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


Flood relief effort in South Galway hits record speed



More work had been done in eight months to address South Galway’s flooding crisis than had been done in the last 20 years, it was claimed at this month’s Loughrea municipal district meeting.

In a robust defence of Galway County Council’s role since last winter’s shocking floods, director of services for roads and transportation Liam Gavin said it was not the Council’s role to attend public meetings but it did have a duty to inform councillors what plan of action it was pursuing to alleviate future flooding.

He was responding to criticism from a committee made up of residents affected by successive chronic floods that there would be worse flooding this year because of minor works carried out by Galway County Council without consultation with locals.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has now given the local authority the green light to advance a flood relief scheme for the Gort Lowlands area which is dotted with a network of turloughs in a protected karst limestone environment. It was also beginning work on the Dunkellin Aggard to strengthen bridges and clear vegetation along channel banks with the main river works set to take place during the summer months from next May over a three-year period, with works expected to be finished by 2018.

Cathaoirleach of Loughrea Municipal District Jimmy McClearn said there was a great deal of frustration among the public that work was not being carried out quickly enough with residents fearing more misery with future floods.

“There was absolutely nothing happening in flooding in South Galway until Galway County Council got involved. We were spending money on reports and consultants but no actual action until Galway County Council got involved,” he exclaimed.

“In totality there is a lot of positive work…this is a problem that existed for a long time. We may not have the solution for this year but hopefully in a meaningful way by next year we can, and do it properly.”

Mr Gavin said he believed Cllr McClearn (FG) had hit the nail on the head.

“Galway County Council has got directly involved. We have got agreement which takes quite a long time to resolve. We will work in agreement with the OPW (Office of Public Works) to take all this information in relation to South Galway, take it down from the shelf and down from the sky and look at it and create a scheme, take it from a concept to reality in as short a time as possible. That’s the first time that has ever happened.”

He pointed out that the Local Authority had spent half a million on minor works drainage schemes in Galway since the beginning of this year and almost a million euro on road raising since last winter’s floods.

“That kind of money has not gone into Gort in donkey years,” he stressed.

The Gort Lowlands scheme would be looked at in an overall way rather than focusing on small sections here and there.

The run-off from the Sliabh Aughty mountains would be included as part of the scheme.

All previous reports would be examined in detail, including the channel recommended in the Jennings-O’Donovan report bringing the water to the sea at Kinvara at the cost of €46 million and the studies of the turloughs and underground water flows.

Cllr Joe Byrne (FG) said in order to mitigate against “potential anarchy”, communication with the public needed to be improved. There were very detailed plans presented publicly on the Dunkellin and Aggard scheme and the residents came away from the process very happy as they understood what was happening.

“There is a huge effort for once and for all to sort the problem that’s existed for 30 years. In all fairness, more work has been done in the last eight months than has been done in 20 years.”

The chairman of the South Galway Flood Relief Committee David Murray said works carried out upstream of Coole will serve to accelerate water into that area.

He believes the streamlining in the upper Owenshree will accelerate water into Kilchreest, Blackrock, Skehanna and eventually through Kiltartan into Coole while Irish Rail have added a new culvert under the railway at Kiltartan which will accelerate water again into Kiltartan and Coole.

The chairman is also critical of a solid wall built at Cahermore, allowing the level of Coole-Caherglassaun basin to rise to 15.2m, which he claims could potentially flood an additional 15 to 20 houses.

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