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Bitter bypass debate to drive TDs round the bend

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Cllr Catherine Connolly celebrates her birthday next week . . . . .while Cllr Billy Cameron will mark his 60th on November 10. The two Socialist councillors are both feisty Scorpios.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The Galway City Outer Bypass, once again, will be a hot topic of debate in another general election in Galway West. The controversial ring-road remains a political hot-potato and is likely to generate more fumes during the campaign than your average rush-hour traffic-jams.

Election candidates will be grilled about their views on the proposed new road during the campaign.

The grilling will come from voters whose homes will be bulldozed to make way for the road; and from those voters whose properties will be still standing but negatively impacted – nobody bought a house in the countryside back roads of Barna hoping that someday they’d build a motorway next to them.

On the other side, they’ll get a grilling from supporters of the road, those poor unfortunate commuters who face daily gridlock in the city.

Here, ahead of the Spring election, we rename your local TDs to reveal their views on the bypass*.

*           Brian “flip-flop” Walsh

*             Noel “we need to bypass Claregalway not Galway” Grealish

*             Éamon “say nothing and keep saying it” Ó Cuív

*             Derek “I’m in enough bloody trouble without wading into this controversy” Nolan

*             Seán “I thought you all wanted a bypass? No? Oh sh*t. Eh, ummm, Ah. Okay” Kyne

(*Terms and conditions apply. Views of TDs are liable to change in accordance with whether or not that view will get them more votes to get re-elected. Speaking with forked-tongue and straddling both sides of the bypass debate cannot be ruled out)

Socialist celebrates surprise sweet sixty

Billy Cameron, the Labour Party City Councillor, celebrates a significant birthday this November.

The elder statesman on Galway City Council is sixty years young on November 10.

The Bould Billy hasn’t anything planned for the day itself but given his socialist leanings we suggest a Cuban cigar would be appropriate.

The Newcastle-based Councillor was given a surprise sixtieth party, organised by his siblings, in Donegal at the weekend.

His brother Jerome and sister Margaret, as well as his four nephews and some close friends who are regarded as family, attended the surprise birthday bash in Bundoran, where his late father, Liam, was from. Another socialist – City Councillor Catherine Connolly – also celebrates a birthday in November, next week on November 5.

Even Bradley Bytes isn’t rude enough to inquire about a woman’s age – suffice to say it’s significant, too.

Given the fall-out between Catherine, now independent, and the Labour Party, it’s unlikely the two socialists will hold a joint gathering to celebrate growing a year older.

One thing they do have in common is star signs – they are both feisty Scorpios. And they certainly both have a sting in their tails.

Meaty issue

The World Health Organisation this week dramatically warned that ham, bacon and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a cause of cancer. Not everyone is convinced, however. Former Labour Party City Councillor Nuala Nolan summed up most sausage-lovers reaction to the report with these wise words: “If you don’t drink, smoke or now don’t eat meat you won’t live longer . . . it will only seem longer.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest

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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 www.connachttribune.ie. 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

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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 www.connachttribune.ie. 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises

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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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