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City vision board – the writing is on the wall



Galway is well-known for its artistic culture, and the latest addition to the city’s artistic scene is the ‘Before I Die’ wall which appeared on Dominick Street a fortnight ago.

Situated between Carroll’s pub and the Arts Centre, the wall was created by GMIT lecturer Declan Sheridan and a number of Film and Documentary students at GMIT.

The aim of the wall is to provide passers-by from all sections of the public with an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams for the future.

According to Cllr McNelis, the artists got permission from the owners of the building and are running the interactive art project as part of their art course.

The wall was created on the longest day of the year, June 21, and within 24 hours, it was completely full and continues to attract the attention and curiosity of those who walk by.

Once it’s full, the students who run it take photographs of it and share them on the ‘Before I Die Wall – Galway’ Facebook page before wiping it clean, to allow more people to come along and fill it up with inspirational messages and dreams.

“It’s good for Galway. It’s something different to show the creativity that’s in Galway, so I’d just say well done to them all,” said Cllr McNelis, who says the wall really creates “that Left Bank feel, which is the west end”.

“And as somebody who is very involved in Tidy Towns, it shows what can be done with empty shop units – to have them owned by the street and by the community. It looks smart. It’s way better than having a load of tags on the side of the wall?”

The original Before I Die Wall was created by New Orleans artist Candy Chang who came up with the idea after losing someone she loved and experiencing a deep depression.

To Candy, it was all an experiment, but the day after she created the wall on the side of an abandoned building in her local neighbourhood, it was full of responses and still growing.

Since then, more than 1,000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 70 countries.

Creators of the Galway wall include Shakeela Singh, Fintan Geraghty, Katie McDonagh, Noel Geraghty, David O’Brien, Jane Cloonan, Cian Strain, Alan Mescall and Declan Sheridan.

“Galway is a city full of artistic and inspirational people, and I think this wall gives people a free, easy way of connecting with others from all walks of life. Our city thrives on being able to be a community, and I think this wall serves as an outlet for this. It also allows people who may not necessarily have a great interest in art, to take part and connect directly with Galway’s art scene,” said Katie McDonagh.

The wall can be seen on Dominick Street and everyone is welcome to go down there, reflect on their lives and share their aspirations with the rest of the city.

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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