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Licence application lodged for expanded Christmas Market



A special events licence application has been lodged at City Hall for an expanded Continental Christmas Market across three locations in Galway.

The plans will allow for up to 50 traders at Eyre Square, a further 42 at Spanish Arch and 30 for a weekend market in Woodquay.

However, the operating company has said it expects around 60 stalls in total, and the higher figures were to “provide for every possible eventuality” and the fact that food stalls require more space.

A bar licence has been sought for both Eyre Square and Spanish Arch – the Bier Keller will be located in the middle of Eyre Square with an open deck area to the front, while the traditional Windmill House will move to Fishmarket Square.

There will also be performances from bands, choirs and carollers on the Eyre Square stage, while kids’ arts and science workshops have been commissioned by Baboró, the international arts festival for children.

There will also be a ‘charity fringe programme’ with an open call for community and arts groups to perform.

Small scale vintage amusements will be placed on the hard surface at the top of Eyre Square, as well as at Fishmarket Square, while there will be a Santa’s Grotto on the grass area near the Skeff, will be adjacent to the ‘Christmas Train’ stop.

The backers of the market for the past five years, Milestone Inventive, have submitted the application to the Council, which is now being examined by local authority officials and will come before councillors for a vote in October.

The plans are for up to 50 stalls and other exhibitors at Eyre Square, using the raised hard surface and facing onto the paths and walkways within the grassed areas of the park and the pedestrianised pathway on the west side of the Square.

At Fishmarket Square, it is planned to use the hard surface in front of and behind the Arch itself, with up to 42 traders.

“In Woodquay, we will utilise the roadway and parking spaces, and retain one lane for traffic, inviting up to 30 traders to participate. The traders in all locations will be providing both food and craft/gift items,” the organisers say.

They add that last year, 40% of traders were local and 88% were Irish, and they envisage a similar mix this year.

According to the application, the market will run from November 20 to December 22 and will be located at Eyre Square, Fishmarket Square and Woodquay.

Woodquay will only operate on the weekends of November 28 and 29, December 5 and 6 and December 12 and 13.

“It will once again consist of a mix of international and local vendors, it offers a range of food and crafts. In addition to the traders, onsite entertainment will be provided, as well as a public bar,” it reads.

The organisers added that to combat damage caused to grass areas in Eyre Square, the overall footprint there has been reduced, while large structures will be builton blocks.

A spokesperson said that while the trader figures add up to more than 120, she expects there to be around 60 in total.

“It will be nowhere near that figure. It will be around 60 in total, because we will not be able to sell some cabins, hot food vendors will require more space. You have to prepare for every eventuality, but there will not be 120 cabins … there aren’t even 100 cabins in the country,” Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, Maria Moynihan Lee said.

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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