Homeless crisis to be discussed by eight European front line organisations at seminar organised by Sophia, Midlands Simon Community and SMES Europa

  •  Minister Eoghan Murphy T.D, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, opens seminar
  • Sophia’s ‘Housing First’ model believes long term solution to homelessness is a home for life – not just a bed for a night

Sophia, the organisation that supports families, couples and individuals as they emerge from the traumatic experience of homelessness, and their collaborative partner, Midlands Simon Community, will today welcome eight front line organisations from seven European countries to Ireland to participate in a series of project visits, workshops and seminars around the issue of homelessness.

Discussing the theme ‘Responding to the current homeless crisis: Challenges and Solutions’, the delegation is meeting in Dublin and Athlone this week to exchange international models of best practice and share ideas on how to effectively support people emerging from homelessness.

The representatives are from the SMES Europa network, a European wide network of organisations working with people who are homeless and socially excluded as well as those who present with mental health support needs. Sophia and the Midlands Simon Community are both members of the organisation.

Sophia, which was founded 20 years ago by Jean Quinn DW and Eamonn Martin, provides an alternative approach to ending homelessness through it’s ‘Housing First’ model. The organisation was established out of recognition that hostels and shelters wouldn’t end the homelessness crisis, and what was needed was a caring, compassionate response that supported people to have a home of their own as quickly as possible.

Sophia’s ‘Housing First’ model focuses on not only providing a home, but recognising the support needs of people who are recovering from homelessness. The organisation owns and manages a range of homes in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Sligo and now works with over 500 families, couples and individuals at any one time.

The delegation will this week visit a number of projects across Dublin and the Midlands including Sophia Sean McDermott Street, where Sophia has provided support to 36 people who were long term homeless and with complex support needs. Other agencies may have been reluctant to offer homes to these people due to high probability they would relapse into homelessness again. However, nearly 18 months after opening, 33 out of the original 36 people in the Sophia Sean McDermott Street project are still living in their own homes. This is above the national average and on a par with the best outcomes anywhere in the world.

Attending the seminar this week are:

  • Sophia / Midlands Simon Community
  • Caritas Warsaw
  • UDENFOR Copenhagen
  • Fondazione Istituto Andrea Devoto Florence
  • Psychiatric Hospital in Lisbon
  • SMES-Belgium
  • SMES Italy
  • Sant Joan de Deu Psychiatric Hospital in Barcelona

Travelling with the delegation are renowned practitioners such as Dr Preben Brandt, a highly respected service provider with UDENFOR Copenhagen in Denmark, and the respected community psychiatrist Dr Antonio Bento from the Central Psychiatric Hospital in Lisbon.

The seminar was formally opened on Wednesday morning – by Eoghan Murphy T.D, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and included presentations from:

  • Jean Quinn D.W, Founder of Sophia and Executive Director of Unanimity International
  • Eileen Gleeson, Director of the Dublin Regional Housing Executive
  • Dr Bernie O’Donoghue Hynes, Head of Research at the Dublin Regional Housing Executive
  • Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services

On Friday 27 October, the event will move to Athlone where Midlands Simon Community will host visits to Slí Nua and EAS Athlone and a range of contributors, including Ciarán Cannon T.D., Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, will speak about regional homelessness.

Minister Eoghan Murphy T.D, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, says:

“As a society we have to respond to the needs of people that are homeless. In the Budget earlier this month, the Government allocated €116 million for homelessness which is an increase of €18m. We must also to look at innovative models to improve homeless services, and I commend the collaborative approach of Sophia and the Midlands Simon Community for hosting the SMES Europa seminar for the first time in Ireland.”  

Jean Quinn D.W, Founder of Sophia, says: “It is an honour for Sophia in conjunction with the Midlands Simon Community to host likeminded organisations from across Europe. Little did we think when we established Sophia 20 years ago this year that we would have organisations coming to Sophia to learn from how we have supported people to recover from homelessness.  

In particular, we are proud of Sophia Sean McDermott Street, where we have provided support to 36 people who were long term homeless and with complex support needs. The fact that 33 out of the original 36 people are still living in their own homes outlines that the Sophia model is effective in supporting the most marginalised people in society and it reinforces the need for the state to not only to provide housing but to provide the funding to ensure people receive the support they require.” 

