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Galway singer-songwriter on cusp of stardom



A 24-year-old Galway singer/songwriter is on the cusp of stardom after impressing some of the biggest names in the music business.

Oranmore-native Jamie Harrison has collaborated with Grammy Award winning producer Ken Nelson – a man who previously worked with music industry heavyweights Coldplay, Paolo Nutini, and Sam Smith – on his new single ‘If I Only Knew Your Name’.

Jamie is now working on his debut EP, which is due for release later this year – but his heady blend of soul, pop/rock and folk have been a familiar sound on the streets of Galway for some time now.

Jamie Harrison and Megan Drust shooting his video in LA.

Jamie Harrison and Megan Drust shooting his video in LA.

He first came to prominence in 2012 when he raised €6,000 for Lily-Mae Morrison, the young Galway girl with a rare form of children’s cancer, Neuroblastoma.

He held a ‘buskathon’ – busking for four days during the Volvo Ocean Race Festival in July – and then played on the charity single, a cover of Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’, which topped the Irish charts that Christmas.

The son of a musician, it was inevitable music was in Jamie’s blood. He reminisces over his father teaching him guitar chords at eleven years old.

The young musician’s ears were activated and he practiced his chords reverently. By the very next day, a young Jamie had succeeded in composing his first song.

“I knew then – this was what I wanted to do,” he said.

But it was his musician father who also discouraged him from going into music full-time – ‘it’s going to break your heart’ he told him.

So Jamie tried out other career options, after graduating from Calasanctius College, Oranmore, studying architecture for one year and PE teaching for two years.  A keen hurler, he is also the holder of an All-Ireland medal, having played with the Galway minors in 2009.

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Music has always been an integral part of his life; but Jamie only started singing at the age of twenty. In earlier years he harbored ambitions of becoming a blues guitarist, travelling to Chicago to play blues clubs like Buddy Guys Legends and Kingston Mines.

Jamie recorded a guitar cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic ‘Bold as Love’ which has over 300,000 hits on YouTube.

Jamie only discovered his singing voice after having his tonsils removed. “I couldn’t believe it, all of a sudden I could reach these notes,” he said.

It was after this enlightened discovery Jamie decided to follow his passion and pursue a career in music.

Jamie’s mother, Teri Russell, was also to prove instrumental in his success story; connecting her son to Ollie Jennings, long-time manager of the Saw Doctors.

That was almost three years ago – and ever since, according to Ollie, Jamie would come to him every few weeks with a new song, or demo recording.

Ollie encouraged Jamie to make a ‘wish-list’ of producers he would most like to work with. Top of that list was Ken Nelson, producer of Coldplay’s earlier albums – ‘Parachutes’ and ‘Rush Of Blood To The Head’ – which had a profound influence on the budding  musician.

After meeting with Ollie and Jamie, Ken agreed to work with them, loving the idea of producing in the legendary Grouse Lodge Studios, Co. Westmeath, where Michael Jackson and Muse have recorded albums.

LA director Nicholas Lam, who has worked with Nicole Scherzinger, Jason Derulo and Bastille, heard ‘If I Only Knew Your Name’ online and contacted Jamie directly – extending an invitation to fly over to Hollywood and offering to shoot and direct his music video.

He put together a crew of people including cinematographer Alexander Nikishin, who worked on music videos for Mary J Blige and Fall out Boy.

The video is a romantic dreamscape – delving into the mind of a young man, as he imagines a day long adventure with a girl (played by Megan Drust) he doesn’t know.

But, after dreaming about cruising in an open top, vintage car, through sun soaked LA enthralled in each other’s company; his fantasy comes to an abrupt end as he watches her drive away, never to be seen again.

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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