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Pensioner takes on bank over missing cash



A pensioner from Dunmore has vowed to continue to fight to reclaim money lodged to a dormant Ulster Bank account 40 years ago – which could now be worth more than €11,000.

The 89-year-old has already picketed the Tuam branch of Ulster Bank on two occasions.

When looking through a suitcase full of her late husband’s old documents recently, Teresa Scahill discovered a document showing a £1,000 lodgement was made to the account at Ulster Bank in Tuam 40 years ago.

However, the bank has refused to allow her withdraw the money . . . because it has no record that the account ever existed.

After four decades, the £1,000 lodgement would be worth in the region of €6,400. Assuming a very basic deposit interest rate of 1.5%, the balance of the account would be in the region of €11,600 today (excluding DIRT tax).

Mrs Scahill said the money has been lodged by her late husband in the 1970s, and had disappeared without trace.

“I’ve had numerous discussions with the bank and the dormant accounts department, but they failed to find a solution. I came across an old document in a suitcase, and there was no problem in the beginning when I went in.x1 letter

“They wanted a marriage certificate and I brought it in within a week. I wrote to dormant accounts and they say they have no trace of it being transferred there.

Now I have a dozen letters in front of me to the complaints department in Dublin and the complaints department in Northern Ireland.

“They acknowledged it in the beginning, but now I’m not getting anywhere. £1,000 back then would have bought a house in Tuam or a house in Galway.

“I want to know where my money is. To say they cannot trace it is not an answer.

“I stood outside the bank twice with a placard, asking for my money. They wanted to bring me out a chair and bring me a cup of tea, but then when I stood out of a shower of rain in the doorway, I was asked to move,” she said.

“I was a nurse in England for 18 months of the war (World War II) and my husband worked there for five years of the war laying telephone cables.

“There’s no way in the world of God above I’m going to give in. The family say ‘have a bit of sense’, but I have nothing else to do. It’s rightfully mine, that money was earned by blood and sweat,” she said.

Mrs Scahill is well-known in Dunmore having run a business there for more than 50 years.

Dormant account legislation was introduced by the Government in 2001 which ordered that any accounts which had not been active for 15 years or more would have their balances transferred to the National Treasury Management Agency for distribution into a charity fund.

However, the legislation states that dormant account funds with the NTMA can be called back by their rightful owner.

A spokesperson for Ulster Bank said they cannot comment on individual cases. However, it is understood the bank is urgently looking into the matter.

Four years ago, Mrs Scahill lost a civil action against Bank of Ireland in Dunmore, where she alleged that money totalling €650 had been withdrawn from her account without her consent.

The claim was dismissed after the Judge said three samples of Mrs Scahill’s signature were very similar to those on two withdrawal slips.

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.

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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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