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Stray dogs kept in vet’s as dog pound closes



Stray dogs in the city are being temporarily housed in a veterinary clinic.

The city dog pound in Ballybane is closed to the public until the end of November while the facility gets a €125,000 makeover.

Local dog charity MADRA (Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue & Adoption) had offered to provide a short-term pound while the work was in train, but both sides could not reach an agreement over the fee.

MADRA had offered to collect all strays rounded up by the warden, set aside four kennels and care for them for five days at a cost of €500 per week, said spokesperson Eileen Keleghan. After that period, they would transfer the animals to their shelter in Camus and seek new owners.  She said the Council did not return calls about the proposal or attempt to negotiate. They instead set up the interim facility at a veterinary clinic.

The charity has now offered to take the dogs after they have spent five days in the interim Council facility, while a decision is made by the city’s Corporate Policy Group about whether to give the charity €10,000 in a long-term arrangement to reduce the euthanasia rate in the pound.

MADRA said in a statement that it should not be expected to provide a pound facility using its charity funds when taxpayers’ funds and dog licences went to provide the service.

“The adequate care of dogs during the renovation work should have been factored into the budget, and seen as a primary concern. This would then have made the transition from pound to rescue a seamless one,” the statement said.

“Our financial resources will be stretched even further by taking in these additional dogs, and as a result we will be forced to launch a separate fundraising drive to ensure that no dogs die while the pound is being upgraded.

“We are saddened that we have to ask people of Galway to fund this when we are already relying on their support to meet our existing running costs.”

A spokesman for Galway City Council said discussions with alternative service providers to step into the breach are ongoing until the pound reopens on November 23.

“We haven’t concluded those as yet. The arrangement is a little bit interim, but we are addressing the situation. But to reiterate, the dog warden service provided by Galway City Council continues as normal and arrangements are in place for the storage of stray dogs who are receiving veterinary services as required, as usual.”

MADRA – which runs a dog shelter in Camus at a cost of €160,000 per annum – had been taking dogs from the Galway City pound for four years to be re-housed. But the service was suspended last November when kennels became full.

The €10,000 Council grant proposed by MADRA would have subsidised the service for six months and go towards renting additional kennels to care for more dogs.

A report prepared by the City Council Environment Section last July said the number of dogs released to Madra from the pound had been based on “MADRA’s selection and random visits to the city pound”.

“MADRA have also advised that their facility is at capacity and hence directing dogs from Galway City Pound would not address this issue and would raise concerns for the welfare of the dogs in MADRA’s care. Furthermore, the new extension at Galway City Dog Pound will allow for greater duration of storage of dogs in a safe environment.”

The report urged the councillors to explore the re-homing of dogs from the pound through MADRA and “rather than a lump sum payment for this service, an incentivised re-homing policy should be examined that would link any payment to MADRA and the re-homing of any dog from the City Pound and thus reduce the Galway City euthanasia rate”

In its presentation to the Council last May, MADRA said the city pound killed 78 dogs or 47% of strays in 2013 – four times the rate of the county and neighbouring Co Mayo.

That compared to 35 in the county, which was a rate of 11% while in Mayo, 12 dogs were euthanised in 2013, which was a 13% rate. The Council’s 2014 figures show 104 dogs were put to sleep.

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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