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A hero who loved to laugh

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The late Dr. John Waldron: sold Faugheen as a foal for a modest enough amount, but that never bothered him. He is pictured here with the Champion Hurdle winner’s dam, Miss Pickering. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The medical and equine fraternities across the region are in mourning this week with the passing of Tuam man, Dr. John Waldron, following a road traffic accident in Tipperary last weekend.

Dr. Waldron, who was in his early 70s, died after his car was in collision with another vehicle at Borrisokane, on Sunday evening last shortly after 5pm as he was on his way home from a point-to-point race meeting in Ballingarry.

Tributes have poured in for the Tuam doctor who was the breeder of the 2015 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner, Faugheen – Dr. Waldron was due to see a half-brother of his famous horse run in Listowel on Monday evening last.

Although officially retired as a GP, he continued to provide his services at point-to-point meetings around the country through the course of the season, as he actively pursued his avid interest in horseracing.

Dr. Waldron though will be remembered as one of the key men in the early days of the Galway Family Planning Clinic at Raleigh Row in Galway city, where he worked voluntarily for a number of years as a doctor and specialist medical adviser.

Founder member and first Director of the Galway Family Planning Clinic, Dorothy Melvin, described Dr. Waldron as one of the ‘coolest, most able and reassuring’ medical practitioners that she had ever met.

“We were in a difficult situation legally and in very different times when we set up the Family Planning Clinic back in 1977, but in those early years, John Waldron was our star.

“He gave selflessly of his time and he was really kind and reassuring to an awful lot of people. John was so comforting and so positive – he never saw problems just solutions,” Dorothy Melvin said.

She added that a hallmark of his work was that he never discriminated against anyone and saw the virtue of dealing, and treating, people ‘as they were’.

“All of us who knew him from that time are very upset at his untimely passing. In those years, he was such a hero to us all and he had a deadly sense of humour. He was just a ‘cool dude’ in every sense of the word,” said Dorothy Melvin.

His lifelong friend and racing colleague, former TD and Minister of State, Mark Killilea, said that he had rarely ever witnessed such a sense of mourning around the town of Tuam than when the news of John Waldron’s death broke on Sunday night last.

“We mustn’t forget, that first and foremost he was a magnificent doctor, and he was a great man for the poor people.

“But he was an absolute gentleman to know, and since his retirement, he just threw himself into the world of horses.

“He just loved horses and we had our plans made to travel to Listowel on Monday last to see a half-brother of Faugheen [Telmadela] run in the last race,” said Mark Killilea.

Back the years, John Waldron was Master of the North Galway Hunt and in more recent times was President of the Tuam Bridge Club, a game he also loved.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Work/live units form part of new Galway City affordable housing project

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Five ‘live/work’ units form part of the design of a new affordable and social housing development planned for Ballybane.

The mixed development unanimously approved by city councillors this week will provide 103 apartments and houses in the Coillte Mhuirlinne estate.

A total of 85 homes will be affordable, although the details of how much they will cost to purchase have yet to be decided. The remaining 20%, or 18 units, will be social housing. Some €4.6 million in Government funding has already been approved for the social housing aspect of the plan.

Included in the design of the housing development is a ‘live/work’ element.

The Council’s Acting Director of Services for Housing, Tom Prendergast, explained that the ground floor of the five live/work three-storey units would contain an office, retail or commercial unit for service providers with three-bedroom maisonettes over the next two floors.

“It would be envisioned that these five units would be small-scale businesses run by the occupants living above.

“There would be little passing trade for any commerciality of these units so we would envisage small local services similar to a hairdresser, accountant, physiotherapist would occupy these units as an extension of ‘working from home’,” the report to city councillors said.

Mr Prendergast said the concept was similar to people living over their shops in towns and city centres. A crèche will also be built close to the commercial units.

Mayor of Galway, Colette Connolly, said she hoped lessons were learned from the previous commercial property development in Ballybane where units “were empty for 15 years” and some public bodies could not afford the rents.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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