Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley
Noel Grealish popped into Tom Nally’s city centre barbers for the obligatory election campaign haircut photo opportunity.
The balding Independent TD, who in fairness hasn’t many hairs left to cut, joked how Tom had given him his first Number One of the campaign – a reference to the closeness of the electric razor blade.
Afterwards, Grealish went bald-headed on the offensive, attacking Sinn Féin rival Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
As political spats go, it was quite entertaining.
It all started innocently enough but then escalated into a full blown row between the Shinners and the Grealish camp.
A former Progressive Democrats leader and TD, Grealish uploaded on Facebook a photograph of himself and a few canvassers, including several Independent councillors: Terry O’Flaherty, Donal Lyons, Declan McDonnell, Jim Cuddy and Thomas Welby.
Trevor posted a comment about how the PDs were “alive and kicking” in Galway West.
And then Noel blew a gasket. “What about Slab Murphy, he’s still around . . . Who calls all the shots for Sinn Féin,” he asked.
Trevor said the Árd Comhairle of the party did and he was proud to be a Shinner.
That riled Noel even more. “Sinn Féin/IRA made life pure hell for a lot of people and still do.” In this the 100th anniversary of 1916, he said, “there is absolutely no comparison between the people who fought to give us our freedom and the thugs in the IRA now”.
Trevor said this was “nonsense” and “bluster” and that Noel and the PDs had more in common with William Martin Murphy (MP and press baron), than the signatories of the Proclamation.
Welby reminded Trevor of his Labour past and how he was a “failed” candidate for the party in 2002. Trevor suggested the PDs were a failure and that Noel and Welby’s “Thatcherite” policies were failed too. The online argument flared for hours, with dozens and dozens of replies and insults flying.
Even barber Tom Nally, a Gaelic football referee, would struggle to bring calm to this schemozzle.
Catherine’s cousins the early Risers
There’s a lot of talk these days about the Easter Rising, with all political parties trying to lay claim to the revolutionaries of 1916.
But they’re relative newbies to this Rising malarkey. Not Catherine Connolly, though.
We hear her ancestors were rising-up long before the revolutionaries of 100 years ago.
At the launch of the Independent city councillor’s General Election campaign, Seósamh Ó Cuaig, the Connemara county councillor, told a yarn about her forefathers’ link to the 1798 Rebellion.
“She’s one of our own,” declared Seósamh about Connolly, whose ancestors ‘hid’ in the wilds of Connemara one of the leaders of the 1798 Rebellion.
Ó Cuaig has traced Connolly’s roots to a man called McDonagh who helped Fr Myles Prendergast, a leader of the Rising, who went ‘on the run’ to Connemara to seek refuge from the Yeomen.
This was in the days when Humanity Dick “owned” Connemara.
A publican was about to divulge Fr Myles whereabouts, but he was sheltered by McDonagh, from Carna, who is on Connolly’s family tree.
The Connemara blood at least explains her fiery streak.
For more, read this week’s Galway City 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 www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.
Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races
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.
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.”