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Food on the Edge Symposium will draw world’s top chefs



More than 50 of the biggest international and national names in gastronomy will be in Galway next week for the second ever Food on the Edge Symposium, organised by JP McMahon of Galway’s award-winning Aniar Restaurant.

They will speak to an audience of some 500 people daily at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre, the venue for this year’s event, which will also feature debates and discussions around the future of food.

Those taking part include groundbreaking chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, Italy, rated as number one this year on the prestigious San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. During the Rio Olympics in August, Bottura co-founded Refettorio Gastromotiva, a community kitchen that took surplus food and created healthy, tasty meals for those in need. At Food On The Edge, he will speak on the topic, Cooking Is A Call To Act.

“There is no doubt that Food On The Edge is helping to change international perceptions of Ireland’s food while also raising the gastronomic profile of Galway, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland on a global scale,” according to John Mulcahy, Head of Food Tourism for Fáilte Ireland. “Ireland’s food movement is coming of age, and this is evident in the current levels of activity relating to food, and the interest around local food and traditions.  There is much to be proud of, and Food On The Edge is symptomatic of that. In Fáilte Ireland, we are delighted, not only to support this important symposium for a second year, but also to welcome all of the symposiasts, many of whom are visiting Galway or Ireland for the first time.”

A young Galway chef who has been making his mark in the UK, Evan O’Ceallaigh will speak on the topic On A New Culture of Chef, while Connemara-based chef Cliodhna Prendergast will discuss Food, Kids and Community.

Panel discussions will also take place, including one on the topic of the Future of Irish Food with Michelin-starred Belfast-based chef Danni Barry; award-winning London Irish restaurateur Robin Gill; winner of the Great British Menu 2013 Raymond McArdle and sea-vegetable advocate and medical doctor Prannie Rhatigan. International delegates will debate the Future of Canadian Food as well as the Future of Australian Food.

Chefs and food experts at this year’s symposium will come from countries including Peru, California, New York City, the Middle East, the Philippines, Moscow, Scandinavia, Paris, Barcelona, the Netherlands and Germany.

“Last year’s symposium was a huge success, contributing over €500,000 to the local economy,” says Food on the Edge Director, JP McMahon. “This year aims to build upon that and shine an international light on our wonderful Irish produce. I believe the future is bright for Irish food.”

A Wild Atlantic Way Artisan Food Village will showcase 60 Irish food producers, and it will take up residence at the front of the Town Hall Theatre on Courthouse Square for the duration of the symposium.

Following the two-day long symposium, speakers will be taken on a special Food On The Edge excursion to Cong Village next Wednesday, which is hosted by Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle. where they will get to sample the best local produce from this part of the 2018 European Region of Gastronomy.

A limited number of tickets for Food On The Edge are available via the website.

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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