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Taoiseach ‘shocked’ by impact of city bypass plan



The Minister for Transport and the Taoiseach appeared “shocked” that the proposed city bypass was positioned so near the centre and was destroying so many high-calibre homes.

That was the assessment of the residents who met with Minister Pascal Donohoe on Wednesday and after an impromptu meeting with Enda Kenny in the corridors of Leinster House en route.

Spokesman for the Galway N6 Action Group who attended said while they got no commitment from anybody about the road, the four members left upbeat that they had laid out the full picture for both the Minister and the Taoiseach.

“We had a presentation and we had the pictures of houses for demolition. The Minister was quite shocked at the scale and the quality of the properties involved,” recalled Newcastle resident Colman Collins.

“We told him we couldn’t get answers why the old outer bypass was dropped and why we were getting an inner bypass instead of an outer bypass. We spoke about how after 31 years every bus still goes into Eyre Square rather than over the Quinncentenary Bridge.

“We explained that we had to go to Brussels to hear that the outer bypass could still be put back on the table when we were told it couldn’t. He didn’t make any commitments, but he said he would ask questions of Galway County Council and [consultants] Arup about the whole process. His attention never wavered for the entire 40 minutes.”

On bumping into Mr Kenny, he enquired if the delegation were up to talk about the outer bypass, to which they retorted that it was an inner bypass and not an outer road.

“He was shocked by the proximity of the road to the city centre,” recalled Colman.

The Taoiseach remarked that whatever solution was found should be infrastructure to facilitate the future development for the city for the next 50 years.

The reaction of both politicians has buoyed the resolve of the campaigners, who have vowed to oppose the preferred route option even though it was destroying 41 houses instead of 141 properties which some of the six routes had threatened to do at an earlier stage.

“My sense is this deal is not done yet. I’d say to people: do not despair. This emerging route does not have to become ‘the’ route. Lobby your councillors, TDs. Give us pictures of your properties and join us. Do not lie down under this. This is not the best solution – the outer bypass and alternative public transport solutions are.”

The “emerging preferred route corridor” involves a new bridge and viaduct over the river Corrib, two short tunnels at Ballybrit and Coolagh on the Headford road, with the demolition of 41 houses and a further 10 more “seriously affected”.

Fine Gael Deputy Brian Walsh, who organised the meeting, said while he fully supports building a bypass, he still had concerns this preferred route would fall again on environmental grounds as it impacted on the protected limestone pavement.

“I think it’s a much better option than the others put on the table before but I haven’t yet been convinced that the limestone paving issues has been alleviated. I’ll await the final design to see if it’s going to be a water-tight application or will be exposed to years of legal challenges.

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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