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Top marks for Galway in IBAL Litter League but Docks is described as ‘neglected’



Lios an Uisce, Renmore: praised in report. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway has regained its status as a ‘clean’ city in the latest survey of littering in towns and cities across Ireland.

Waterside walks were singled out for praise by judges in the Irish Business Against Litter league tables for 2015.

While some areas were even praised as being in ‘excellent’ condition, the Docks area was described as ‘neglected’ and littered with food wrappings.

And problems with dog fouling were again found to be a problem on Salthill Promenade.

Three months ago, environmental group An Taisce – which carried out the survey for IBAL – stripped Galway of its ‘Clean to European norms’ status and branded it ‘moderately littered’.

Of 40 towns and cities surveyed across Ireland, Galway City has been placed in 25th place – that’s up from 33rd in a survey last September, which found the canal walk beside the Cathedral in a “shocking” condition and “utterly destroyed” with litter.

This time around, the report recorded a significant improvement in some parts of the city.

“There was a noticeable improvement in some of the Galway City sites e.g. Spanish Arch, Canal Lock below Wolfe Tone Bridge and Eglinton Canal Walk – the latter is well on its way to the top litter grade, but not quite there yet.

“Some of the top ranking sites in Galway City included the residential area of Lios an Uisce (Renmore) which was very well-presented and maintained.

“The grounds of Bon Secours Hospital were in excellent order.  Renmore Sports and Leisure Park is a wonderful open green space and was very well-maintained. Renmore Garrison Church and Memorial were both pristine,” the survey found.

A total of 25 sites were surveyed here – 17 received ‘Grade A’ (clean to European norms and virtual absence of litter); six received a ‘B’ (moderately littered, scattered small amounts of litter) and two received a ‘C’ (serious litter problem, accumulations of litter. None received a litter blackspot ‘Grade D’. The problem of dog fouling on Salthill Promenade has again been identified as an issue, despite the Council’s warning notices and audio warnings.

This was a turnaround on the previous survey last year which found the Prom “was excellent and managed to get the top litter grade, despite high levels of activity – dog fouling was not an issue and has clearly been addressed”.

The recycling facility at Toft Park in Salthill was given a ‘Grade C’, because of an accumulation of litter.

IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan said that across the country, recycling facilities – the responsibility of the local councils – and disused or abandoned sites were the sites most prone to litter, with two thirds found to be littered or worse, followed by promenades and river walks.

“As the economy recovers, there are signs that the number of vacant or disused sites is declining, which augurs well for a clean environment.

“In other instances we have seen abandoned sites being put to novel uses, such as inner city gardens. We would like to see more of this, as the benefit it brings to the community can go well beyond cleanliness,” he said.

Eleven locations in Ireland were declared ‘cleaner than European norms’ – Longford, Dun Laoghaire, Kilkenny, Dungarvan, Drogheda, Killarney, Roscommon, Waterford City, Carlow, Swords and Wexford.

Farranree in Cork City was described as ‘seriously littered’ and North Inner City Dublin was ‘littered’.

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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