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Tipperary – Kick For Kolkata

A 25 year old primary school teacher, Mr Kevin O’Riordan, from Killea, near Templemore, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, has taken on the challenge of kicking points at all 1,616 GAA clubs in the 32 counties of Ireland. His aim; to raise money for the children of Kolkata in India, where he will return again for five weeks during the summer of 2016.

K-Oriordan

Aided by the co-operation of GAA county boards and local clubs, Kevin begins his daily exercise at about 7.15am and ends at 6.30pm. He began his Kickathon on August 29th last, photographing his presence at every GAA club in which he records kicking a point.

Back in June 2014, Mr O’Riordan qualified volunteering to work with the Froebel/HOPE Partnership to help children in Kolkata, (meaning ‘Field of [the goddess] Kali’.) formerly Calcutta and capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Here exists areas of slum-like conditions similar to that experienced by Mother Teresa. Each evening Kevin watched the children being taught under his care, go back onto the streets begging, with every rupee they received being taken off them by supreme overlords skulking nearby.

Having returned to Ireland, Kevin decided to raise money for the HOPE Foundation. Last August he set off to “Kick a point on every GAA pitch over the 32 counties of Ireland”, as well as seek sponsorship from clubs, supporters and the general public.

As stated, Kevin will return to Kolkata in June and you can follow his progress on KickForKolkata Facebook page, while assisting him in his fund-raising efforts at www.gofundme.com/mgx2b8pm.

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LIT Thurles Students Scoop Awards At Games Fleadh 2016

Three LIT Thurles students have been recognised for their achievements in game design and development at Games Fleadh 2016, an all-island games design and development competition for third-level students.

LIT

Winning LIT Thurles Students; David Morton, Samantha Marah and Samuel MacSweeney at Thurles Games Fleadh 2016.

Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games, Ubisoft and the Irish Computer Society, the 13th annual Games Fleadh event took place on March 9th on LIT’s Thurles campus which is home to the B.Sc in Computing in Games Design and Development.

Event organisers reported their busiest year yet with over 29 teams taking part in various game design and development competitions. The entries were viewed, played and tested by over 400 members of the general public who attended the event.

A stellar cast of judges reviewed the entries and scored the students on their creations. The judges included John Romero the creator of Doom, representatives from EA Games and Snozbot.

David Morton, a 4th year LIT student, won ‘Best in Game Play’ and ‘Best Windows Phone Game’ for his game ‘Pirates vs Aliens’. Samantha Marah and Samuel MacSweeney, both 2nd year students, were awarded ‘Best in Original Digital Art’ and ‘Best in Original Story’ for their game ‘Pixel Pirate Defense’.

Speaking about Games Fleadh 2016, event organiser and lecturer at LIT’s Game Design and Development degree in Thurles Dr. Liam Noonan said, “Games Fleadh was a fantastic event and it showcased the emerging Irish game design and development talent out there. We were delighted with the achievements of our Games Design and Development students.”

Visit www.gamesfleadh.ie for more.

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Game Developers Make ‘Trip to Tipp’ For Games Fleadh 2016

Leading game developers, including John Romero, to participate in Thurles LIT/Microsoft event.

litThe organisers of “Games Fleadh”, Ireland’s version of the Oscars for undergraduate game designers and developers will welcome some of the biggest names in the gaming industry as they gather at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) campus here in Thurles on March 9th. They will participate in Games Fleadh 2016, an all-island games design and development competition for third-level students.

Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games, Ubisoft and the Irish Computer Society, the 13th annual Games Fleadh will feature the Game Studio Tower Defence competition and Robocode.

Event organisers say the Irish games design and development sector has recently enjoyed strong growth as evidenced by job announcements from EA, Black Shamrock and ZeniMax, as well as the relocation from Silicon Valley to Galway of ‘Romero Games‘.

“This high profile move to Ireland by John and Brenda Romero; whose title credits include ‘Doom’, ‘Dangerous Dave’, ‘Quake’, ‘Wizardry’ and ‘The Mechanic is the Message’, is an endorsement of the potential of this sector to develop. EA have continued to grow their presence in Galway and with the addition of their QA team, are creating job opportunities for Irish game developer graduates. The recent establishment of the Irish game makers association ‘Imirt’ lends further evidence to the growth and optimism in this sector”, said Dr. Liam Noonan, event organiser and lecturer at LIT’s Game Design and Development degree in Thurles at today’s launch of Games Fleadh 2016.

Speaking about Games Fleadh 2016, Dr. Noonan continued, “Games Fleadh is a fantastic networking opportunity for the Irish game development sector and in many ways it is the Game Development Oscars for our undergraduate students on the Island of Ireland.”

Games Fleadh will feature a keynote talk by John Romero as well as talks by industry professionals from EA, Microsoft and Fungus Games. This year, a new innovation sees the inclusion of start-up sessions, which will provide insight from recently formed Irish start-ups in the game design and development sector.

Games Fleadh will also host a number of competitions on the day including an EA FIFA 2016 and UFC tournaments, with numerous EA titles being provided as prizes for the various competitions. To celebrate the launch of Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s ‘The Division’ on March 8th, the game will be playable at Games Fleadh. Once gamers have had a chance to play, developers at Ubisoft Massive Entertainment will answer any questions and feedback on comments about ‘The Division’. There will also be some great Tom Clancy’s ‘The Division’ prizes in the Games Fleadh raffle.

Commenting ahead of the event, EA Ireland said, “We at EA look forward to meeting the many games design and development students from across Ireland at LIT Games Fleadh 2016 and sharing our experiences in the design and development of future titles. We welcome the opportunity to support game development competitions in Ireland and to work with the various 3rd level Institutions to ensure we have talented graduates to avail of the many career opportunities in this sector.”

