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Councillors make formal complaints over water meters



Two Galway City councillors have made official complaints about the way contractors are installing waters meters across some Galway estates.

The Right2Water Galway campaign has been organising a groundswell of resistance across streets and housing estates, forcing the Irish Water workers away before the job is complete.

Last week a large group of residents in Shantalla held a picket for three days after the contractors had installed four meters, two of them outside households which were opposing the charges.

After negotiations, the contractors agreed to remove the two meters and refill the holes.

The workers have met with minor protests in other areas, including Wellpark, Riverside, College Road and Lower Salthill.

“Resistance has been ongoing on a lot of fronts. We’re being kept really busy. Shantalla was like the community coming together,” explained Dette McLoughlin of Right2Water Galway.

“Usually contractors agree to leave if there’s a picket but that isn’t the same for the next day, so residents have to start a vigil and be on alert from 7am and keep looking out for the vans.

“It’s taking an awful lot of organisation and community spirit. If a single resident is caught out on their own, the call will go out and somebody will join them.”

Some residents have complained on the group’s Facebook page that contractors are telling elderly residents their water will be turned off if they do not agree to have the meters installed.

Councillors Mairéad Farrell (SF) and Mike Cubbard (Ind) have both lodged complaints to Irish Water about its meter rollout in Galway.

They have taken issue about the lack of notice being given by the company and contractors working outside of the installation hours of 7.30am to 7.30pm.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said while the metering project team endeavours to provide notification two weeks before works commence – and a further notification at least three days in advance of the installation – “there are occasions when works have to be re-scheduled at short notice which may impact on these standard procedures”.

Ms McLoughlin said the policy of providing 48 hours notice seems to have been altered in Tuam and has since spread to some Galway estates.

“Some estates are not getting any notice at all. The whole idea of giving notice is to ensure people’s cars aren’t stuck in holes or they don’t run their appliances while the water is being turned off as it can damage washing machines and dishwashers,” she explained.

Cllr Cubbard said he was also aware of damage to walls caused by the workers, with estates being left in ruin and pathways blocked for days on end with no proper traffic management in place.

“With children returning to school, are they expected to walk on the road for days on end as Irish Water block pathways?

“Residents in Carn Ard and Gaelcarrig Park have endured a torrid time. Although many have signs up and clearly told the contractor they do not wish to have a meter, one is forced upon them and installed in some cases at their property,” he complained.

The big positive of the campaign has been the reigniting of community spirit, according to Ms McLoughlin.

“They’re attending meetings, organising rotas for the lookout, some estates even have people on breakfast duty,” she enthused.

“A lot of people are saying they’re getting to know their neighbours they never knew before. It’s creating a huge community spirit. These people are not only talking about water, but about other issues. When canvassers come for the election, people are going to be asking a lot more questions.”

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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