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More than 20 sleep rough each night in Galway City



More than 20 people are believed to sleep rough on the streets of Galway each night, according to local charity COPE Galway.

The charity has blamed the situation on the “severe shortage” of housing available at the moment.

A statement from the charity reads: “There has been a steady increase in the numbers of people rough sleeping in Galway over recent weeks and months and this is now becoming much more visible in the city.

“The exact number of rough sleepers in Galway City isn’t known but on October 7, our Fairgreen Hostel identified 14 individual men that were rough sleeping that night. There are others that we also know of who we strongly suspect are rough sleeping and some more who are not in contact with or known to our services.

“All said, there may be in excess of 20 people rough sleeping in Galway on any given night. This increase in rough sleeping is the inevitable consequence of what can only be described as a severe shortage of housing currently available in Galway.

“Those in emergency accommodation are remaining there for extended periods of time as they cannot secure move on accommodation and this in turn means that emergency spaces are not available when people present to us homeless and in need of a place to stay.

“There are varied and complex factors which leading to people becoming and remaining homeless including family breakdown, poor mental health and addiction issues. There are some who do not have residency status or a centre of interest in Galway and this in turn restricts what financial and accommodation supports they are eligible for.

“These have always been the factors which contributed to people becoming and remaining homeless but what has changed in Galway now is the volumes of people becoming homeless and the acute shortage of move on housing and accommodation options available,” the statement reads.

The charity has also appealed to landlords for a premises of 1,500 square feet or larger to put in place emergency beds during the Winter.

“With winter fast approaching we, in conjunction with Galway City Council, the HSE and other agencies, are working to put in place a Cold Weather Response. The purpose of this first and foremost is to have additional emergency night time beds available for people who would otherwise sleep rough for the period between late November 2016 and March 2017. We also aim to work with those who are rough sleeping over this period to identify longer term solutions to their homelessness.

“We are currently trying to identify and secure a suitable premises from which to operate this Cold Weather Response and are appealing to anyone who may have a suitable space of 1,500 sq feet or larger available to contact Martin O’Connor on 091 778750 to discuss renting this space to use for a six-month period for this purpose. This needs to be in Galway City so that people sleeping rough can access it.

“We are also anxious to hear from you or members of the public concerned about someone sleeping rough in your area. You can either contact our Day Centre services directly at 091 525259 or direct them to the Day Centre which is situated in Seamus Quirke Road and which is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4pm and from 8.30am to 2pm on Saturdays.”

COPE Galway provide emergency accommodation and supports for people experiencing homelessness in Galway. The Fairgreen Hostel accommodates 26 men, and the women’s hostel Osterley Lodge in Salthill accommodates up to 13 single women and women with children. Both of these services are full on a nightly basis and have been for some months now.

The Day Centre for homeless at Teach Corrib in Newcastle also operates eight emergency accommodation units for families and arranges placements in tourist accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and hostels for single people and families who are homeless. The Day Centre also provides access to food, showers, clothing, bedding, and assistance with finding accommodation.


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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