leading and largest professional body of Management Accountants, with 183,000 members and students operating in 168 countries. It is the only international accountancy body with a sole focus on business and its members and students work in industry, commerce and not-for-profit organisations.

Ann Carter CIMA Award

Left to right: Beatrice Flavin, Lecturer, John Gaynor,  Programme Chair BA(Hons) Accounting, Colm Murphy, CIMA, Ann Carter, Student and Michael Barrett, Head of Department of Business IT Sligo.

IT Sligo Goes On Parade for St Patrick

IT Sligo students and staff are getting into the swing of things for St Patrick’s Day.


Tourism and Event Management 3rd year students got together to promote Sligo’s parade for the national saint’s day with their own Facebook page photographic competition.


The students, assisted by Ms Ann Higgins Head of the Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport, have been lending a hand to the local St Patrick’s Day Committee in promoting and helping to organise the big day.


Ann said:  ‘This is an excellent opportunity for our students to put their event management skills into practice, while ensuring that such an important annual event in the town continues to be a fun day for all the family.’


The annual parade has a particularly strong personal link for Ann.  Her late father, Tommy Higgins, former Mayor and a Freeman of Sligo, started the parade in the early 1970s. He died in April 2012, just a month after his last public appearance at the town’s annual parade.



IT Sligo students and staff show their true colours for Sligo’s St Patrick’s Day parade.  Pictured are, standing left to right, Craig McLoughlin,  Calhame,   Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Cara Bourdet, Downings, Co. Donegal;  Ann Higgins, Head of the Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport; Elaine Hannon, Pollough, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare;  Denise Coffey, Caherciveen, Co. Kerry; Alanna Molloy, Glenties, Co. Donegal; Martina Cunningham, Killybegs Co. Donegal

Research Centre Boost for IT Sligo

A new environmental research centre at IT Sligo will strengthen the Institute’s role in tackling regional and national challenges in ecology, sustainability and how best to manage natural resources.

Launching the Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) Micheál Ó Cinnéide, Director at the Environmental Protection Agency, said it was a timely development in a period when Ireland must ensure that natural resources are used wisely.

CERIS will act as a driver for strengthening the Institute’s research capacity and promoting further collaboration with other third-level institutions, organisations and industries.

Dr. Frances Lucy, the Centre’s Director said: “CERIS provides a new important platform for the development and sustainability of environmental research at IT Sligo. While we have a long-standing track record in this research area, it is now imperative to embed this within a strategic research centre.”

Environment and engineering researchers at IT Sligo work on a range of projects that are funded by national organisations including Science Foundation Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Research Council, and international companies.

Current projects include research on identification and management of high nature value farmland in Ireland; bog rehabilitation research; zebra mussel control and management; acoustic fish deterrents;  development of biofuels from marine sources; activated sludge wastewater treatment optimisation;  and a project on moving IT Sligo towards a world class green campus.

In June 2014, CERIS will run a training workshop on Aquatic Invasive Species for American researchers, industry and state agencies at Buffalo State College in United States.

Professor Terri Scott, President of IT Sligo, who jointly launched the Centre, said it represented a new era in environmental and ecological research at the Institute.

She said: “CERIS builds on the track record and achievement of IT Sligo’s researchers in environmental  science and sustainability and it will enable the Institute to increase our already very significant contribution to tackling major issues that are highly  relevant to the wider community .”

Mr. Ó Cinnéide stated that CERIS would build on more than two decades of IT Sligo’s excellence in teaching and outreach in Environmental Studies and Ecology which had helped to train and inspire many graduates now working in State agencies, local councils and industry.


He added: “The setting up of CERIS is very timely for Sligo and the North West region as we face into the challenges of building a more sustainable Ireland in this time of recovery. Ireland and the region need to look at the environmental aspects of energy, agriculture, marine resources, water and soil to ensure that these resources are used wisely for the benefit of future generations.”

Dr Lucy told the launch ceremony that IT Sligo students undertaking environmental science degrees would have the opportunity of being involved in CERIS research in their final year.  The Centre would also promote research links between undergraduates and postgraduates.


Talented Paul Wins National Craft Award


Paul Hosty of IT Sligo and PDJ Construction has scooped the top prize for Joinery in this year’s Ireland Skills competition, the annual showcase for outstanding young craft talent.


It is the sixth successive year that an IT Sligo trainee has won the top Joinery prize.


Paul, who is from Castlegar, Co Galway, has completed his Phase 4 and 6 Apprenticeship programs in IT Sligo and has been working with PDJ Construction Ltd of Ballinasloe, Co Galway, for five years.


His success crowned a remarkable performance by IT Sligo’s competitors that underpinned its reputation as the leader in advanced wood and sustainable building technology nationally.


Each year, the top students from the Apprenticeship programs and the new BSc in Advanced Wood & Sustainable Building Technology course at IT Sligo are nominated to take part in the Ireland Skills competitions.


Congratulating the Institute’s six finalists and its specialist teaching staff, Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction, said the current pickup in the construction sector makes this a good time for students to choose related courses at IT Sligo.