Tony O’Riordan, CEO of Sophia Housing, says: “Sophia has always sought to support people with not only a need for housing but those who also have multiple needs and these needs have been accentuated by the experience of being homelessness. Sophia has, over the last 20 years, developed a model that creates the therapeutic environment that successfully supports permanent recovery from homelessness and hundreds of people have left the instability of homelessness and moved to the security of their own home because of being supported by Sophia. We are delighted to share this model with other service providers in Ireland and across Europe”

For more information about Sophia, please visit www.sophia.ie
Find us on Facebook or Twitter @sophia_housing 
For more information about the Midlands Simon Community, please visit www.midlandssimon.com/
Find us on Facebook or Twitter @midlandssimon  
For more information about SMES Europa, please visit


Healthcare heroes that are making an IMPACT – 2017 shortlist revealed for annual GSK Ireland IMPACT Awards

  • Up to five winning charities will receive €10,000 each, with five runner-up charities to receive €2,000 each
  • Awards designed to champion and reward the unsung heroes among small Irish healthcare charities

Ten charities across Ireland have been shortlisted for the GSK Ireland IMPACT Awards 2017, which are designed to recognise and reward small to medium community-based charities nationwide doing excellent work to improve people’s health and wellbeing while also making a real difference to local communities.

The shortlisted charities are:

  • 22Q11 Ireland Support Group Limited
  • Alcohol Forum
  • Blue Teapot Theatre Company
  • Coeliac Society of Ireland
  • Downs Syndrome Centre
  • Irish Men’s Shed Association
  • Sexual Health Centre
  • Spinal Injuries Ireland
  • Turn2Me
  • Wexford Mental Health Association

*More details on each charity are listed below

This is the third year of the GSK Ireland IMPACT Awards and is an expansion of the global healthcare company’s IMPACT Awards programme which has been running in the UK and USA for over 20 years.

Up to five winning Irish charities will receive €10,000 each in unrestricted funding, while five runner-up charities will receive €2,000 each. In addition to the prize money, winning charities will also receive a video and photography package to use in promoting their work and services.

Charities are required to undertake a lengthy and strict entry process for the awards, which includes a review and presentation of their financials, governance, services and membership growth over the previous twelve months allowing judges to understand the worthy service and care they provide along with their commitment to transparency, patient focus, integrity and respect – all values that mirror GSK’s culture.

The GSK Ireland IMPACT Awards 2017 will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel of professionals which includes Maurice Pratt, Chair of Barretstown, former Tánaiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney, and Deirdre Garvey, CEO of the Wheel.

The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday 22nd November 2017 and the highly anticipated event is an excellent opportunity for each charity to raise awareness of their worthwhile work and services.

Jacinta Collins, Communications Director for GSK said: “I’d like to congratulate all the wonderful charities who have made the final shortlist in this year’s GSK Ireland IMPACT Awards. We received 100 entries this year which made it very difficult to whittle it down to the final 10.  

Healthcare charities tackle some of society’s most difficult, often overlooked challenges. GSK wants to champion these charities, so many of whom are at the heart of Irish health and wellbeing, and support them in continuing their great work. Previous GSK Ireland IMPACT Award winners show that it is possible to run a small charity well while making a huge IMPACT in communities. Last year we found 10 truly inspirational charities and we are so proud to have helped them continue and expand their support. We’re looking forward to announcing this year’s winners and getting to know each of the shortlisted charities.”

The Irish healthcare charities on the GSK IMPACT Awards 2017 shortlist are:

