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Penniless Canadian reaps the fruits of his success



A week ago at the Dublin Convention Centre, among nearly 900 invitees and their guests, Galway entrepreneur Bruce Henry stood with his hand over his heart as he recited the oath of fidelity to the Irish state, received his certificate of naturalisation and was officially made an Irish citizen.

For this Canadian turned Paddy, his story is one of tenacity, triumph and success and reminds us that with hard work, anything is possible. Almost penniless in his early days in Ireland, he now runs the hugely-successful Galway entertainment company Murder on the Menu.

While citizenship ceremonies are relatively new to Ireland, preparing for this moment has been something Bruce has looked forward to for the past six years since he first arrived in Dublin.

“I flew from my home of Winnipeg to Toronto, then onto Heathrow and from Heathrow into Dublin and even though it was raining, I was so excited for this new adventure I was about to embark on. My ancestors were Irish and left Ireland in 1838 so reconnecting with my Irish roots was really important to me. Having lived in Canada my entire life, I was ready to experience Irish culture in my own way,” says Henry.

Bruce arrived in Dublin on April 23, 2009 and immediately tried to find work in the nation’s capital. Unfortunately, at this time redundancies were skyrocketing at nearly 1,200 a week and after nearly three months, the job search seemed hopeless.

“Nobody was calling me back. After months and hundreds of CVs, I just couldn’t get an interview. I was starting to lose hope. I was living in a hostel on the Dublin Quays and shared a room with 17 other people and I was critically low on cash. I could feel my days were numbered”.

That is until a phone call from Ennis, Co. Clare changed everything.

“I received a call from a company in Ennis and they wanted to meet me for an interview later that week. I literally only had €50 to my name, so I knew I was going to have to ring my parents and ask to borrow the €25 for the train fare. Luckily they said yes!

“I made my way to Ennis and I treated this interview as if my life depended on it because in that moment, it really did. I didn’t sacrifice everything back in Canada to come to Ireland for just a few months. There was so much more I wanted to see and do and I wasn’t ready to come home yet, so I dug really deep and found the strength to make it work.”

After a three-hour train journey and an interview that lasted over an hour, Bruce Henry emerged triumphant and boarded the train back to Dublin with a signed contract of employment in hand.

“It was really one of those defining moments in my life. I had the choice to give up and go home or stay and fight for my place here. I choose to stay and while it has been difficult with a lot of obstacles to overcome, it’s all been worth it. Nothing worth having is ever easy to achieve,” says Bruce.

While living in Ennis, Bruce began taking the bus up to Galway on the weekends to experience the City of Tribes for himself. After his three-month contract in Ennis ended, Bruce decided Galway would become his new home and he made the move in October 2009. From there he worked in the hospitality industry for a number of different hotels and restaurants until starting his own business in the summer of 2013.

“I always knew I was destined to work for myself because regardless of where I worked, I always wanted to do things my way which as you can imagine, didn’t really work for many of my employers. I focused on entertainment and tourism and developed a business based on things that I was most passionate about. That’s where Murder on the Menu started.

“Since we started in 2013, we’ve become Ireland’s favourite murder mystery entertainment company for hen parties, birthday’s, anniversaries, corporate team building and sports and social nights out. Last year, we completed over 60 private parties and entertained thousands of people. This year we’re on track to doing 200 parties and we’re even developing a new murder mystery pub tour for Galway this summer.”

The company has grown since its inception and established a new office in Galway in March of this year. It currently employs two additional staff members and has been nominated for a number of local business awards.

“I came to Ireland at a time when the financial system was in such peril I couldn’t even get a bank account. I had to get my employer to write me a letter of introduction before the banks would even talk to me. To go from that to owning my own company, creating new jobs and now expanding, I’m proof that there are opportunities here in Ireland. The country is open for business, the economy is recovering and things are looking up.

“With that said, this has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I’ve changed and continue to develop and grow since I arrived back in 2009. I’ve truly learned what it was like to starve, take risks and work harder everyday than I did the last. For me, persistence is key and my strongest trait is my tenacity, my willingness to try try again.

“I love Canada and not a day goes by where I don’t think about my family and loved ones back home but I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I’m staying in Ireland. This is my home now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

As one of the countries newest citizens, what was his first act as an Irish citizen.

“Immediately after the ceremony ended, I jumped on the Luas and headed to my favourite Dublin Pub where I enjoyed a pint of Guinness. Stereotypical I know, but I feel like I’d be letting the country down if I didn’t.

“On a more serious note, I’m proud to say that my first official civic act will be voting in the Marriage Equality referendum on May 22 where I’ll be certainly voting Yes for Equal Marriage. I feel like I represent a new generation in Ireland, one that’s more progressive, more forward thinking and more accepting. I’m so proud to be an Irish citizen and I can’t wait to see what the next six years are like”.

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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