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Gentrification of Claddagh pinpointed as a concern



A lack of opportunities for young people in the Claddagh has been highlighted by a new NUI Galway report on city communities.

The 3-Cities Project, which focussed on two neighbourhoods in Dublin, Limerick and Galway – shed new light on the barriers to community involvement in both Doughiska and the Claddagh.

All information was provided by young people, older people and people with a disability that live in the community.

Both hugely different communities, Doughiska was chosen for its rapid development and hugely diverse community.

The Claddagh was singled out by researchers because of its status as an established inner-city neighbourhood – as well as being a place that has experienced significant neighbourhood change.

While there was much praise from local residents whom were surveyed by means of interview and focus group – some of the younger residents compared the Claddagh with other ‘younger’ areas of the city and outlined the difficulties for children living in areas with an older population.

One young female respondent compared the Claddagh to the communities to the west of the city and described how life might differ for a child growing up there – even noticing a developments in the short time since she was a young child.

“There was a good group of us when I was younger . . . I see my friends who live in like Shantalla or Knocknacarra . . . they can just go across the road and go to their friends house or they just meet up.

“There is no one really there for her [younger sister], she has to go to Knocknacarra to meet her friends. If she is at home she has to stay there is nothing to do around the place,” she explained.

Concern arose in the report about the “gentrification” of the area and the difficulties associated with trying to develop a community when a large number of people are either not from the area or just purchasing houses to use as holiday homes.

One older resident recalled how in the 1950s, she knew a very different Claddagh to the one that exists today.

“Well going back to the early 1950s, we used to go in a group down to Lydon House, and we’d get the bread and we’d deliver them to the poor people, particularly in Claddagh – some of the people would be standing on the door waiting for us to come and some of the ladies – they were in their bare feet.

“So it was a very poor area of Claddagh. Now it’s the crème-de-la-crème of the city, but in those days, it was very poor,” he said.

Also evident from the responses of locals was that there is a real sense of belonging existing amongst those who were born and reared in the Claddagh – something that is hard for newer residents to tap into according to one respondent.

“She actually said to myself and [my friend], ‘You will never be Claddagh, you’re only blow-ins,” she said as she recalled an incident between her and someone who had roots firmly in the former fishing village.

The report concluded that there was a strong sense of community in the Claddagh with customs including the King of Claddagh all adding to a sense of local identity.

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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