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€180,000 the spend by city candidates in election bid



Date Published: 18-Sep-2009

Candidates in June’s local election spent almost €180,000 to convince the electorate in Galway city to vote them into City Hall.
The bulk of the spending – mostly for posters, advertising and election leaflets – was paid from the candidates’ own personal resources and through fundraising although in one instance a Government Minister is listed as a donor to one candidate’s campaign.
Candidates’ statements of donations and election expenses for the 2009 Local Elections reveal that the 35 hopefuls spent around €178,000 on their campaigns and the average spend of each candidate in the election was around €5,200.
Although all candidates are obliged by law to furnish information about donations and expenses, one candidate, non-party Thomas King, did not make any statement to Galway City Council and the local authority may instigate legal proceedings to compel the candidate to furnish the information.
The figures reveal that Fianna Fáil newcomer and solicitor Peter Keane, who is now Deputy Mayor of Galway City, spent €10,239.56 on his campaign – the most expense incurred by any city candidate.
Unsuccessful Sinn Féin candidate Anna Marley, who contested the Galway City Central Ward, was the most economical, spending €700, the least of all the candidates.
Candidates in Galway City West Ward spent the most (€72,730) on their campaigns, followed closely by Galway City East Ward (€72,534) and then the smaller four-seat constituency of Galway City Central (€32,656).
The Minister for Environment, John Gormley, of Customs House Dublin 1, is listed as a donor to the campaign to elect Green Party Councillor Niall Ó Brolcháin, who narrowly lost his Council seat. Minister Gormley gave Mr Ó Brolcháin a €1,000 cheque.
The other Green Party candidate who was also not successful, Maireád NÍ Chroinín, was not donated any money from the Minister although she did receive €1,325 from the party’s “Head Office”.
Two City Councillors who lost their seat in the last election, did so despite splashing-out on expensive election campaigns – Daniel Callanan (Ind) spent the most (€9,827) of the candidates who failed to get elected, followed by bookmaker, former Fine Gael Councillor and Mayor of Galway, John Mulholland, who spent €9,151 but narrowly lost out on a seat.
The expenses incurred by the other candidates who failed to get elected in the West Ward, which covers Claddagh, Salthill and Knocknacarra were: AJ Cahill (Ind) €2,918.82; Val Hanley (FF) €7,050; Tom Hanly (SF) €1,139.69; Aidan McCabe (Ind) €750. The elected Councillors in this ward were Catherine Connolly (Ind) who spent €4,4679.99, Niall McNelis (Lab) €8,230.50, poll-topper Donal Lyons (Ind) €6,837.43 and Fine Gael newcomer Hildergarde Naughton who spent €4,941.89.
The poll-topper in the Central Ward, Labour’s Billy Cameron spent €5,082 while the candidate he narrowly beat to top the poll, Fine Gael’s Pádraig Conneely spent €4,758.49 on his campaign.
Newcomer Ollie Crowe spent €5,625 which is almost double the amount of the total spend of fellow Fianna Fáil constituency colleague John Connolly, who spent €3,377.25 but lost his seat. Collette Connolly (Lab) spent €3,728.83 on a successful campaign that saw her hold her seat while unsuccessful candidates Mike Cubbard (Ind), Mike Geraghty (Ind) spent €1,630 and €5,154.59 respectively.
Fianna Fáil’s Michael Crowe was the biggest spender in the East ward with €8,631.44 while the other four successful candidates also spent above average including Labour’s Tom Costello €5,204; the current Mayor of Galway City Declan McDonnell €7,731.47; poll-topper Terry O’Flaherty €6,417.88; Fine Gael’s Brian Walsh €6,454.41 and Labour newcomer Derek Nolan €7,949.43.
Outgoing Fianna Fail Councillor Mary Leahy, who lost her seat, spent €7,376.63 while the expenses of other candidates who were unsuccessful include Sinn Féin’s Martin Concannon (€2,221.21), Fine Gael’s Frank Fahy (€6,258.04) and Barra Nevin (€5,820.61), independents James Hope (€2,461.16) and Sheila Mangan (€1,059.66) and Labour’s Nuala Nolan (€6,454.41).
The expenses incurred were for posters, advertising, leaflets, printing, for campaign workers, postage, phone bills, travel costs and other items.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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