  • 22Q11 Ireland Support Group Limited – The national Irish Charity for individuals and families affected by 22q11.2 deletion/DiGeorge Syndrome/V.C.F.S
  • Alcohol Forum – The only alcohol charity in Ireland working at community level to reduce alcohol consumption levels through the implementation of best practice/needs led/structured activity on community mobilisation and community action on alcohol.
  • Blue Teapot Theatre Company – Blue Teapot is a multi-award winning Theatre Company, Performing Arts School and Outreach programme for people with intellectual disabilities at the forefront of arts and disability in Ireland. They are committed to high quality theatre, training and the celebration of creativity.
  • Coeliac Society of Ireland – Provide information and support to people diagnosed with coeliac disease throughout Ireland. They create awareness of coeliac disease, its symptoms and how to live healthy on a gluten-free diet.
  • Down Syndrome Centre – The Down Syndrome Centre provides specialist services such as early intervention, speech and language therapy, parent and baby classes to children with Down syndrome.
  • Irish Men’s Shed Association – The Irish Men’s Shed Association (IMSA) is a member-based organisation which exists to maintain links and share information through the network of men’s sheds in Ireland, ensuring men have the opportunity to maintain and improve their well-being on their own terms and within their own communities.
  • Sexual Health Centre – Based in Cork, The Sexual Health Centre provides information and support on sexual health without judgement.
  • Spinal Injuries Ireland – Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) is the only support and service agency in Ireland for people who have sustained a spinal cord injury and their families. Providing person centred service to assist people to engage fully in society.
  • Turn2Me – A website that helps people to get help. The site lets people know that they are not alone and facilitates a safe online community space that allows people to open up and reach out for help.
  • Wexford Mental Health Association – Wexford Mental Health Association promotes positive mental health and wellbeing to all individuals and communities and supports existing mental health services in County Wexford.


For more information, please visit http://ie.gsk.com/ie/responsibility/health-for-all/gsk-ireland-impact-awards/


David Walliams to receive Bord Gáis Energy ‘International Recognition Award’ at the BGE Irish Book Awards 2017

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards televised show moves

to a new 9.30pm primetime slot on RTÉ One


David Walliams, the mega-selling children’s author, will be presented with the ‘International Recognition Award’ at this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards ceremony which takes place in Dublin on 28th November 2017.

Walliams will receive the accolade in recognition of his significant contribution to children’s literature in the past decade. The author joins a roll-call of previous recipients of the ‘International Recognition Award’, which include Jilly Cooper, Jeffrey Archer and Bill Bryson.

“This is delightful news,” said Walliams. “I am so pleased that my friends in Ireland have given me this huge honour. I love writing books for children and will continue doing so for as long as people want to read them.” 

David Walliams is a global phenomenon in the world of publishing and his books have revolutionised reading for children. His ability to wow fans is unprecedented with global sales exceeding 20 million copies and his books translated into 53 languages.

With two Irish number-one bestselling titles already under his belt this year (Blob and World’s Worst Children 2), Walliams is on track for continued chart-busting success as HarperCollins release his 10th novel, Bad Dad (out 2nd November), illustrated by the amazing Tony Ross.

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, which is the biggest event in the Irish literary calendar, brings together the entire literary community – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to celebrate the very best of Irish talent. Some of the biggest and most popular domestic and international writers have graced the Irish Book Awards stage including Seamus Heaney, William Trevor, Anne Enright, John Banville, John Montague, Edna O Brien, JP Donleavy, Maeve Binchy, Graham Norton, Cecelia Ahern, John Boyne, Marian Keyes and Paul Howard.

This year, the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards show, presented by Keelin Shanley, will be televised on RTÉ One during the primetime slot of 9:30pm the evening after the event – Wednesday 29th November. The number of award categories will increase to 15 this year, with the introduction of the Dept 51@Eason Teen/Young Adult Book of the Year.

Speaking about the new primetime slot for the televised Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards show, Aifric Ní Chianáin, Executive Producer Arts, RTÉ, says: “RTÉ are delighted to celebrate another year of great Irish writing and to bring the achievements of our extraordinarily talented writers to the attention of as wide an audience as possible by broadcasting the awards in such a primetime slot.”

The shortlist of nominations for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2017 will be announced on 2nd November at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

This year, Bord Gáis Energy has also reluctantly announced their departure as title sponsor of the Irish Book Awards after an extremely fruitful eight-year partnership. Their sponsorship will end after this year’s event. Bord Gáis Energy is pleased, however, to remain involved in the initiative by retaining sponsorship of the Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year category.

Larry Mac Hale, current Chairman of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, says: “We’re delighted to be welcoming David Walliams to the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards this November and we’re thrilled that the awards highlights show will now be televised on RTÉ One at the primetime showing of 9.30pm on Wednesday 29th November. I would also like to thank Bord Gáis Energy for their support of the Irish Book Awards over the past eight years. BGE has helped fan the flame of literature far and wide, helping to create the wonderful event we have today. We thank all of those at BGE for their support and dedication and we are delighted that they are continuing their involvement through sponsorship of the Sports Book of the Year category. We now look to a new partner to continue our development and reach as many readers as possible.”

