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NUIG proposes to build new 400-bed student village



An application to build units accommodating over 400 students has been lodged with the city planners by NUI Galway after original designs were altered following consultation with local residents.

The development rising to five storeys in height adjacent to the Corrib Village student complex is planned for a site behind seven properties along Newcastle Road Upper.

The development involves 429 bedspaces, arranged in 57 units of six en-suite bedrooms, 11 units of five en-suite bedrooms and eight units of 4 en-suite bedrooms, with communal living areas in each. The development will be in one five-storey block and three 3 and 4 storey blocks.

Further communal areas and facilities are part of the design.

Of the houses nearest to the development, four are residential, with one used as a doctor’s surgery, one a crèche and the other a facility operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Of the four still being lived in, one was recently built by the University to accommodate a family who sold their house to the institution to build a new entrance opposite the G&L Centra along Upper Newcastle Road.

The plans were lodged on Monday after they were revised following discussions with residents and local councillors. In its information booklet, NUIG explained there was a significant shortage of student bed spaces – there are currently 2,700 purpose-built beds available to meet a core demand from 9,500 students.

Councillor Billy Cameron said the project raised the alarm bells of residents due to its scale, proximity to homes and antisocial behaviour that may arise once students moved in.

“I must say in my 11 years as a councillor and having worked with various residents’ associations in the area and meeting with NUIG authorities, the local community Garda, and students’ union, we never came across a problem of antisocial behaviour emanating from Corrib Village so when they voiced concerns about antisocial behaviour I can’t agree with that. It’s a very well run complex with high security,” remarked Cllr Cameron.

“The issue of antisocial behaviour in privately-rented houses has diminished incredibly over the last few years due to liaising with the Community Garda, residents’ association and the students’ union. We had only one occasion last year of antisocial behaviour and that was during the unofficial Rag Week.”

The revised plans have reduced the height of the blocks closest to the private back gardens to three storeys at the closest point to the boundary, stepping up to four and five storeys towards the river.

The architects have also moved the three storey blocks a further three metres from the boundary with the neighbouring properties, leaving the three storey blocks now within 11 metres of the boundary, stepping up to four storeys at 21 metres from the boundary, and the five storey blocks at 71 metres from the boundary.

Vehicular access to the development will be via the existing Corrib Village access road and like that development, it is proposed to make it available for short-term visitor letting during the summer months.

There continues to be some concerns among residents in neighbouring estates about the impact of parking.

“I will be looking for further clarification about whether the under-utilised car park further north of Corrib Village can be used for parking by the development, perhaps for a small supplementary payment. This would alleviate the worries of residents in Greenfields and Fairlands as it has 400 spaces,” explained Cllr Cameron.

While he was originally unimpressed with the fascade of the building – believing it to be “a bit Soviet in style” – further enlarged slides have shown it was “not as harsh”.

“People recognise there’s a shortage of accommodation, not just for students but for the general public because there’s been no building for seven years. So something has to happen to free up accommodation,” the Labour councillor remarked.

Residents now have several weeks to lodge submissions in relation to the application. A decision is due to be made by the planners to accept or reject the proposal by October.

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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