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Conference to look at marine side of Donegal lilfe

Fanad Lighthouse.

Fanad Lighthouse.

A conference in Letterkenny Institute of Technology next Friday will concentrate on the obvious but often over-looked marine side of Donegal life.

The 7th Annual Laurentic Conference is being held in Letterkenny for the first time and tackles one of the most relevant topics for Donegal and the entire Northwest of Ireland: how we interact with the ocean that surrounds us.

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The free Conference is entitled “Ocean Technologies, Marine Tourism and Applied Digital Technologies” and will look at a wide range of issues, from basking sharks and the Fanad Lighhouse Project to wave power.

The Ulster Canada Initiative’s conference will also ask how we can utilise best practice in Applied Digital Technologies.

Among the distinguished speakers is Stephen O’Sullivan, Principal at REMTec Consulting who has over 10 years of professional experience of the Irish marine renewable energy sector and has worked with a broad range of skilled people in industry, academia, state agencies and Government departments.

Stephen has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCD and a masters in Computer-Aided Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from DCU, and is a member of Engineers Ireland (MIEI). He was one of the founding members of the Ocean Energy Development Unit at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and worked there up until 2013.

The conference will also look at aspects of marine tourism. There will be a talk on The Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group which was founded in Greencastle Fisheries College in 2009 during the first Irish Shark Conference. The basking sharks frequent an area off Mailin Head and they have been attracting great attention, both national and international. The group use the iconic basking shark as a totem for the wider marine environment and their mission is to develop; sustainable management of marine resources through informed decision making.

The address will be given by Emmett Johnston who is co-founder of Irish Basking Shark Study Group and is a part-time PhD student with Queens University Belfast. He has over 15 years’ experience as a professional conservationist with the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service and The National Trust for Scotland.

The Conference is partnered with the unique Laurentic Commemoration, an annual cross-community remembrance service honouring the men from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Canada who were among the 354 men lost when the SS Laurentic sunk in Lough Swilly in the First World War. The Commemoration will take place on Saturday, May 9th in St Mura’s Church of Ireland Cemetery Fahan at 10:30 am, Cockhill cemetery, Buncrana at 11:30 am followed by a reception at Fort Dunree at 12:30 pm.

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The speakers are: John Breslin, Executive Director, Smart Bay Ireland; Patricia Comiskey, Programme Manager, Oncean Energy Development, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; Mike Devane, Business partner with Quilly Consulting (speaking as chair of Galway Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Group); Stephen O’Sullivan, principal of RemTec Consulting (Renewables, Marine Technology and Enviroment); Gordon Cooke, Associate Professor, faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Paul McCusker, lecturer in Business Studies, LYIT; Charlie McCarron, Research Assistant, Faculty of Business, LYIT; Colm McColgan, General Manager ERNACT; Mark Cullen, lecturer of Design and Creative Technology, University of Ulster; Terence Coyle, chairperson, Ned’s Point Fort; Owen Doyle, Inshore Fisheries Development Officer/ Facilitator Donegal, Bord Iascaigh Mhara; Emmett Johnston, Coordinator of the Irish Basking Shark PRoject; Ciaran McElwaine, Fanad Head Lighthouse project.

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