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Galway producer behind international animation release



An animated film made in Galway that tells a tale about the creatures who get left behind by Noah’s Ark is set to get an international release in cinemas – a rare coup for a homegrown production.

Two by Two was recently picked up by the distributor eOne and will be released in Ireland and the UK this Friday. eOne has also acquired rights for the US and Canada as well as Australia and NZ. It is set for a major release in Germany in July.

Considering most animated blockbusters which get large scale cinema releases cost in the region of €100 million – with that budget spent again for the marketing campaign – Two by Two is punching far above its €8m budget.

Given the American accents adopted by the characters, it is not immediately apparent that the film has a huge Galway connection. It was developed and produced by Moe Honan whose company Moetion Films is based in Flood Street in the city.

At one stage all of the writers were living in Galway – Richard Conroy and Mark Hodkinson have since moved on while Marteinn Thorisson, is still based here, as are the animators. It is directed by Sean McCormack and Toby Genkel. The project was supported by the Irish Film Board with partners in Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.

It is the biggest project undertaken by Moe since branching out on her own two years ago. But it has been on the boiler for much longer than that, even before Evan Almighty hit the big screen, starring Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman, and later Noah, with Russell Crowe in the lead role.

“There was something special about this film from day one in terms of script and story. It has lots of heart, lots of fun. The special ingredient when we were pitching it is that it had something that nobody else had seen before in terms of the animals being left behind by the Ark. That gave it an originality that people got very quickly,” she reflects days before it is due to screen in Galway.

“We’re writing about animals but we’re exploring ideas about love and friendship, trust and collaborating, themes around needing to belong and have a sense of belonging, which is something that’s in our minds a lot at the minute with the crisis over the refugees and immigration.”

The film follows the adventures of animals, among them nestrians and grymps, some of whom have to sneak on board as they are not on the list for the Ark. No sooner has the Ark set sail, youngsters Finny and his new friend Leah fall overboard. The pair must learn to work together to survive while their parents must set aside their differences to rescue the kids.

The characters feature the voices of Tara Flynn, Paul Tylak, Alan Stanford, Chris Evans, Dermot Magennis, Aileen Mythen, and Patrick Fitsymons.

Moe, a native of Ennis, first dipped her toe in the media waters working part time in Galway Bay FM before working in TV and film documentaries. She moved into post production and voice directing before concentrating on production in Magma Films, where she worked

On leaving she freelanced for three years before setting up Moetion Films which produces and develops animated feature films and TV series.

“Having your own company brings its own challenges – the buck stops with you but it allows you more independence over what you choose to do. As a producer you manage people, you’re responsible for delivering the project, in terms of quality, on time and on budget, you take on the role of finding the finance as well as finding the creative talent.”

Her focus on animation began with Norman Normal, a series about an ordinary teenager living in a family of superheroes.

She went on to work on successful projects such as the Ugly Duckling And Me, Niko and the Way to the Stars and Niko II.

“I love the flexibility animation allows you for storytelling, you can create things on the screen you may not be allowed to in live action due to budget,” she enthuses.

“It’s such a collaborative medium. You’re working on them a long time – not like in a film, four to six weeks and then it’s done. The production phase on this film was 20 months so it’s essential you are with partners who work well together personally and trust each other. If that relationship is very good, you might go onto another project together.”

Industry screenings have produced overwhelmingly positive feedback about Two by Two.

“Some of the buyers were saying it was a studio quality movie, which is praise indeed. I was at one of the promo screenings for families and the kids really loved it – as did the parents, which is important because they’re buying the tickets,” she enthuses.

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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