Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


84-year-old loves to take to the roads for good causes



A pensioner with a life-long love of the bike has lamented how cycling in the city centre has now become “too dangerous” for him.

Brendan Geoghegan (84), whose passion for the pedals is unrelenting, has tackled many of the country’s road for charity – and even now he shows no signs of slowing down.

But speaking on cycling around Galway, Brendan said, “It’s an awful pity because it is a beautiful city, but you are stopped from accessing it if you are on a bike. It’s all one way streets and can be very dangerous to cycle around especially for someone my age.”

The Mervue native has been participating in long distance cycles for over three decades and his love of cycling has grown since he was first involved in the 206-mile Co-Operation North Maracycle back in 1985.

Brendan has been involved in numerous long distance charity cycles for various organisations including the likes of Croí. His original charity cycle was the North Maracycle, where he often met with an intimidating atmosphere along with the way.

“I saw some report in the paper about it and said to myself, how could anyone cycle over a hundred miles in a day?

“It was a fundraiser to bring the children from the two areas, both Catholic and Protestant together away from the hostile atmosphere up North at the time. Some of them were taking to places across Europe and America,” he said.

“It was tough going. One year, I was stopped on the road at Newry, some incident had happened the night before. I think something had exploded. We are greeted by about 100 soldiers and it was like something out of Vietnam,” he added.

Brendan’s cycling started from a very early age when he left school at the age of 14.

“One of my first jobs was a messenger boy. In my era if the family didn’t have the money you left school. So the school was like an academy for messenger boys. Ten shillings a week, no way was I going to become a millionaire,” he joked.

His first bike cost between £15 and £20 and it’s a long way from the high-spec models that are currently on the market.

His training for years involved a cycle from Clifden and back from his city residence which he and his neighbour used to go on every Sunday.

Brendan has also been heavily involved in attempts to open the unused rail line between the Galway-Clifden as a cycle freeway so people can cycle without danger.

“I pointed out the advantages to people of having tourists using this cycle path as a huge positive to the local area. They would all be looking for food and a place to stay the night, so it would be brilliant for that area of the country in increasing tourism. It would create jobs and provide much needed income to the area,” he explained.

“I was in contact with the decision makers and they eventually got it going. I’m not sure how it’s going at the moment though. However, they have come in some difficult from the land owners who don’t want give up their land,” he added.

Not only is Brendan active in body, he continues to keep his mind active also.

“Your brain is a muscle too so use it. I read a lot and I do crosswords daily and I’m into history. I did a diploma in archaeology in NUIG. I had just finished the course the year before I retired in 1996.

“Sixty-three people did it and we formed a group and we went to different countries abroad look at archaeological sites.

“I remember when I was going to school and there was a map on the wall but of course never in your wildest dreams would you think would you get to see those places. It’s extraordinary,” he stated.

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading


Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

Continue Reading