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Fashion student draws inspiration from nature and urban life



A young Galway-based designer and committed vegan – who refuses to use fur, leather, suede or silk in her designs – has been shortlisted for the most prestigious student fashion awards in the country.

Lisa Dooley – originally from Offaly but now a student of fashion at Galway Technical Institute – is one of nine finalists participating in the DIT Fashion Show, now in its thirteenth year.

Run entirely by students, the fashion show attracts an audience of over 1.000 – and this year’s theme ‘My Metropolis – The Story of A City’, aims to explore the “hidden beauty” and “romance” of metropolitan cities.

Lisa’s collection is called ‘Symbio City’, and her aim was to ‘create an outfit inspired by a city, where natural and man-made elements are harmoniously interwoven; Mother Nature and the Mother City working together’.

The appropriately titled collection derives its name from an initiative introduced by the Swedish Government, ‘The Symbio City Approach’ – aimed at promoting sustainable urban development.

The competition brief was announced in January, whilst Lisa was completing an internship in Helsinki. On returning home she had just two weeks to complete and submit her sketchbook.

The design sketchbook is a place for testing and refining ideas. It requires showing evidence of research, development, experimentation with several materials, techniques and designs; all in all, a substantial body of work.

The idea of fusion between the natural and urban environment was one she knew she wanted to explore further.

With her trusted camera and artistic eye, Lisa trailed the streets of Galway looking for inspiration.

She shot and captured many images of urban landscape, “parts where nature was creeping in, or where the weather had visibly altered the city.”

“For some they might be an eye sore, but I discovered some really interesting patterns,” she said – but that only made her wonder!

“Imagine what could be done, or what the city could look like if we incorporated nature more into the design of the city – as opposed to big concrete blocks and boxes,” she said.

A committed vegan, Lisa believes the natural environment should be respected and protected – and her designs reflect her personal ethics and are made from recycled and renewable materials.

No fur, leather, suede or silk (from silk worm) is used. She does however use bamboo silk for the dress – an artificial silk made from bamboo viscose.

Lisa sourced the material from an organic fabric company in the UK. Bamboo fibre is said to have natural antibacterial, hypoallergenic and deodorizing properties, plus Lisa adds – “the proteins are good for your skin”

She also admits to hunting charity shops for vegan friendly fabrics and garments, picking up interesting patterns in pastel pinks and muted colours. The jacket features copper wire, which she says is ‘reflective of the central role technology plays in metropolis life’.

Her own favourite designers include fellow committed vegetarian, Stella McCartney, urban fashion designer Alexander Wang and Irish designer, Jonathan Anderson.

The young Irish designer is already making her mark on the fashion scene having won first place at the Cradle Fashion Show – the closing event of Dublin Fashion Festival 2015 – for her three-piece collection, using recycled materials, under the theme ‘Futuristic Beauty’.

She also qualified as a finalist in the 2015 Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, and was a Semi-finalist for the 2015 Young Designer of The Year award.

Lisa, and the other eight finalists will battle it out for the €2,000 prize fund, at the Fashion Show event in Vicar Street on Tuesday, April 19.

Judging the event is TV personality Brendan Courtney; former DIT design competition winner and influential Irish designer, Umit Kutluk; designer and stylist Maria Fusco; and fashion editor of the Irish Independent Bairbre Power.

Tickets for the DIT Fashion Show are priced at €20 with net proceeds going to The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation.

The charity supports 2,000 children nationwide with home nursing care, including 130 in Galway.

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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