Do You Remember Ag Science at UCG?

1978-'79: Last 2nd Year Agricultural Science Students in UCG
This photo taken in 1979 shows the last second year agricultural science students to study in UCG.
Thanks to Leo Keary for donating this historic photograph.
Front row (L-R): Morgan Lane, Katherine Macklin, Emmet McGloin, Brendan Donoghue(RIP), Michael Murphy, Annette Wimms, Seimi Greene, Mary Pidgeon, Barbara Keaveney, Sheena O'Sullivan, Ray Daly.
Second Row (L-R): Liam Rushe, Leo Keary, John Fox, Tom Freeman, Brendan Stafford, Michael Neylon, Ritchie Lee, Kieran Forde, Joe Burke, Michael Murphy, Liam McDonnell.
Third Row (L-R): Eddie O'Riordan, John Staunton, Michael Fawle, Eugene Hennigan, Eamon Prendiville(RIP), Michael Hanley, Pat Deacy, Cyril Browne.

In 1974, the Irish government secured funding from the World Bank for the expansion of agricultural science in UCD. It was given on the proviso that general agricultural science would close in UCC and UCG with total centralisation in UCD.
UCC did so almost immediately as it concentrated on Dairy Science.
UCG hosted the first two years of Ag Science before the students moved onto Dublin for the completion of their degree.
But, unlike Cork, the ag science students in Galway fought hard to retain the two year course and to have it developed ultimately into a more specialised agricultural science degree suitable to the Western region. Led by Sheena O'Sullivan and actively supported by the UCG Students' Union (I was SU Vice President at the time), they lobbied all of the farming organisations and political parties. With ACOT (now Teagasc) having a major research and training centre in Athenry, there was a good case to be made for further development in Galway. Meetings were held in the Dept of Agriculture with its Junior Minister (Tom Hussey FF of east Galway); Fine Gael's spokesperson for Agriculture (John Bruton) and Labour's Michael D. Higgins. IFA and the ICMSA came onboard. University staff led by Dr. Tony Finan (Chemistry) also aligned to the campaign.
But, in spite of their best efforts, success unfortunately did not happen. It was felt later that the UCG authorities were prepared to let it go in the expectation that a fisheries degree course would be secured as a viable alternative.
First year agriculture science continued for a few more years as it was identical to First Science.
Over the years, the ag students played a big part in the life of the campus, none more so than the class of 1978-79. They were so missed by so many (including myself) when they departed.

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