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, says: Bord Gáis Energy originally came on board to support the Irish Book Awards back in 2010. Over the past eight years, we’ve been pleased to have played some small part in helping to raise and maintain the profile of Irish literature in Ireland and abroad, and today’s well-deserved award to David is a fine example of that.  We’ve seen real value in supporting the awards. However, as our business has changed, so too has our commercial focus, and it is with some reluctance that we’ve decided to relinquish our headline sponsorship of the Irish Book Awards. We’ll continue to support the Awards through our sponsorship of the Sports Book of the Year category and we look forward to seeing the initiative continue to grow and we would like to wish the team the very best for the future. Irish literature is in good hands.”

The Irish Book Awards is currently in discussions to source a new headline sponsor for 2018, with negotiations now taking place. All enquiries should be made to Alastair Giles, Director of the Irish Book Awards. He can be contacted at alastair@agile-ideas.com


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News Ireland journalists from The Sunday Times, the Ireland edition of The Times and The Irish Sun shortlisted for Journalism Awards 2017

News Ireland is delighted to announce that a number of journalists across The Sunday Times, the Ireland edition of The Times and The Irish Sun have been shortlisted for the NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards 2017.

All nominees progress to the awards event which takes place in Dublin’s Mansion House on Thursday, 2nd November 2017.

Nominees include:


Business Journalist of the Year

Gavin Daly, The Sunday Times


Business Story of the Year

Peter O’ Dwyer, Ireland edition of The Times, Irish insurance companies lack of transparency to Central Bank


Broadsheet Columnist of the Year

Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times


Popular Columnist of the Year

Neil Cotter, The Irish Sun


Crime Journalist of the Year

Stephen Breen, The Irish Sun

Gary Meneely, The Irish Sun


Crime Story of the Year

Stephen Breen, The Irish Sun. Garda probed after video of Dara Quigley leaked on social media


Features (Popular)

Kieran Dineen, The Irish Sun

Ruairi Cotter, The Irish Sun


Headline of the Year

The Irish Sun ‘He has Gone Away You Know’


Foreign Journalism

Richard Pine, The Sunday Times


Investigative Journalism

Ellen Coyne, Catherine Sanz, Ireland edition of The Times. Rogue crisis pregnancy agencies


News Analysis

Kieran Dineen, The Irish Sun


News Reporter

Gary Meneely, The Irish Sun


Political Journalist of the Year

Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times

John Mooney, The Sunday Times


Political Story of the Year

John Mooney, The Sunday Times. McCabe Smear Campaign

Ellen Coyne, Ireland Edition of the Times. National Maternity Hospital scandal


Scoop of the Year

Ellen Coyne, Ireland Edition of The Times. National Maternity Hospital scandal


Sports Writer of the Year

Ewan McKenna, The Sunday Business Post & Ireland Edition of the Times

Denis Walsh, The Sunday Times

Michael Foley, The Sunday Times


Showbiz Story of the Year

Ken Sweeney, The Irish Sun. Exclusive interview with Keith Duffy


Showbiz Journalist of the Year

Ken Sweeney, The Irish Sun


Young Journalist of the Year

Ellen Coyne, Ireland Edition of the Times


Oliver Keenaghan, General Manager with News Ireland, says:

This has been a big year for our operations in Ireland and we’re incredibly proud to have been shortlisted for a whopping 25 awards. We continue to invest in quality journalism and the effects of this can be seen in the high standards of work consistently produced by our journalists across a wide variety of platforms. I’m delighted that their efforts have been acknowledged by the wider newspaper industry and we look forward to the award ceremony on November 2nd.”

NUI Galway is named The Sunday Times University of the Year





NUI Galway has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year and Trinity College Dublin is the runner-up in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. The special 16-page supplement will be published free with The Sunday Times this Sunday, October 8, with extended coverage in its tablet and online editions.

