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GLUAS team brand councillor’s comments ‘off the rails’

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Sceptical comments made by City Councillor Noel Larkin about the merits of a tram system for Galway have been lashed as ‘off the rails’ by GLUAS backers.

The debate about the need for a light rail system in the city resurfaced last week when Independent public representative said Galway would be transformed into “a giant building site” and would be “crippled” during construction.

Cllr Larkin, a businessman, pointed to problems with delays and cost overruns during the construction of a tram in Edinburgh and claimed the same would happen in Galway.

Tram Power, a UK light rail company that backs the Galway GLUAS, has already refuted Cllr Larkin’s claims and say the project is sustainable, practical, environmentally friendly and has the support of the people of Galway.

Now local campaigner, Brendan Holland, of Holland’s newsagent on Williamsgate Street, this week has come out and issued a staunch defence of light rail.

A former chairman of the GLUAS project, Mr Holland said he took issue with Cllr Larkin’s remark that it would be “utterly stupid”.

“To defend this remark he made only two points about the delay and overspend in the Edinburgh Tram project,” said Mr Holland.

“But delays and overspends have nothing to do with the final projects and the benefits of light rail. This is a function of the overseer. It was proposed that the GLUAS would be funded by private funding and this type of funding tends not to have a habit of being over budget or over time.

“Public projects generally seem to suffer from this and one does not have to look too far away from the city centre in the past for proof of this. Surely this is a not a reason not to build a public transport system, surely one learns from the past and not fall into the same trap.”

Mr Holland said you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs and that spurious arguments about cost overruns and delays were made about the LUAS in Dublin.

“However when the dust settled, I have yet to hear someone, anyone say ‘take up that bloody LUAS it’s useless’. All the properties, businesses, residents and the entire city have benefited from being on the line and the LUAS has now become the symbol of Dublin,” he said.

Mr Holland said Cllr Larkin didn’t look at the positive experiences of light rail, such as Besancon in the South of France. “Instead he chose to focus on the negative,” he said.

The newsagent added: “Councillor Larkin’s answer to the traffic problem is the N6 Galway City Transport Proposed Road (bypass). Once again the GLUAS was never about if we build a ring road around Galway or not. The GLUAS project was about moving people around the city in a fast comfortable manner which is an alternative to and as good as your own car.

“He is a member of City Hall’s transportation strategic policy committee. I would like to hear what his transport solutions are because I am getting a bit long in the tooth waiting for solutions that are no nearer now than they were when we made our proposals for GLUAS.

“If he is worried about the disruption to business while building light rail, maybe it he might start worrying about the damage to businesses while we sit waiting for something to be done.”

Connacht Tribune

US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots

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Galway roots...Pat Connaughton.

An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.

The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.

Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”

One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.

“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.

“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”

Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.

Read 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

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Connacht Tribune

Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists

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Ireland rowers (from left) Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Eimear Lambe from Dublin, Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen and Emily Hegarty from Cork celebrate on the podium with their Olympic bronze medals after the Women's Four final at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’

At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.

It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.

Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.

As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.

It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.

Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.

Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie   

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Connacht Tribune

Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star

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Cillín Greene's parents Sinead and Cole and sisters Iarlaith (left) and Miriam above the Olympic flag on the Nine Arches in Claregalway. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.

On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.

He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.

Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.

“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.

“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.

Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.

But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.

The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.

See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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