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Galway’s Taibhdhearc Theatre gets €1m boost



Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe: €1 million in new state funding.

The national Irish language theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, has been granted almost €1 million to support the delivery of its work over the next three years.

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh announced annual funding of €320,000 for Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe for each of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The city-based theatre, which re-opened in 2012, had applied for annual funding of around €400,000, which is what it was receiving a decade ago.

The grant of €320,000, however, is an increase of €20,000 on the amount of funding it received in 2013. Anne McCabe, artistic director of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, yesterday welcomed the funding and said it offered certainty for the company for the next three years.

Ms McCabe said the additional €20,000 in funding meant that an Irish language pantomime would be staged again at the theatre this year.

Some 27 schoolchildren and some well known Irish language actors wowed audiences in December with the popular Beauty and the Beast pantomime.

“I am absolutely delighted with the announcement and the increase in funding. We submitted a three year business plan and strategy and this is an endorsement of the plans that we have for the theatre over the next three years. I suppose it is also recognition of how successful last year, which was my first year, has been. We wanted to do a panto this year and this grant enables us to do that.

“The grant will allow us to continue our core objective of staging Irish language drama and theatre, and also supporting other Irish language groups, including theatre groups, and Gaeltacht groups, in their work,” she said.

Ms McCabe said the ‘centrepiece’ of the theatre’s programme in 2015 would be Maamtrasna, a drama about murders in Connemara in 1882. It will run during the Galway Arts Festival. Other highlights include a celebration of actor Maura Stafford, as well as events to mark the centenary of Walter Macken. The funding announcement was welcomed by local politicians.

Galway West TD Brian said the funding was indicative of the Government’s commitment to the Irish language and a boost for one of the city’s most important institutions.

“This is an important signal of continued support for our national Irish-language theatre, which has a rich history and a vibrant future,” he said.

“My maiden speech following my election to the Dáil in 2011 was on the subject of An Taibhdhearc, after which €300,000 was secured for the renovation of the theatre, and it continues to be a cause very close to my heart. I am very pleased that this level of funding has been committed, which will allow the theatre to continue its excellent work, plan ahead, and grow over the coming years,” added Deputy Walsh.

Senator Hildegarde Naughton said: “The Taibhdhearc does vital work fostering our national language through a range of activities including plays, workshops, competitions, shows and exhibitions. This funding is also timely in terms of Galway’s 2020 Capital of Culture bid.

“As a member of the Board of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, I am delighted this operational grant has been made available.   With the completion of recent major renovations of the theatre, which were jointly funded by the Government and the City Council, Galway has a state-of-the-art Irish Language Theatre which I would urge the people of Galway to come and enjoy.”


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.

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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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