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Galway schools take part in Tran Year food initiative



Thirteen Galway schools are among 200 across the country taking part in a special Transition Year project to increase their knowledge of the artisan food industry on their doorstep.

The Future is Food will see TY students broaden their knowledge and understanding of the local, artisanal and speciality food sectors through practical insight and real-life experience, and so create and inspire the next generation of Irish food entrepreneurs and advocates.

Galway schools include Archbishop McHale College, Tuam; Gairmscoil Éinne Oileain Arann, Inis Mór; Gairmscoil Mhuire, Athenry; Gairmscoil na bPiarsach, Ros Muc; Galway Community College; Glenamaddy Community School and Gort Community School.

They also include Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew; Portumna Community School; Presentation College Currylea, Tuam; Seamount College, Kinvara; St Brigid’s School, Tuam, and St Pauls, Oughterard.

Participating schools will each partner with a local artisan producer, chef or food champion who will help budding student entrepreneurs and innovators to develop their own unique food product or to work with them on an existing product.

The programme includes twenty lesson plans focussing on topics such as entrepreneurship, food origin and Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme as well as research, new product development and marketing.  It received recognition by the National Council of Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) following a pilot in eight schools in the 2013/2014 school year.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, joined Bord Bia and The TASTE Council of Ireland to launch the initiative last week.

He said that Ireland has a thriving speciality food sector, worth approximately €400 million to the Irish economy.

“There are now more than 750 artisan and speciality food producers across the country who are contributing to the unprecedented local, national and international success of Ireland’s food sector,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate Bord Bia and The TASTE Council for developing The Future is Food as a means of providing Transition Year students with an opportunity to gain real-life insight into the array of opportunities that the Irish food sector presents for young people with an entrepreneurial flair.

“Its value lies in the experiential learning process which engages not just students, but also the many local producers and food professionals who have freely volunteered their time as their contribution towards inspiring the food entrepreneurs of the future.”

Teresa Brophy, Consumer and Trade Marketing Manager at Bord Bia was encouraged by the number of schools that have signed-up to The Future is Food.

“This is a hugely important initiative for Bord Bia and The TASTE Council and the number of schools taking part this year has exceeded all our expectations,” she said.

A key element of The Future is Food is the involvement of a network of mentors comprising artisan producers, chefs and other food producers recruited by The TASTE Council to partner with schools, all of whom will pass on the benefit of their own experience and expertise.

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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