The Institute’s other five finalists in Joinery and Carpentry were top place-winners in the competitions, which were held at Cork Institute of Technology.


As well as the Ireland Skills Joinery 1st prize, Paul received the John Sisk & Sons Joinery Trophy, presented by Dave Treacy, the firm’s Training Manager,


In the final, competitors using hand tools and machinery had to shape an intricately designed sash window frame with a curved head and glazing bars.


Paul said: “I was delighted. It really was unexpected. I was in the final in 2012 and came second and at the time I thought that was good – but this time, it’s even better.


“I have to thank everyone at IT Sligo – fair play to John Joe O’Reilly and his colleagues there — and here, too, at PDJ Construction. They have given me all the time off that I needed for my courses and project training.”


IT Sligo lecturer John Joe O’Reilly, who is the Ireland Skills Chief Joinery Expert, said: “All our students performed to a very high standard and represented the Institute with great distinction over the demanding 19 hour competition. Great credit must also go to all the staff of the Department of Applied Technology in IT Sligo.”


The other IT Sligo trained students finalists were: Joinery – David Burgess from Leixlip, Co Kildare (2nd) and Jamie Conlon,  Dromahair, Co Leitrim (3rd):  Carpentry – David Sheehy, Killarney, Co Kerry ( 2nd); Aaron Pearson, Ballybofey, Co Donegal (3rd) and Diarmuid O Finneadha, Lochan Beag Indreabhan, Co. na Gallimhe (4th).


Kieran Gallagher, Programme Chair of the BSc in Advanced Wood & Sustainable Building Technology at IT Sligo, said: “We are committed to delivering a modern innovative programme which will meet the future needs of the industry. We heartily congratulate Paul and all our finalists and hope to see many of our graduates achieving similar success in the future”.


Trevor McSharry said the Carpentry and Joinery group at IT Sligo continues to have the strongest performance at the national skills competition.


He added: “The latest Ulster Bank Construction Report in January confirmed that the construction sector recovery is well underway with a strong expansion in activity and staffing levels over the last four months. This is leading to construction graduate shortages in many areas. As a result, more students are now considering courses in this growth area, which is forecasted to grow at least 10% each year until it reaches a sustainable level of activity, typically 12% of GDP.”




CIT WinnerPres

Dr Brendan Murphy, President CIT, presents Paul Hosty of IT Sligo with the Ireland Skills Joinery winner’s award at the national finals, held at Cork Institute of Technology. Also pictured are (l-r)  Cllr. Noel O’Connor, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Catherine Clancy, Lord Mayor of Cork, Sean Sherlock, Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation, Departments of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and Education & Skills and John Joe O Reilly, Lecturer I.T. Sligo and Ireland Skills Chief Joinery Expert.

JohnSiskLtd1stIreland (1)

Dave Treacy, Training Manager at John Sisk & Sons Ltd, presents Paul Hosty with the John Sisk Trophy at the Ireland Skills finals, held at Cork Institute of Technology. Also photographed are Cllr. Noel O’Connor , Mayor of the County of Cork, Dr Brendan Murphy, President  (CIT), Cllr. Catherine Clancy, Lord Mayor of Cork, Sean Sherlock, Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation, Departments of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and Education & Skills and John Joe O Reilly, Lecturer I.T. Sligo and Ireland Skills Chief Joinery Expert

TrainingProjectsPriorTo (2)

IT Sligo finalists at the Irish Skills Competition are (l-r) David Sheehy, Diarmuid O Finneadha, Paul Hosty (Joinery Winner), Jamie Conlon and Aaron Pearson. With them is IT Sligo lecturer and Ireland Skills Chief Joinery Expert, John Joe O’Reilly.


Paul Hosty of IT Sligo, winner of the Ireland Skills 2014 Joiner award, with his girlfriend Shauna McGinty, his sister Mary, parents Mary and Thomas, and IT Sligo lecturer, John Joe O’Reilly, who is Ireland Skills Chief Joinery Expert,

Elaine is Top Intervarsity Showjumper

IT Sligo student Elaine Horan notched up a memorable victory when she decided to compete in the National Intervarsity Equestrian Championships “just for the craic”.

Elaine (19), from Strandhill, Co Sligo, ended the day as the top rider, winning the Individual Show-jumping title from a field that included a number of well-known riders on the national show-jumping circuit.

“It’s a great confidence booster and I was delighted to win,” said Elaine, who is studying Health Science and Physiology. A total 109 riders from 20 colleges took part in the show-jumping event. Riders progressed through the various stages on the basis of clear rounds and marks from judges for their riding style and ability.

It is the first time the prestigious title has come to IT Sligo. A team of three represented the Institute in the championships, which were hosted by Trinity College Dublin and held Killossery Lodge Stud in north county Dublin. The event also had dressage and prix caprilli (team) competitions.

