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


Film studio plan for airport site may be scuppered



A plan to lay out the red carpet to Hollywood by creating a massive film studio at Galway Airport has been dealt a blow by a deal to purchase an old factory by Limerick’s two local authorities in bid to develop an international movie production hub with Ardmore Studios.

The move could also damage Galway’s bid to secure the designation for the European City of Culture 2020 for which Limerick is also pitching.

While a second film studio of that magnitude is unlikely to be built on this side of the country in such close proximity to Shannon Airport, officials here were publicly insisting such a proposal was still on the cards.

Limerick City and County Council confirmed the €6 million purchase of the old Dell building in Castletroy, which is about 10 hectares in size, with three hectares of development land available and 750 car spaces.

The purchase was completed following a visit by four Hollywood film producers in recent weeks.

One of them was legendary Hollywood producer Philip Lee who scouted out Limerick as a possible location for a $120 million science-fiction film called Inversion to be directed by Scott Waugh, whose last project, Need for Speed, grossed more than $200 million.

The local authority is in discussions with Ardmore Studios for the development in the mid-west.

Limerick City and County Council chief executive Conn Murray said the deal was the first step in their strategy to create an international film centre.

“The next part of the process is to finalise our discussions with Ardmore Studios,” he said.

“It’s also a logical legacy of Limerick’s year as National City of Culture 2014 and its bid to become European Capital of Culture for 2020.”

Danu Media in Inverin had approached Galway elected members and officials with a blueprint for transforming the old hangars in Carnmore into a TV and film studio.

The idea had already been mooted by the Galway Chamber of Commerce who said the runway should be maintained so that film stars could be flown in to work in the studios.

The airport was jointly purchased by Galway City and Galway County Councils after commercial flights were pulled when Government subsidies dried up.

A spokesman for Galway City Council said this week it was inviting expressions of interest from the public to use the site and was also targeting film and TV production companies. A report from consultants charged with investigating the viability of the former airport will be furnished to both local authorities today.

“Galway is one of five cities in the world designated a UNESCO city of film. One of the reasons for that is the existing audio visual industry and its potential for future film productions. This is something we’ve built up over many years, it’s not something we’ve come to lately,” he insisted.

“Fair play to Limerick in its expansion of film industry facilities outside of the Dublin area. That is to be welcomed. We don’t see it as scuppering our chances of anything – building a film studio or getting the European City of Culture designation. We’re out there plugging away, we’ll make our splash at the right time.”

General manager of the Galway Chamber of Commerce Maeve Joyce said the Limerick deal was in fact good news for Galway.

“I think it would still be possible to have a film studio at that site. Years and years ago you wouldn’t have thought it possible to have so many film companies based in the west. Hubs attract more business,” she opined.

“If this industry has looked on the west and mid-west as an opportunity for investment, I think we have to look at it as an opportunity for Galway.”

The film industry on the east coast has developed primarily due of the existence of Ardmore and a new studio in Ashford, County Wicklow.

Projects such as Ripper Street and Vikings have resulted in financial windfalls of up to €35 million per series.

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Executive of Galway County Council said he would still welcome proposals for film studios on the airport site.

“If the airport site is part of a plan for the film industry in this country then we are more than happy to engage in discussions,” he told this week’s meeting of Galway County Council.

The meeting discussed the potential lease of the 115 acre site and it was stated by Director of Services, Catherine McConnell that it has been used by the flying club since the major commercial activity there ceased.

She said that there had been no income from this arrangement, but they were now entering a formal lease until December after which it was hoped to establish a longer term lease.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Mogie Maher said he had been talking to people in the industry and they would view the airport site as a potential venue for a film studio.

“This is a major opportunity to realise the value of what we have in Carnmore. I know for a fact that the film industry in this country is interested in looking at the site.

“If this happened, then it would bring millions of euro in terms of investment into Galway and both the city and county would benefit. Even from a tourist perspective, it would be beneficial,” Cllr Maher said.

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