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GAA boss warns fans on Pearse Stadium parking



GAA warning on Pearse Stadium parking

The head of Galway GAA County Board has said a ‘culture change’ is needed amongst supporters in relation to car parking, as the organisation takes steps to allay a long-standing dispute with residents near Pearse Stadium.

County Secretary and CEO John Hynes said the behaviour of some supporters is “inexcusable” when it comes to parking.

Now, the GAA has drawn up an extensive new parking management plan in response to an Enforcement Notice issued by the City Council.

When permission for the redevelopment of the Pearse Stadium was granted in 1994, a condition stipulated that 500 parking spaces were required.

“It’s our responsibility to provide adequate parking spaces for the people attending games. We did originally have an agreement from Salthill-Knocknacarra that we could use the Prairie – 500 spaces there. That formed part of our original planning application and we got permission for Pearse Stadium on that basis.

“Those spaces were never taken up for one reason or another. In recent years, the pitch is being used more and more, and it would be impractical to use it as a carpark,” Mr Hynes told the Galway City Tribune.

The GAA’s new parking plan involves three ‘levels’ of games, with marshalls in place to direct traffic to carparks.

  • Level 1: Around 35 events per annum, with attendance of less than 1,000 people. Minimum of five days notice. Gardaí will be requested to allocate appropriate resources and place bollards in neighbourhood. Carparking available in Scoil Einde, Coláiste Einde and Arus Bothar na Trá. Marshalls and signage in place.
  • Level 2: Around nine per annum, with attendance of less than 5,000. Club and inter-county matches. Minimum seven days notice. Parking as with Level 1, along with St Mary’s College, T O’Higgins in Shantalla and South Park. Signage and an additional four marshalls in place.
  • Level 3: Around two per annum, attendance of more than 30,000 (such as a Connacht Final with 30,000 capacity). Comprehensive event and traffic management plan developed with Gardaí and City Council, as well as Civil Defence. At least seven days notice. Car parks as Level 1 and 2, along with Park and Ride from Moneenageisha College; GMIT; Trappers Inn; Thermo King; Castlegar Hurling Club and Mervue School. (Total Park & Ride spaces 2,094). Minimum of ten marshalls.

“We are fully aware of the residents’ concerns and personally, I empathise with them. It does cause inconvenience to the neighbours whenever we’ve got games here,” said Mr Hynes.

He said that club games – around 35 per year – (Level 1 fixtures) cause the biggest parking problems.

“Even though they attract the least amount [on average 400 supporters], they seem to be the most troublesome with some supporters parking their cars irresponsibly, illegally, without any concern or thought for the local residents. That’s inexcusable, we don’t condone that behaviour.

“We are convinced we have come up with more than enough parking spaces to meet the condition of the original planning and we would be confident the Enforcement Notice would be lifted shortly.

“We are committed to putting our own marshalls on the road to direct cars to spaces because the reality is the Gardaí don’t have the resources. All they [marshalls] can do is advise people that you’re parking in a residential area and you may be liable to a ticket and direct them to the nearest carpark,” said Mr Hynes.

The GAA head said that changing the culture of supporters is a key issue facing the organisation.

“They shouldn’t block residents in their homes or wheels up on the footpath preventing wheelchairs and buggies from passing. That’s a culture change that has to come about.”

He added that he expects the Park & Ride service for Level 3 events will be successful.

“With the known traffic situation of Galway City and trying to get across the Corrib to the other side of the city, Connacht supporters in Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and indeed people from North Galway are very familiar with the difficulty of travelling between Claregalway and Pearse Stadium; it’s renowned.

“If we can provide a Park & Ride facility that is serviced regularly where people don’t have to wait more than ten or 15 minutes, it will be successful, we’re absolutely convinced.

“It’s a no-brainer, it’s an educational process. It’s a mindset change that we have to get across with GAA supporters. We are committed to minimising the disruption that games and events cause to [residents] and I fully understand their issues, concerns and frustrations.

“If the Gardaí had the resources and were patrolling the areas, we wouldn’t have half the issues of complaints that we have today, but the reality is the Gardaí don’t have the resources,” said Mr Hynes.

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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