Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


€28m fund for housing in the city ‘not enough’



The €30 million allocated to Galway County Council and €28 million to Galway City Council to build 608 houses in the county and 518 houses in the city by 2017 is a start – but nowhere near enough to solve the crisis.

That’s what Fine Gael Deputy Sean Kyne told the Dáil, when he said: “It is a welcome allocation but more is needed.”


Speaking during a debate on a new Urban Regeneration Bill, Deputy Kyne said one of the signs of the economy recovery is its impact on housing.

A few years ago, in 2010 and 2011, many people thought we would never have to build housing again because we had an over-supply nationwide, he pointed out.

But he added: “Now, however, we do not have enough housing units. And added to the complexity is the regional imbalance.

“We continue to have an oversupply of houses in certain parts of the country, including ghost estates, while in other areas there is little demand. In Galway, like other cities, in the last decade there was never an over-supply of housing.”

Deputy Kyne said another major factor in the housing shortage in Dublin was the absence of a realistic regional development plan.

“For several decades successive Governments have not afforded proper attention to balanced regional development,” he said.

“We now have a situation where one in three people live in the greater Dublin area. One in two or 50% of the population live in Leinster.

“This is not sustainable or in the best interests of the country at large. Unbalanced growth can have negative effects on these areas, as well as negative impacts on living standards.

“However, there are other areas, whether in the west, north-west, south-west or midlands, where there is capacity to expand substantially, enhance existing communities and provide for a better quality of life for people in these areas,” he said.

“While certain people will make remarks about certain parts of the west and may want to turn them into theme parks or a giant national park, it is important that we have continued regional development, with clear actions and clear points of responsibility to achieve this end.”

Speaking during the same debate, Fianna Fáil Deputy Eamon Ó Cúiv said when he was a member of Galway County Council back in 1997, one of the last things he did was argue that they needed to zone enough land around Oranmore to ensure a small number of property owners did not have inordinate control over the land supply.

“On the other hand, I was worried that if we zoned a reasonably significant amount of land, we would get a building explosion that would cause huge social difficulties around Oranmore,” he said.

“I suggested at the time, and lots of people threw cold water on it, that we should zone adequate land but we should put a codicil in the planning development plan providing that only a fixed number of houses could be built every year. This was something we introduced subsequently into county plans in Galway.

“That way one did not get caught with this tight parcel of land where the owner could say it was his land or no land.

“On the other hand, a huge amount of land was not zoned such that one would get a huge explosion of planning applications and lose control over the amount of houses provided.

“This time we need to ensure in our planning mechanisms that the number of houses we provide for meets the expected demand.”

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading


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.”

Continue Reading