Senior PR Manager Stefan McGarry from Ubisoft said, “We are delighted that Tom Clancy’s ‘The Division’ will feature at this year’s Games Fleadh. It’s a great showcase for new games design and development, and we’re very pleased to be supporting such talent.”

Games Fleadh 2016 is open to the public for free. Online registration is available at www.gamesfleadh.ie. For more visit www.twitter.com/gamesfleadh.

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Thurles Enterprise Town Expo Set For March

Do you wish to highlight what your business can offer to customers?
Do you feel the need to inform those in the community, precisely what your organisation is attempting to achieve?

If so, then the upcoming Thurles Enterprise Town Expo could be just the thing for you.

BOI

Thurles Branch of Bank of Ireland, through their Manager Patricia Ryan, is facilitating an initiative which will see a major expo based on the three pillars – Business, Community and Schools – of our local community, with same taking place on Friday and Saturday March 11th and 12th in St Patrick’s College, here in Thurles.

Following a very successful and well attended launch at the B.O.I. branch in liberty Square on Thursday evening last, full community participation is anticipated in a drive to portray Thurles as the Enterprise Town.

A special organising committee has been established for the event and a fun run/walk will also be part of the activities which will see clubs, organisations, societies and community associations, rubbing shoulders with the many superb businesses operating in Thurles; together with the schools/colleges; to showcase their overall activities. This promises to be a very unique event for the premier town.

Patricia Ryan told those in attendance last week; “We are privileged to be able to introduce the Enterprise Town concept to Thurles. Everyone will have a chance to showcase everything they wish and having witnessed it first hand in Callan, County Kilkenny where I live, I can vouch for the success of the programme and the benefits to be accrued.”

As part of this initiative Thurles Vintage Club will also hold a Tractor Run on the 13th March, thereby making the event in reality more of a three day occasion. The chosen charities for the Enterprise Town are Suir Haven and North Tipperary Hospice with the funds being raised through registration for the Tractor Run, and also for the Fun Walk/Run on the Saturday morning. Entry, for participants and visitors to the Expo in St Patrick’s College is free of charge to both exhibitors and visitors, but exhibitors must book in advance in order to be allocated exhibition space.

Thurles Chamber of Commerce elected President, Mr John Butler backed whole heartedly the initiative and commended Bank of Ireland for putting Thurles forward as an Enterprise Town. “Here is”, he stated, “a great opportunities to promote Thurles and what it has to offer from a business, community and enterprise perspective”.

Exhibitors will be allocated space in the chosen venue on Friday afternoon – the event takes place from 4:00pm7:00pm on Friday and from 11:00am2:00pm on Saturday. Bank of Ireland will match the funds raised for both charities up to a maximum of €1,000.  There will also be a schools element to the initiative with opportunities to view school exhibits in the afternoon – the students of today are the business people of tomorrow after all.

Josette Hartnett, a native of Thurles, who has worked on a number of Enterprise Town programmes, said she was thrilled to have it in her native town and outlined the benefits which can accrue from it. She encouraged all Businesses, Enterprises, Clubs, Societies and Organisations to get involved and stated that participation in the event will help to open up those participating to a much wider audience.

A keynote speaker at this event will be announced very soon and the hard working committee are putting the preparations in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly over the course of the two day event.

Remember: If you are interested in participating, you must register with Bank of Ireland immediately. “This can be a major success for Thurles and I encourage everyone to get involved,” stated B.O.I. Branch Manager Patricia Ryan.

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Thurles L.I.T. Strike Over Crisis Within Education

tui

Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) lecturers outside the Thurles Campus, strike over crises within the educational sector.

Institute of Technology academic staff represented by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) went on a one day strike today, (Wednesday February 3rd 2016), thus commencing a campaign of industrial action regarding a number of crisis issues within their sector. Last December, third level members voted in a national ballot, by a margin of 92%, in favour of a campaign of industrial action up to and including strike action.

Today’s action was brought about following key concerns of chronic underfunding of the sector, a 32% rise in student numbers over a time when lecturer numbers have fallen by 10% and the precarious employment status of many of the lecturers themselves.

The TUI, which represent 4,000 lecturers and researchers in Institutes of Technology and are urging the Department of Education and Skills to engage meaningfully with them and to urgently attempt to address these serious issues.

Speaking to the strikers today, we understand that on a daily basis, that Institute of Technology lecturers observe at first-hand what damage an era of austerity cuts can have on the student experience within higher education. According to the striking workforce the Institute of Technology sector has been brutalised by an era of anti-educational cutbacks and the latest figures speak for themselves, i.e. Funding cut by 35% (€190m) between 2008 and 2015; Student numbers rising by a staggering (32%) 21,411; Lecturer numbers falling by 9.5% (535) etc. This situation is having a daily direct and detrimental effect on the quality of services available to students not to mention the working conditions of the academics themselves.

While the vast increase in numbers participating in third level education is being welcomed, the complete failure to provide appropriate funding and to maintain appropriate staffing levels is now long past the stage of having a negative impact on the student experience at higher education levels. Students now experience much larger class sizes, less access to laboratories and libraries and a sharp cut to tutorials and other student supports.

Lecturer workloads currently being undertaken have increased significantly to the point of being intolerably in recent years. Recent findings via a survey carried out by TUI show that lecturers are experiencing high levels of work related stress as a result of cutbacks and rationalisation measures which were put into force.

This sector has made an enormous contribution to social, economic and cultural development, yet their success is being dangerously undermined by short sighted and vicious austerity cuts. In the absence of any move towards remedying this unacceptable situation, academic staff in the institutes have been left with no option but to take necessary strike action.

They now urging the Department of Education and Skills to take serious heed and engage with them on these crisis issues.

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