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84-year-old loves to take to the roads for good causes

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A pensioner with a life-long love of the bike has lamented how cycling in the city centre has now become “too dangerous” for him.

Brendan Geoghegan (84), whose passion for the pedals is unrelenting, has tackled many of the country’s road for charity – and even now he shows no signs of slowing down.

But speaking on cycling around Galway, Brendan said, “It’s an awful pity because it is a beautiful city, but you are stopped from accessing it if you are on a bike. It’s all one way streets and can be very dangerous to cycle around especially for someone my age.”

The Mervue native has been participating in long distance cycles for over three decades and his love of cycling has grown since he was first involved in the 206-mile Co-Operation North Maracycle back in 1985.

Brendan has been involved in numerous long distance charity cycles for various organisations including the likes of Croí. His original charity cycle was the North Maracycle, where he often met with an intimidating atmosphere along with the way.

“I saw some report in the paper about it and said to myself, how could anyone cycle over a hundred miles in a day?

“It was a fundraiser to bring the children from the two areas, both Catholic and Protestant together away from the hostile atmosphere up North at the time. Some of them were taking to places across Europe and America,” he said.

“It was tough going. One year, I was stopped on the road at Newry, some incident had happened the night before. I think something had exploded. We are greeted by about 100 soldiers and it was like something out of Vietnam,” he added.

Brendan’s cycling started from a very early age when he left school at the age of 14.

“One of my first jobs was a messenger boy. In my era if the family didn’t have the money you left school. So the school was like an academy for messenger boys. Ten shillings a week, no way was I going to become a millionaire,” he joked.

His first bike cost between £15 and £20 and it’s a long way from the high-spec models that are currently on the market.

His training for years involved a cycle from Clifden and back from his city residence which he and his neighbour used to go on every Sunday.

Brendan has also been heavily involved in attempts to open the unused rail line between the Galway-Clifden as a cycle freeway so people can cycle without danger.

“I pointed out the advantages to people of having tourists using this cycle path as a huge positive to the local area. They would all be looking for food and a place to stay the night, so it would be brilliant for that area of the country in increasing tourism. It would create jobs and provide much needed income to the area,” he explained.

“I was in contact with the decision makers and they eventually got it going. I’m not sure how it’s going at the moment though. However, they have come in some difficult from the land owners who don’t want give up their land,” he added.

Not only is Brendan active in body, he continues to keep his mind active also.

“Your brain is a muscle too so use it. I read a lot and I do crosswords daily and I’m into history. I did a diploma in archaeology in NUIG. I had just finished the course the year before I retired in 1996.

“Sixty-three people did it and we formed a group and we went to different countries abroad look at archaeological sites.

“I remember when I was going to school and there was a map on the wall but of course never in your wildest dreams would you think would you get to see those places. It’s extraordinary,” he stated.

Connacht Tribune

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway-Limerick rail service records busiest year since its launch in 2010

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Ceannt Station

The Galway to Limerick intercity rail service enjoyed its busiest year in 2022 since it was re-opened in 2010 at a cost of €110 million.

Passenger numbers on the Western Rail Corridor grew by 14% last year, compared with the last pre-Covid year of 2019.

Supporters said the growth in usage has ‘defied the naysayers’, who argued against the service reopening over a decade ago – and it has reignited the campaign of those in favour of reopening the line from Athenry to Claremorris.

The National Transport Authority has confirmed to former Gaeltacht Minister, Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív, that usage of the Galway/Limerick line grew last year, compared to 2019, by 14.4%.

This was at a time when railway patronage as a whole dropped by an average of 25% on intercity routes. Usage was also down by 35% on commuter trains and fell by 26% on Dart.

The only other lines showing an increase in passenger numbers last year were the Dublin/Tralee service and the Cork/Middleton service which were up by 1.6% and 1.4% respectively.

In 2019, more than 500,000 passengers used the Galway to Limerick route, according to Irish Rail. Growth of 14% last year indicates that patronage has passed the 600,000 mark for the first time.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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