Athlone Institute of Technology is The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year, while Letterkenny IT is the runner-up. The guide contains Ireland’s only league table that measures the performance of all 21 multi-faculty third-level institutions.

NUI Galway is the University of the Year for the third time since the guide was first published in 2002. The university first won the award in 2002 and again in 2009.

The university, which excels across the arts and sciences, has seen considerable recent investment. Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, opened the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance in April and a medical academy has come on stream in Donegal, in the grounds of Letterkenny University Hospital.

The university has a reputation as a centre of excellence in relation to medical technology, as evidenced by the launch in September 2016 of Curam, Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) centre for research in medical devices. The centre promotes links between academia and industry partners. The SFI and various companies will invest €49m over six years, with €19m more in funding coming from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The quality of academic staff at NUI Galway is also crucial to the university’s success, with a number of professors such as Henry Curran, Colin O’Dowd, Donal O’Regan and Dr Ronan Sulpice named among the world’s most highly cited researchers in an analysis of published research by multinational group Clarivite Analytics.

Research citations have helped the university rise further up the international university rankings this year. Academics garnered around €89,000 per head in research income in the Good University Guide’s latest survey of research power.

NUI Galway boasts the best job prospects of any university in the republic with an impressively low three per cent graduate unemployment rate, together with one of the best progression rates, which sees 88% of students complete their studies.

“We are very well attuned to the needs of the country and the region,” says Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway. “We try to orient our programme for the needs of our economy in the longer term. We also try to have an appropriate balance of traditional academic scholarship and work-based learning. We have a target that 80% of our undergraduate students would have experiential learning.”

More than 260 students took part in NUI Galway access and foundation courses this year, with 150 receiving an offer of entry. In total, the access programme office has 1,100-plus undergraduates on its books.

NUI Galway’s openness to alternative means of teaching and learning is evident, too, in its work with the Irish language. The university is close to the Connemara Gaeltacht, the largest Irish-speaking area in the country and as such NUI Galway celebrates and promotes the Irish language offering classes from beginner to advanced level as well as programmes taught through the medium of Irish.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said:

“In the eight years since NUI Galway last won our University of the Year award it has continued to grow its global reputation as one of the great seats of learning. Some of its academics are among the most cited in the world and its reputation spans the arts and the sciences. The university brought in more than €65m of research income last year, evidence of the cutting edge at which many of the academics operate.

“It is also pivotal to the regional economy, rooted in its community and playing an active role at all levels. Its students are encouraged to volunteer and be part of that community and not just come to Galway as educational tourists. When Galway is the European Capital of Culture in 2020, the university will be at its heart; the newly-opened O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance a bold statement of the importance of the arts to the university. 

“Its triumph in this year’s University of the Year award is also a tribute to the leadership of University President, Dr Jim Browne, whose 10-year term of office ends early next year. He leaves NUI Galway in a position of great strength, ready to make further progress in world and national university rankings, and offering a distinctive third level education to future generations of students.” 

Trinity College Dublin is the runner-up for the University of the Year award. It finishes top in four of the seven measures used by The Sunday Times Good University Guide to rank Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology.

A remarkable 24% of the total number of all applications submitted to the CAO in 2017 were to Trinity, while 11% of the level 8 applications had the city-centre university down as their first choice – an increase of two percent on 2016. With fierce competition to get in, students are more likely to complete their course and 91% of them progress to their second year.

The university — which is celebrating its 425th anniversary — has just 3.9% graduates seeking employment nine months later, putting it in the top five institutions in Ireland on this metric. Perhaps its most prominent graduate currently in employment is Leo Varadkar, the first Trinity alumnus to be elected Taoiseach.

Leading the way in social consciousness, it won the Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility award for its Trinity Access 21 Project, a mentoring programme for more than 1,200 post-primary students from schools with lower-than-average higher education progression rates.

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) has been named Institute of Technology of the Year 2017. AIT’s strength comes from identifying areas of skills shortage and working with businesses to improve links between enterprise and academia.

AIT’s association with polymer engineering is particularly strong, with PhD graduates each year, plus level 8 honours degrees in the area and applied and basic research. And the IT is now also the lead provider for a new three-year apprenticeship that leads to a BSc in polymer processing, one of the first of the new employer-led apprenticeships in the country. These address an important gap in the market and one that is on trend: IBEC groups in the medical technology and polymer sectors launched three new apprenticeship schemes this summer.

