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Residents’ anger as heroin addicts ‘score’ at open drug market



The city’s heroin problem has become so chronic, the drug is now being openly sold in the Westside, according to a local councillor.

A number of locals made a complaint to Gardaí on Wednesday morning that a number of addicts were in the process of buying heroin from a dealer behind Westside Church.

However, Councillor Mike Cubbard said the residents were told there were no Gardaí available to deal with the situation.

“The lads who spotted this rang the Gardai straight away. The answer they got from the Gardai was ‘today is a busy day… everybody is up in court and there are no guards available to call out to you.

“It shows how bad it’s gotten now that they’re doing this in broad daylight beside a church at 11 in the morning… there is a huge frustration out there with the locals at the moment.”

However, a Garda spokesperson said that any reports of illegal drugs usage or sale would be investigated thoroughly.

“We would ask that if anyone notices anything suspicious in terms of illegal drugs changing hands that they would contact the Gardai immediately. We deploy a lot of resources into securing prosecutions in relation to the use of drugs in the city with many, many people brought before the courts and convicted,” said the spokesperson.

Cllr Cubbard explained that this frustration wasn’t just in relation to the incident on Wednesday morning, there are deeper lying issues in the area.

“I for one am sick and tired of waking up to hear another house has been robbed in Westside, another car vandalised outside a person’s home or more used drug paraphernalia found in public areas where children have direct access to,” he said.

The failure of the Gardai to respond has left locals “feeling frustrated” according to Cllr Cubbard.

“The guards have to respond, it’s not good enough for a guard to tell you that they’re all in court and there is no one available,” urged Cllr Cubbard.

He plans to introduce a Community Text Alert scheme for the Westside area, following a spate of burglaries and incidents of vandalism in recent weeks.

A public meeting for next Tuesday (May 19) at 7pm in the Westside Community Centre to discuss the text alert system.

“I believe it can help Westside and the Gardaí in curtailing these acts of crime. Items can be replaced, but the thought of a person in your home stays forever and two more burglaries in recent days locally means it’s simply time to act.”

He cited the new Westside Sports Campus as signs of the areas rejuvenation, and feels that the establishment of a community text alert system would be of great benefit to the area.

“Westside has come a long way over the years and the latest addition in the state of the art park and playground is testament to this. I do not want to allow a minority of people drag a fantastic community down and feel passionate about this.”

“People deserve to feel safe in their home and their community and as a local public representative I feel it my responsibility to try find solutions,” he said.

Cllr Cubbard has urged all residents in Westside to attend, and he has also invited the Community Garda and the City Council Tenant Liaison Officer to also attend.

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.

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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