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Pedestrians and bus users should be given priority



The €500 million to be spent on the construction of the new city bypass should instead be used on prioritising pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, according to a new ‘Future City Alliance’ made up of local environmentalists and community groups.

Cities across the world including Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, New York and Barcelona are constructing new transport infrastructures prioritising public transport, cycling and walking, the Alliance have said this week.

The Future City Alliance said that many smaller cities – the size of Galway – were in the process of ‘regenerating and humanising’ their urban environments by introducing woodlands, gardens, recreational parks and city-wide 24/7 cycling, walking and public bus or train systems.

“Yet here in Galway City we are proposing to build a highway that will cut through people’s houses, villages, neighbourhoods, farmland, key wildlife habitats, a university campus and sports fields.

“In the process, this will only exacerbate the transport problems, leading to further urban sprawl in a city where the mobility of the private car already takes priority over the movement of people by more environmentally sustainable modes of travel,” said Brendan Smith of the Future City Alliance.

Some other members of the Alliance include Derrick Hambleton, Chair of An Taisce, Galway; Simon Comer of the Cosain road safety group; Robert McKenny, Chair of the Galway Cycling and Richard Manton, Transport Researcher at NUIG.

According to Brendan Smith, cities that have taken on board alternative transport policies have transformed themselves over recent years.“Soulless concrete jungles of offices – devoid of the sounds of families and residents – are springing back to life as living, vibrant, social communities,” he said.

According to the Alliance, the N6 Galway City Transport Project to date has not addressed the urban transport crisis within the city and is instead focused on promoting an ‘uneconomic highway’ connecting Connemara to East Galway, despite the fact that current data indicates such traffic would constitute just 5% of the total vehicular movement.

“Prioritising the construction of more public roads for private cars ignores the reality of the now inevitable fossil fuel crisis, reneges on our international obligations to lower greenhouse gas emissions, pollutes our air, covers much needed parks and woodlands with tarmac and concrete, and dramatically increases the noise levels that impact negatively on the health of communities and of individual citizens,” said Brendan Smith.

He said that they were calling on the city’s ‘leaders’ to plan for the regeneration of Galway, focusing on the area including Ceannt Station and the Harbour, to include energy efficient housing units, restaurants, shops and sites for the city’s long-awaited Arts and Exhibition centre as well as an upgraded multi-modal transport hub.

“As citizens of Galway, we now find ourselves at a crossroads. Either we allow ourselves to be corralled by road routes or we decide to take ownership of our city and build a bright, clean, green, eco-smart future,” said Brendan Smith.

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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