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Connacht Tribune

Community leaders campaign to attract jobs

Declan Tierney



Around 60 acres of IDA-owned land in north and east Galway remains unoccupied by any major employer – even though they in the heartland of regions ‘crying out’ for jobs.

That’s according to local TD Eugene Murphy, who revealed that the most significant pockets of IDA lands are located in Tuam and Ballinasloe – leading to his call for a more concerted effort to attract a major employer to either town.

The Roscommon-Galway TD described this as ‘the most neglected area of the country’ when it comes to job creation.

The Fianna Fáil Deputy said that the Government continually referred to reduced unemployment – but he maintained that this is down to either part-time positions or jobs in Dublin.

There are 20 acres of IDA-owned lands lying idle in Ballinasloe, around 30 acres in Tuam along with eight and a half in Ballygar while there are much smaller pockets in Mountbellew and Glenamaddy

However, Ballinasloe has become pro-active on the jobs front and Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD) successfully applied for the provision of an advance technology building on IDA-owned lands in Creagh.

And Chairman Seamus Duffy told the Connacht Tribune that they have applied for funding from the Urban Rural Regeneration Fund to actually construct the building.

He expressed the hope that there would be news on this front over the coming weeks and that BACD would also provide funding for its construction.

Mr Duffy described it as ‘a shovel-ready project’ and if it was built, they would then be asking the IDA to market the property with a view to getting a manufacturing industry in there – possibly in the area of medicare.

“If we get up and running, then there is huge potential for Ballinasloe. With the motorway we are easily accessible to Athlone and Galway city and are a viable alternative to any investor.

“There is a lot of support for this in the town and we are ready to roll once Minister Ring’s office provide us with the necessary to construct the technology building that is required to bring essential jobs to Ballinasloe,” Mr Duffy added.

Even their securing of planning permission for an advance technology building has already resulted in expressions of interest from potential employers to the town.

And it will be something of ‘a three-pronged approach’ as now both BACD, the IDA and, they hope, a potential investor will be involved in the process of getting the new building constructed.

“I can confirm that we have been in active discussion with various arms of the IDA and the fact that we have secured planning permission for a new technology building has certainly been to our advantage. But now we need to take it a step further,” Mr Duffy added.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell



Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell



Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara



Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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