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Fresh Starbucks battle brewing over Ceannt Station signage



The owners of the Starbucks outlet at Ceannt Station have submitted fresh plans for signage on the building.

Last April, franchise holder Megdo Limited – which opened the outlet last year – was refused permission for what the City Council branded an “ugly” illuminated disc.

It also caused controversy because of its proposed location – just yards from a memorial plaque marking the 1916 Rising.

Now, the company has submitted a new application for a sign, which it stresses will not be illuminated and will be located over an existing Iranród Éireann sign.

According to an architectural heritage impact assessment included with the application, the building – which dates back to 1851 – will not be negatively affected by the sign.

“The works comprise fixing a small-scale circular sign on a projecting bracket to the front wall of Ceannt Station just east of the main entrance doorway above an existing larger Iarnród Éireann welcome sign.

“The sign is to be of high quality but discreet design, fixed securely to the wall masonry of the station.

“It is designed to maximise visibility of the otherwise reserved café premises within the station building from the main pedestrian thoroughfare of Eyre Square.

“The sign does not create an obstruction to full appreciation of any of the fine architectural details of the station building. The brand livery of green and white are colours which have been commonly seen on traditional advertising throughout the city core throughout the last century.

“The nature of Station Road as a cul-de-sac means that generally only station users will be likely to discover the existing Starbucks café. A small-scale projecting sign with the instantly recognisable, simple branding of the café is considered to be sufficient to significantly increase awareness of and customer interest in the business,” the heritage report reads.

The outlet is owned by brothers Colum and Ciarán Butler from Dublin, who operate the Irish arm of Starbucks. Their other Irish business interests include TGI Fridays and the hard Rock Café.

A decision is expected on the application by the end of the month.

Previously, the city’s Heritage Officer, Jim Higgins, complained that holes had already been drilled in the façade for the new sign which was proposed and rejected in the previous application.

“A sign has been erected already inside the station without planning permission and Starbucks have not applied for permission to erect a new sign on the front of the edifice which is an important historic and archaeologically significant protected structure. Holes have already been drilled in the façade for a new sign.

“Starbucks should, in my view, be applying for retention permission for the signs included inside the station and the holes drilled in the façade.

“The signs erected already are ugly, inappropriately large and made of materials which detract from the building internally. The proposed new sign is of the same nature – ugly, overly large and of inappropriate materials.

“It also detracts completely from the architectural setting and detracts from the newly re-erected historic plaque to Eamonn Ceannt.

“I am completely opposed to either the retention of the signs erected inside the building, the retention of the drill holes, or the granting of permission for any new signage to the frontage of the Protected Structure,” said Mr Higgins.

Environmental and planning watchdog group, An Taisce, also objected to the sign.

Planners decided that the sign failed to adhere to the principles of good design set out in the City Development Plan, and would also contravene national guidelines for built heritage.

They noted that there is already a similar sign inside the station, adjacent to the platform, which does not have planning permission.

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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