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New innovation hub to foster entrepreneurs



The new Innovation Hub located in a CIE building behind Ceannt Station is hoping to open its doors by the end of September, bringing a range of services to entrepreneurs around the city.

The Galway City Innovation District will be a cluster of Galway City’s entrepreneurs, start-ups, accelerators and incubators and will be close to public transportation and wired for high speed internet, supporting mixed-use development, and nurturing collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

The project is called the PorterShed and will be based in the former Guinness storehouse at the back of the station. Currently the PorterShed team are finalising the lease for the building which will have room for about 85 people, including growth companies with 15 people or more and new companies with only two or three people.

“It’s a very collaborative space, so the idea is that the entrepreneurs will work together, will share, collaborate, helping each other to grow their companies as quickly as possible,” said Maurice O’Gorman of the Galway Chamber of Commerce, who is heavily involved with the project.

“Within that space, there’ll be a lot of services offered to them for free. For example, KPMG will have a business advisor there one day a week. And FOD, the law firm, will have somebody there to help new companies and talk to them about legal structures and give them legal advice.”

Advice on R&D tax credits, banking issues and funding will be readily available in the hub, as well as venture capital funds and angel investors who will be invited to meet the companies based in the PorterShed.

“There’ll be a mentoring service as well, so we’ll be mentoring the companies as they go through. The idea, again, is to get them up and growing as quickly as possible. Also, what we’re trying to do is create an environment where you can get lots of companies establishing in Galway and getting them to grow as quickly as possible,” Mr O’Gorman explained.

A number of organisations, including the Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway Harbour, Startup Galway, WestBIC and NUI Galway have come together to kick-start the new innovation hub.

The plan is to start with one building – the PorterShed – and then expand to a cluster of many more to create the Galway Innovation District which will include weekly events, coffee with founders, designed workspaces, meeting rooms, hot desks, high speed internet, private phone kiosks and plenty more.

As well as Mr O’Gorman, the project is run by Paul Killoran of Ex Ordo, Michael Fitzgerald of OnePageCRM, John Breslin of NUI Galway and Dave Cunningham of StartX6 – a group of people who are passionate about making Galway an even better city for business.

“But we don’t want the PorterShed or the Galway City Innovation District to just be about Galway City. So what we’re doing is we’re reaching out to the innovation hubs in towns throughout Galway and the idea is that if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re based in Oughterard, for example, you can come and attend all these events that happen in PorterShed. We’ll be streaming them as well so people can see them wherever they are,” Mr O’Gorman explained.

“But also, if you want to come in to the PorterShed and meet the business partners in there, you can come in from Oughterard and book a desk for the day and book your appointments with KPMG and FOD and other people. And you can come in and do that and meet the other entrepreneurs as well.

“So we’re reserving desks for people who are living outside of the city in the rural areas, to integrate them into what’s happening in the city.”

The benefits to the city are endless, according to Mr O’Gorman who says the Innovation Hub would not only bring jobs to the city, but increase the need for services, and in turn increase employment figures in Galway.

“A long-term aim – I mean long-term – between the harbour and the CIE site, you could envisage about 10,000 jobs coming into the city. There are developers who are interested in doing stuff in the city as well now, because obviously this shows that we can bring footfall into the city,” he said.

“So it’ll take time, but hopefully it will grow.”

■ For more information on the PorterShed, visit

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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