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Householders ignoring boil water notice



Families in Loughrea are drinking tap water despite the boil notice in place due to the presence of the potentially dangerous bug cryptosporidium, according to area councillors.

Councillors Shane Donnellan (FF) and Michael ‘Mogie’ Maher (FG) said they both knew of families with children who did not realise the water was contaminated.

These residents did not read newspapers, listen to local radio or follow social media, Cllr Donnellan stated.

“We need to get that message out by way of posters, maybe a leaflet drop,” he insisted.

“Irish water did not contact me either as a householder or a councillor that the boil water notice was in place.”

Cllr Maher said the people of the town were of the belief that it was a rural issue and the boil notice did not cover Loughrea town.

“It is imperative to inform the 5,000 people of the town not to drink the water,” he exclaimed.

Galway County Council’s director of services for water and environment Jim Cullen said Loughrea was “very, very lucky” with the quality of its water supply as normally the lake had pristine water and was one of the best sources of water in the country.

Due to the abnormal rain levels since December debris had been washed into the lake which made it difficult for the water treatment plant to remove.

A possible solution to install UV equipment should not take too long, Mr Cullen predicted.

Irish Water said last week the equipment would take three to four weeks to install after which extensive testing over a number of weeks would be required to ensure it was meeting water safety standards for the 8,500 people living in the catchment area.

These specialised units have to be sized correctly for the particular source in accordance with international validation requirements and must be housed within a separate building or container.   Every water source has different properties so each unit has to be tailored to the particular conditions.

Until then the boil water notice remains in place, placing a financial burden on families who buy bottled water instead of the boiling it due to taste, safety and convenience reasons.

People have been urged not to drink the water, make ice, brush their teeth or prepare food from the tap and instead boil all water.

Normally UV treatment systems could take up to a year to procure, install and fully test. But the utility plans to use one decommissioned from another plant elsewhere in the country.

Irish Water reiterated that the boil water notice for Loughrea only applies to consumers on the Loughrea Public Water Supply including the Craughwell area and the following group water schemes:  Earlspark, Masonbrook, Newtowndaly, Loughrea Rural, Killeenadeema, Carrowmore/Clostoken & Caherlaven, Caherdine and Carrigean.

Ballymana Group Scheme was included originally by the council when the boil water notice was first issued but it was later confirmed that this area is on a different water supply and is not impacted by the boil water notice for Loughrea.

“The confusion arose as a few years ago when Ballymana was served by the Loughrea supply but this was turned off when it got its own group scheme.”

Irish Water said it would not be providing bottled water as the water was safe to use once boiled.

Meanwhile householders in Leitir Móir face at least a three month wait before they will again be able to drink water from the tap following the detection of cryptosporidium.

The treatment plant will be shut down for four days from 8am next Tuesday, February 23, to 8am the following Friday.  Tankered water will be in place during the disruption and water drawn from these tankers must be boiled before use.  The water mains will be flushed during the last week of February causing further disruption in localised areas so  tankers will remain in place.

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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