AIT also identified a skills shortage in the biopharma and medtech sector and, after two years in development, has launched a degree in microbiology — the only course of its type offered through the CAO.

However the focus of AIT is not solely based on science as the Institute recently developed a progressive new educational and training programme for social care students together with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Genio. A supported self-directed living (SSDL) certificate course teaches practitioners how to enable people living with a disability, mental health issue or dementia to move from being marginalised into living full lives in their communities.

Alastair McCall said:

“Athlone has risen to its highest ranking in The Sunday Times Good University Guide league table this year, further eroding the traditional divide in league tables between the universities and institutes of technology. It makes an attractive offer to students nationally and plays a pivotal role regionally as a centre of excellence in everything from polymer engineering to smart manufacturing. 

“Its appeal to students is evidenced in the findings of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement. The fact that nearly two-thirds of them respond to the survey, against a national average of 27%, speaks volumes, as do results that put Athlone ahead of the field in vital areas for students including effective teaching practice, a supportive learning environment and providing high quality interactions between academics and undergraduates.  

“Its win this year is thoroughly deserved.”

Commenting on the award, President of AIT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin said:

“We have always been as ambitious for our institution as we have been for each and every one of our students. This award is an important inflection point in our near 50 year history as we continue to further solidify our status as an academic centre of excellence. AIT is a community of like-minded, driven, thought leaders.  

It is this sense of community that fuels the dynamism and energy you feel at AIT and what allows us to continuously match industry needs and consistently high student satisfaction so seamlessly. This award is a recognition towards the culture of innovation cultivated at AIT and a vindication of the hard work put in across the entire community, from the academic and support staff and to the student body.” 

Letterkenny IT (LYIT) is runner up as Institute of Technology of the Year for 2018.

The Institute’s cross-border relationships with the North West Regional College and Ulster University boost regional access to higher education, innovation and job creation. Among other things, LYIT has increased the number of students from Northern Ireland by 81% over the past three years.

Teaching and learning is a priority at LYIT. The institute offers an MA in this subject and 51% of its academic staff has a pedagogical qualification, up from 30% three years ago.

Dedication to improving the learning experience can also be seen in the work LYIT has put into learning from students. Like Athlone, LYIT has enjoyed considerable success in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE). And a student participation scheme for class representatives, first tried out in 2016, has resulted in a 66% increase in active contributions at class rep council meetings.

The student response rate for the ISSE stands at 34% in 2016-17, against a national rate of just 27%. A total of 86% of students would choose Letterkenny again if they were starting their studies afresh, compared to 82% nationally, and 88% evaluated their student experience as excellent or good, compared to 83% nationally.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide is now in its 16th year of publication. It provides the definitive rankings for Irish third-level institutions, together with profiles of each institution and a view from students of what it is like to study there. It also contains the first full listing of 2018 degree courses and the first round entry points needed to access these courses from the recently-completed 2017 admissions cycle.

There is a tablet edition, plus extended online coverage at www.thesundaytimes.ie/gooduniversityguide features fully searchable tables on each of the measures on which institutions are ranked, together with extended profiles of each. It also contains full access to the newspaper’s UK university guide published on September 24.


Despite social media, Irish mums remain traditional when it comes to sharing pregnancy news according to new Pregnacare survey

·         Nearly three quarters of Irish mums keep their baby news a secret until at least 12 weeks
·         82% shared the news with family and friends in person rather than using social media
·         85% say that choosing the baby’s name is a joint decision made with their partner
·         96% have shunned the idea of ‘gender reveal’ parties
·         4 in 10 said that female intuition led them to take a pregnancy test
·         TV personality and radio presenter Jennifer Zamparelli announced as face of Pregnacare’s new ‘Keeping Mum’ campaign 

It appears Irish mums are sticking to tradition when it comes to sharing their baby news as nearly three quarters (71%) prefer to keep their pregnancy under wraps until at least 12 weeks, according to a new survey by Pregnacare, Ireland’s number 1 pregnancy supplement*.

