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Resistance to water meters ‘building up head of steam’



Resistance to the installation of water meters in the city is building up a head of steam, according to anti-water charges activists.

Irish Water and its contractors chose Knocknacarra as the first city area to begin installing meters and they have been visiting estates in the past three weeks.

In response opponents of the charges have been hosting ‘street meetings’ to embolden residents to unite against the installation of meters.

Right2Water Galway are helping residents to resist installation. They have organised 10 street meetings where residents against the charges meet to plan how they will oppose installation.

So far, up to 100 households have successfully resisted the installation of meters at their homes, and resistance is continuing. Three more informal ‘street meetings’ are planned on three different Knocknacarra estates this weekend.

Dette McLoughlin of Right2Water Galway agreed the level of resistance so far is smaller than the group had hoped but it is “gaining momentum”.

“Obviously we would prefer if it was more but the more people learn about it, the more they want to resist. A lot of people contacted us but by then it was too late, the meters were already installed. To those people I would say ‘don’t worry – resisting installation is just one step, what is really going to beat the charges is the boycott of payment’,” said Ms McLoughlin.

Right2Water Galway is not releasing the names of estates that are resisting – it is understood they do not want ‘outside’ or ‘professional protesters’ high-jacking the cause.

“This is very much about the residents themselves resisting the charges and we are assisting in that,” she said.

So far, all households in one estate in Knocknacarra have indicated they want the meters installed; and on another estate all but three homes have indicated that they do not want meters. Generally, a handful of homes are indicating resistance on each estate, and it varies from estate to estate.

Irish Water will be moving to other parts of the city in the coming months and Right2Water is trying to “stay one step ahead of them”, according to Ms McLoughlin.

The protest involves the householder being on-site, with or without placards, preventing contractors form installing the meters. If the resident is unable to do it or if they need moral support then volunteers from Right2Water Galway will help them. It also involves parking cars over the stopcock so that meters cannot be installed.

Protest are organised on a rota basis outside homes, and volunteers maintain a presence from 7.30am to 7.30pm.

“It is peaceful protest. There have been no confrontations and no stand-offs or anything like that. There have been no arrests and the Gardaí haven’t been called or anything. It is very peaceful,” she said.

She encouraged householders in Knocknacarra who want to resist the installation to text Galway Meter Watch, a dedicated phone-line, for assistance. The Galway Meter Watch number is: (087) 3857649.

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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