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Multi-million retail project for derelict site by 2019



The owners of a derelict site on the Headford Road have said they hope to complete a multi-million euro retail, office and apartment development by 2019.

The Council had previously raised concerns over potential flooding on the half-acre site.

Almane Properties Ltd – which is controlled by the Barry family, who own Motorpark and have numerous property investments – has been granted a five-year extension of time on its planning permission for the site located alongside the IMC Cinema at Galway Retail Park.

The plans are for a new 2,355 square metre development on the site, including 840 sq m of ground floor retail space, 810 sq m of first floor offices and 4 two-bed duplex apartments (totalling 706 sq m) on the second and third floors, as well as 14 temporary parking spaces.

“Around the time permission was granted, the market for this type of accommodation collapsed and finance was no longer available for construction,” the application reads.

Planning permissions last for a period of five years, and the Almane permission had been due to expire in May. It will not expire in May, 2021.

City Council planners said: “Development of this vacant site is desirable in the interests of improving the visual amenity and general ambience of this stretch of the Headford Road. The site is prominently located, both visually and in terms of commercial footfall.

“The further provision of retail space in this area would be beneficial in physically linking the city centre with the shopping areas on the Headford Road (Galway Shopping Centre and Galway Retail Park), and the mixed retail/office use and substantial residential element is in keeping with the Commercial/Industrial zoning objectives.”

Planners had also requested that a flood risk assessment be prepared for the site.

That report found that the site would be defended by the Terryland embankment and Salmon Weir against a 100 year flood, but is “potentially vulnerable” to the 1,000 year flood.

It said that while the ground floor retail units could be affected, the residential apartment are located at second and third floor level are safe from flooding as the flood defences would only allow flooding between 4cm and 7cm on the ground floor, which would not impede access.

Senior Executive Planner Liam Blake said: “Having regard to the fact that the overall Headford Road development is not a greenfield site, but adjoins an existing shopping centre which has been in place for over 40 years and the fact that all residential accommodation units of the proposed development are located above the ground floor level, and that clear evacuation refuge and escape routes have been identified, it is considered that the flood risks have been adequately assessed.”

He added that despite the volatility of the property market, the Council would extend the planning permission by five years because it was in the context of a mixed-use development. Mr Blake said the extension of time for residential-only would normally be three years.

The applicants indicated they expect the building to be completed “between 2017-19”.

Last year, planners granted permission to another company for the development of two retail units and four apartment on the adjoining carpark site (the former Esso station).

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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