Pregnacare commissioned the survey* as part of their new ‘Keeping Mum’ campaign and the online poll was completed by over 1,200 respondents. The survey has helped Pregnacare understand how mums deal with the early stages of their pregnancies, from how they found out they were expecting to how they kept their news under wraps until they felt it was safe to tell people.

22% of respondents said they couldn’t keep it a secret and everyone knew by the 8 week mark but 50% of those surveyed said they told family and friends at the end of the first trimester. 21% said they actually waited longer and didn’t tell people until later. An unfortunate 7% said as soon their morning sickness began, their pregnancy couldn’t remain a secret any longer.

Despite the contemporary habit of sharing daily events on social media, the personal touch is still important for Irish mums with an overwhelming 82% choosing to tell their family and friends face to face.

Furthermore, Irish mums are also maintaining tradition when it comes to the revealing their baby’s gender with only 4% of those surveyed saying they were planning an event (along the lines of the infamous ‘gender reveal party’) to tell people if they were expecting a boy or a girl.

The idea of ‘female intuition’ still stands also with 39% reporting that feeling ‘something was different’, was a main symptom of their early pregnancy.

Choosing the baby’s name can often be up for debate however 85% of those surveyed said that the name will be a joint decision between them and their partner.

Maintaining a healthy diet throughout pregnancy can be tricky with 45% of those surveyed said they managed to eat healthily throughout although 12% reported they felt too ill to continue to eat normally.

71% of expectant mums said they had taken nutritional supplements when they were thinking about getting pregnant with Pregnacare Conception being named the most popular brand. 49% said they took a pregnancy supplement for their entire pregnancy while 26% reported that they had taken folic acid until the twelve week mark when they began taking pregnancy supplements. Almost two thirds (64%) of those surveyed said they started taking supplements between weeks 4 to 6 of their pregnancy while 22% said they began taking their supplements between weeks 7 – 14.

Maintaining your usual lifestyle can be tricky during pregnancy and particularly if you’re not yet at the stage where you feel comfortable sharing news. Just over half of those surveyed tried to keep the same day to day routine but that it wasn’t always possible. 26% said their lifestyle didn’t really change at all but the remaining 16% of expectant mums said their lifestyles completely changed and that their routine was totally different.

Just over half of those surveyed (53%) said they found hiding their pregnancy in the first 12 weeks difficult. Avoiding alcohol means nights out are often when mums-to-be can unwittingly reveal their secret  with over a third of those surveyed said they volunteered as the designated driver early in their first trimester, while 21% chose to simply pretend their drinks were alcoholic. Other tactics included saying they weren’t in the mood to drink, that they were on antibiotics and some even said they were too hungover from the night before!

Pregnacare are delighted to reveal RTÉ TV and radio personality Jennifer Zamparelli as their Brand Ambassador for the ‘Keeping Mum’ campaign. Jennifer had previously worked with Pregnacare following the birth of her first child in 2015 and is expecting her second child in early 2018.

Jennifer Zamparelli says:

I’m thrilled to be involved in the Pregnacare ‘Keeping Mum’ campaign. Finding out you’re pregnant but not wanting to openly share your news can make the first few weeks a really tricky time. When morning sickness is added to the mix, that makes things harder too – I have found it difficult to keep anything down at the beginning of my pregnancies so it was reassuring to know that Pregnacare was providing all the nutrients the babies and I needed to stay healthy.”  

Furthermore, dietitian Orla Walsh will also be supporting the campaign helping to ensure that expectant mums are aware of the optimal nutrition they and their babies need to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Orla Walsh says:

“There can be a lot of conflicting advice about pregnancy and mums are often reluctant to discuss their news before 12 weeks as this is when miscarriages are most likely to happen. However, it’s often a time when mums experience symptoms such as morning sickness or nausea which can lead to them not eating properly.  

The first 12 weeks are vital in terms of the baby’s development so a supplement specifically designed for pregnancy supplies all the nutrients and vitamins required for a healthy pregnancy. With this ‘Keeping Mum campaign, we’re trying to make sure that mums understand the best way to keep themselves and their babies healthy.” 


*Survey was undertaken by EUMoM in September 2017 on behalf of Pregnacare and had 1,124 respondents



Follow us on Twitter @pregnacare_irl

Winner of Best Maternity Supplement at the Mums and Tots Awards, 2016