Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Trump triggers fear for jobs in Galway-based US firms



The tremors from the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America could shake Ireland with a double whammy, a Chicago-based Galway senator has warned.

Senator Billy Lawless described Trump’s victory as “scary”, and has sparked fears of a repatriation of Irish based US multi-national companies, from Ireland back to America.

Trump’s triumph also raises the ugly spectre of Irish undocumented in the US moving in the opposite direction – the billionaire businessman has threatened mass deportation of illegal immigrants.

“Everyone is just shocked. Nobody expected it. They are stunned,” said Senator Lawless speaking from Chicago in the immediate aftermath of the poll.

“It’s scary but that’s the result and we have to deal with it,” added Senator Lawless, a supporter of the defeated Democrat candidate, Hilary Clinton.

The Galway native said he spoke to Minister for Diaspora, Joe McHugh, on Wednesday as Dublin ponders what strategy it will take with the new administration in Washington.

As Vice-President of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, an umbrella organisation that represents 130 immigrant groups, senator Lawless described the rhetoric from the now Republican President Elect as “unbelievable”.

Mr Lawless, An Taoiseach’s nominee to Seanad Éireann, has campaigned for years for immigration reform and has championed the cause of undocumented in the US.

The Chicago-based restaurateur is a friend of President Barack Obama, and some progress was made in the area of immigration rights during his two-terms in Washington. But there are fears Trump could reverse any progress, and clamp down on the undocumented.

Senator Lawless said people were “very scared” of the policy platform put forward by Trump during the race for the White House.

Trump has spoken disparagingly of immigrants, with sweeping racist statements about being rapists and criminals. He also threatened to build a wall between the US and Mexico if elected.

“He is talking about getting rid of eleven million undocumented. That is impossible,” said Senator Lawless.

He added: “He’s talked about building a wall on the Mexican border. He was still talking about building a wall even yesterday. A Republican Congressman was on the radio here yesterday insisting the wall was his priority. It’s scary but that’s the result and we have to deal.

“It’s a new scenario, that’s for sure. Sanity will have to prevail on this. The reality is that America has a demand for immigrant workers. America was built on immigration. That’s what the Irish did – they went over and did the menial jobs and got money and educated themselves and worked their way up. It’s a changed political landscape but you can’t deport all the people he says he will deport.

“There are eleven million undocumented. What level of deportation will there be? Will he start with hardened criminals? Obama, in his eight years, deported two million people. A lot of people don’t know that. How many will Trump deport? I have to meet now with Hispanic immigrant organisations to see where we go from here. But yes, it is a worry for the undocumented here.”

Aside from immigration, Trump’s economic platform could hit the West of Ireland hard, including in Galway where thousands of people are employed in US multinational companies, the engine of the local economy.

Senator Lawless said: “Trump is talking about recalling all American companies from tax havens. That would include Ireland, even though he hasn’t mentioned Ireland specifically. He’s talked about bringing jobs home, and jobs for Americans.

“He’s talking about increased tariffs on imports, even though we’ve worked for over 20 years to open up free trade. He’s talking about getting rid of the J1 visa for Irish students wishing to spend the Summer in the US.

“He’s going to repeal Obamacare (system of public health care), and replace it with his own system. That’s regressive. Will he be more pragmatic than he has been on the campaign stump? He has to be. He can’t do all the things he’s said he will do.”

Galway’s top thirteen companies export goods to the tune of €23 billion annually, and many of them are American.

In a statement, American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland chief executive Mark Redmond said US investment in Ireland amounts to $343bn and directly supports 140,000 jobs here. And he pointed out that Irish companies directly employ roughly the same number, in US.

Mr Redmond added: “The US and the EU are the world’s largest trading partners. The American Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring that Ireland remains a key gateway to Europe and the global location of choice for US investment.

“The key attractions of Ireland as an investment destination – our talented workforce, our competitiveness and the certainty of our legislative framework are the reasons why US business investment has been so successful here over many decades”.

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading


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.”

Continue Reading