Cheering on Elaine were the other IT Sligo team members, third-year students Olivia Burns from Kilmacowen and Avril Burke from Collooney. Olivia is doing Business Studies and Avril is studying Medical Biotechnology. The trio are trained by Declan McGarry at the Sligo Riding Centre. IT Sligo lecturer Louise Walsh, one of the guiding lights behind the flourishing club, said: “Elaine put in a first-class performance and everyone here is very excited by her win. To get a national title at your first try is truly inspirational and it sets the bar high for the other students in the Club.”

Though a novice at national events, Elaine is no stranger to the saddle. “Horse-riding is in our family’s blood. I started lessons when I was about six,” she explained. “It was my first time to go into the championship. I just said I would do it and see. To be honest, I thought it would be an experience. I didn’t think I’d get past the first round but I said I’d go for the craic. And then when I did get through it, it kind of went from there. I had to wait a while for the final result but it was a nice feeling when they called out my name.

As well as studying for her degree, Elaine is also studying to be a horse-riding instructor. She  has already taken the first two stages of the British Horse Society’s four-part instructor qualification examinations. The team was supported by IT Sligo Students’ Union and sponsored by Burns Car Sales and BTW.

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National Intervarsity Individual Showjumping champion Elaine Horan and are her trainer, Declan McGarry, celebrate her title win with Dr Jerry Bird, Head of the School of Science at IT Sligo and lecturer Louise Walsh.

Equestrian Comp019

Avril Burke, Elaine Horan (centre) and Olivia Burns, the IT Sligo team who competed in the National Intervarsity Equestrian Championships, where Elaine won the Individual Showjumping title. Pictured also are IT Sligo lecturer, Louise Walsh and Dr Jerry Bird, Head of the School of Science.

New “Tobacco-Free” Zones at IT Sligo

IT Sligo is establishing three “Tobacco Free” zones outside several key buildings on its campus.


By getting people to stop smoking in the open-air zones, the Institute hopes to achieve better air quality and reduce passive smoking dangers for the benefit of students, staff and visitors. The designated areas were announced today, Ash Wednesday. They include busy entrances to teaching, administrative, canteen and students’ services buildings and the area around the Knocknarea Arena.


It is an initiative of a group of Public Health and Health Promotion students, and is part of the Institute’s new “Healthy Campus Initiative”, under the direction of Life Sciences Lecturer, Máire McCallion the Institute’s Health and Safety Officer, Yvonne Roache. Named “Breathe Easy”, the policy is being phased in with the aim of encouraging voluntary buy-in from smokers. The students developed the plan after conducting a campus survey which showed that more than half of respondents wanted an entirely smoke-free campus. The backdrop to their work is the “Tobacco Free Ireland” report, launched by the Minister for Health, Dr Reilly, last October which proposed radically reducing smoking by 2025.


Among its recommendations was promotion of “tobacco free campuses for all third-level institutions in consultation with key stakeholders”. The students received official backing when they and members of the cross-campus Healthy Campus committee met the Institute’s Executive last month. Professor Terri Scott, President of IT Sligo, said: “The new zones will make the campus a healthier and more welcoming place for the entire campus community and visitors. The students and the Healthy Campus committee deserve great praise for all their efforts. “When they outlined the ideas to Executive members, we liked what we heard. They were pushing an open door.” Initially, the students will monitor the zones’ day to day operation and if people light up they will hand them cards drawing attention to the new designation. Each card will also have details of stop-smoking advisory services. “Breathe Easy” team member Shannon Gorman said: “The project takes a positive approach by encouraging smokers not to smoke in the tobacco-free areas and getting staff and students to support the project. “This way, we hope to denormalise smoking in these areas so that people come to regard it as being, literally, out of place.”


The project is part of a three-step programme that could see the campus being entirely smoke-free by September 2015. It is planned to have a tobacco free zone at the main exits/entrances of each campus building next September. Institute officials, who say a tobacco-free campus by September 2015 is an ambitious target, emphasise that no decision on it will be taken in advance of a consultation process. The “Breathe Easy” team comprises Afric Gray, who is from Calry, Co Sligo, Daniel Simpson from Sligo, Eilis Gannon, Williamstown, Co Galway, Lorraine Moylan, Beagh, Gort, Co Galway, Rebecca Neary, Boyle, Co Roscommon and Shannon Gorman, Killybegs, Co Donegal. They are working closely with Yvonne Roache and Máire McCallion and have received support from IT Sligo Students’ Union, IT Sligo Student Health Services and Pauline Kent, HSE Smoking Cessation Co-coordinator, Sligo Regional Hospital.


Kicking the habit: At the launch of IT Sligo’s three Tobacco Free zones, students Eilis Gannon (front right) and Shannon Gorman (front left) happily boot out an an welcome “cigarette” encouraged by (left to right) Rebecca Neary, Afric Gray, Daniel Simpson and Lorraine Moylan.


IT Sligo students Rebecca Neary, Boyle, Co. Roscommon and Daniel Simpson from Sligo, grimace at the sight of a jar showing the amount of tar that builds up in the lungs if you smoke “20 a day” for a year. They were taking part in the launch of three Tobacco Free zones at the campus.


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