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Council urged to get tough with Fáilte Ireland over site



A city councillor has warned that a legal crux could ‘have serious consequences’ for a new proposed tourist attraction in Salthill.

Now, Cllr Donal Lyons has urged City Hall to get tough with Fáilte Ireland to expedite the return of prime site along the Promenade to Galway City Council.

He has urged them to cancel the lease on the Tourist Office in Salthill to Fáilte Ireland so the location can be used by the proposed new attraction.

The Tourist Office has not been operated in recent years.

Councillor Lyons this week outlined his disappointed and frustration with the lack of progress and the content of the reply he received from Galway City Council on the return of the Salthill Tourist Office site to the ownership of Galway City Council.

He pointed out that it was three years since he requested, by way of a motion, that the City Manager arrange an urgent meeting with senior officials at Fáilte Ireland, seeking the immediate staffing of the Salthill Tourist Office for future holiday seasons.

He said the land was leased (for a nominal fee to the then Ireland West Tourism) to promote tourism in Salthill and should Failte Ireland not accede or agree to this staffing request, that Galway City Council should immediately cancel the land lease agreement, as the lease was not being honoured, and arrange for the immediate transfer of the land back to the ownership of Galway City Council.

“This motion was agreed by the members of the then Galway City Council at its meeting on the May 14, 2012. I put forward the motion because Fáilte Ireland was not honouring the terms of the lease to use the site in the summer months as a Tourist Office facility.

“I became aware that there was the possibility of an additional tourist attraction being located on the site which would add significantly to the existing tourist attractions in Salthill, but in order to progress this attraction, the site would have to revert to local authority ownership.

“Expressions of interest for the site were then sought by Galway City Council from interested parties for tourist related activities. I continued to make verbal representations requesting progress on the return of the site.”

In September last, Cllr Lyons submitted a motion requesting that Galway City Council explain why three years after the adoption of the Notice of Motion the Salthill Tourist Office continued to remain vacant.

He also asked what action Galway City Council had undertaken to cancel the land lease agreement .

Cllr Lyons revealed that last week he received a reply to his motion that said: “Fáilte Ireland engaged with the City Council regarding proposals for another tourist-related use for the site, and a call for expressions of interest yielded a proposal which we felt had considerable merit and could be recommended to the Council.

“However, despite considerable efforts on the part of the Council, agreement from Failte Ireland has not been forthcoming, and the Council has commenced the process of recovering full ownership and possession of the site.”

Cllr Lyons said he was now urging Galway City Council to expedite the legal proceedings in order to facilitate the transfer of the site to the council without further delay.

“I very much regret that there is a strong possibility that the delay in transferring the ownership of the site back to Galway City Council could have serious consequences for the proposed tourist attraction being located on the site.”

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.

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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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