Thursday, July 23, 2020

A Proud Legacy #GAA #WicklowPeople

In the Wicklow People newspaper published on 15th July last there is a wonderful article by Ettie Kilbride about the little known GAA club in Tomacork which was founded by my Grandfather PJ O'Loughlin. He was originally from Newmarket in North Cork and came to Tomacork, just outside Carnew in South Co Wicklow, in 1930. In the photo of the Newmarket 1927 County Junior team to the right he is wearing a suit and is seated at the right side of the middle row. He was 23 years old in this photo. 

Right from the start he set about creating a new club in Tomacork, while also managing a new farm and starting a new family (my Dad and his twin sister Sheila were born in March 1931) - he clearly liked to be busy! According to the late Jim Brophy's excellent book about Wicklow GAA "The Leathers Echo", PJ played for Carnew Emmets in the Wicklow Junior Hurling final in 1932 beating Glenealy 3-0 to 2-2. According to Ettie Kilbride, this Carnew team was an "amalgamate" team of Tomacork and Carnew. A separate Tomacork team (which did not feature my Grandfather) then went on to win the title by themselves in 1933. Reproduced below (without permission from the Wicklow People) is Ettie's article in full with the story of Tomacork GAA and the role played by my Grandfather in this piece of GAA history. 

Thank you Ettie for the memories!

The Wicklow People - 15th July, 2020.
Reproduced without permission.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Study Data Analytics at NCI

It's a time of year when many people might be considering taking a course this coming September. Higher than normal unemployment rates may also be a factor in some people considering new options. SpringBoard+ offers lots of free and partly-free options, and many of these courses are delivered by the National College of Ireland. The Higher Diplomas in Data Analytics and Computing are very popular - over 2,000 students have enrolled in these courses over the past five years, almost all via SpringBoard+.

A third level (8) degree in any discipline is all you need to qualify for the course. If you do not have a degree, there is a path for you to follow via NCI's Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) process - so don't be put off if you do not have a degree. Our next Open Evening takes place on-line on 16th July next - check the Events page at for details. Why not join us!

Check out the following video from NCI's Marketing Department featuring Daren Malone, one of our data analytics graduates, and hear what he has to say.

National College of Ireland - Changing Lives Through Education

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The HSE's Covid Tracker App #Analytics

Many people will be worried about the data privacy implications with the new HSE Covid Tracker App. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has stated "Please take two minutes to download the app. It is totally private" - if you are reassured by statements from politicians, then you should be OK. 

Clearly - the motives for creating and using this tracker are morally justified in my view. Anything that can help slow down infection rates, which in turn will save lives, is good for the common good. Nobody wants to get catch this virus, nobody wants to pass it on, nobody wants to die from Covid-19, and I'm certain that nobody wants to be the source of infection for someone who dies. So what's the problem with a tracker app?

No data collected is private. Repeat - no data collected is private.

Data sits on a computer somewhere - everything from phones to servers. In order for this app to work it has to gather data - that means that it can be accessed. No doubt these data will be a valuable source of information for researchers everywhere. Who knows - a data scientist might come up with a cure before a medical scientist looking for a vaccine.

I have installed the App and intend to use it. There are very few age groups listed - the oldest is "60+" which the App tells me is the most vulnerable group. I am in this group, and have in interest in staying alive. During installation I was told "Your identity will never be revealed to other app users" and that "Any personal data you provide will be processed in line with GDPR and data protection law". There were several opportunities to visit data protection sites.

We have to trust this App, the people who created it, and those who protect the data. There will be hackers out there already trying to get their hands on these valuable data. Since I took the screenshot above on my phone 22 minutes ago, the number has gone up to 160,440 Check-Ins today.