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Acclaimed chef Enda enjoys taste of success



Enda McEvoy and Christine Walsh in the kitchen at Loam. “There’s nothing here for the sake of it, and it’s the same with things on a plate. Don’t overdo it,” Enda says. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy meets chef Enda McEvoy whose Loam restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star for consistent excellence

Michelin-starred chef Enda McEvoy tends to take other people’s advice – even when it’s well-meaning – with a grain of salt.

“You wouldn’t want to be listening to people. You have to have an idea of what you want yourself, otherwise you’d be driven distracted,” says this quiet, focused man who has played a major role in Galway’s growing reputation as a food destination.

It’s just as well Enda has that philosophy, because otherwise he’d never have opened his city restaurant, Loam, in its current location on Fairgreen Road.

Although Loam is just a skip from Eyre Square its location is regarded as being off the beaten track – away from the busy Quay Street area. The first few months had their challenges, Enda says. But since he was awarded a Michelin star in September, footfall has been guaranteed.

This isn’t the Cavan man’s first Michelin star – he was Head Chef at Aniar Restaurant in 2012 when it won the accolade for his creative menus based totally on Irish produce.

But Enda doesn’t believe in resting on his laurels and shortly after that, he and his wife Sinéad decided to set up their own restaurant.

“Initially we were looking for a destination premises, with rooms, but that fell through,” he explains. So it was back to the drawing board. They explored various buildings around the city, “in the more traditional areas” but nothing was suitable.

Finally, they selected this premises, which had been designated ‘commercial’ in the City Development Plan. Changing its use “was a huge rigmarole” but they persevered as it was a very flexible space.

“There’s never a place that’d be ideal for what’s in your head, so you just have to roll with it,” he says.

That’s what they did.

“The building will tell you what it’s capable of – the one thing it needed to have was an open kitchen because I like to know what’s happening on the floor.”

Enda is not a fan of “having people in the background making all these things to go through a door”. It results in “no real connection” between people cooking the food and those eating it.

“You have to make food for the customers and when people come here, their first contact is with a person who made food for them.”

He’s all for the idea of having the person who prepared the food deliver it to the table and answering questions that customers might have.

It’s an unorthodox approach, but “there’s no harm in looking at existing norms and asking questions”, he feels.

That’s his philosophy, not just when it comes to food, but living too. Enda grew up in Cavan where his family owned a supermarket and also grew vegetables for other shops. A respect for food and a strong work ethic were inherited from his parents and while he veered towards academia for a while, he loved working with his hands, and always felt that would be his true calling.

He was 17 the first time he worked in a kitchen – in Germany in 1996, as a kitchen porter.

“I enjoyed the process – being part of a machine that worked efficiently and where everyone has a function,” he recalls.

Enda knew about teamwork from his parents business, but “this was different”, he says of his German kitchen experience.

“In this business, the way you work is a short, intensive process. It’s repetitive and you have to get better and better. There’s a burst of energy and people work together silently – it’s almost like a performance.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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