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Woman’s plea to Council after three years confined to hospital bed



A young Galway woman who has been forced to live in hospital for over three years has repeated her plea to the City Council to help her move back home.

Thirty four year old Maggie McGinley from Knocknacarra has been living in hospital since April 21 2012 when she was admitted following advice from her GP.

And Maggie is not allowed move home until Galway City Council completes an essential extension on her house in Knocknacarra.

“There was meant to be an engineer calling out to see if the house is suitable for extending. Since 2009 they haven’t even gotten that far.

“My illness is up and down but in general could be managed at home on IV antibiotics with weekly visits to hospital,” she says.

In 2009, paramedics arrived at her home but were unable to get her on a stretcher as there was insufficient space to do so.

Born healthy and able bodied, Maggie then developed transverse myelitis when she was five years old – a viral infection in her spinal cord leaving her paralysed.

She then developed osteomyelitis in her twenties, a bone infection that led to her needing three amputations.

“Living in hospital is hard. It’s not a life I planned, nor is it easy. I’m lucky with my mother and those I’ve around me.

“I’ve a few close to me who help me day-to-day with staying here and keeping me happy.

“I have a couple days off, especially Christmas and other occasions. I’ve tried my whole life not to let my disability define me but, now I’m here, I’ve no way of stopping that,” she says.

Her situation has only gotten worse since 2009 and in April 2012 she was forced to stay in hospital permanently due to the spread of the infection to her pelvis.

“I just don’t understand how it’s taking so long. We’ve met with the council representatives numerous times and they promise they’ll send someone out but to date we’re still waiting.”

“I’m hoping this week someone will be out.

“I just wish they’d tell us either way so we could know what’s going on.

“Noel Grealish has been the only help to us; he’s tried everything to help us.”

During the 2009 incident, Maggie had no option but to get on her wheelchair and go out into the hall where she then got on the stretcher with an oxygen mask on.

According to her doctor, clots in her lungs could have been dislodged by moving in such a manner, prompting the need for an extension.

“It’s hard as I’m only 34 and I’m living in a hospital.

“I’m lucky with the ward and staff. I’ve been in the same room since 2012.”

Originally, Maggie was offered residential care in a nursing home along with people of various disabilities, mainly intellectual ones.

“Honestly when they mentioned a home I was so upset and mad all at once. To think that that was their solution for me after all I’d accomplished in spite of my illness and ongoing disability.

“The thought of ongoing institutional care was scary and I walked out of the meeting in floods of tears. I can’t remember crying like that in front of strangers before.

“Their solution to hide me away when I don’t need that care which is invaluable to others made me feel like I wasn’t cared for by them,” she says.

“Obviously if I had suitable accommodation we could organise discharge.

“There would be a lot to sort out as I’ve been here and undergone a lot of treatment and this isn’t going to stop as IV antibiotics are a lifelong treatment for the bone infection I have.

“My strain of infection is unusual as it hadn’t responded to the usual course of treatment, so planning discharge would be lengthy,” she adds.

The NUI Galway graduate has two Masters Degrees in Public Advocacy and Activism and Community development.

She completed her thesis from her hospital bed, using the hotspot on her phone and typing on her iPad.

On her future, Maggie now hopes to live as normal as she can, with the hope of obtaining a PhD and or perhaps a TEFL course.

“I’ve completed two masters already, both in hospital over the last few admissions.

“I’ve had friends who loved TEFL but ideally I’d love to go back to university.

“I’d love to do some course if I could, like a PhD or something to help me put my mind to something more positive.”

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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