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€500,000 ‘ringfenced’ for pitch spent on road works



Date Published: 28-May-2012


A GAA club in the Westside has fallen victim to the massive overspend on the Seamus Quirke Road project – it has emerged that €500,000 ‘ringfenced’ for a new pitch to be delivered was instead spent on the road.

St Michael’s GAA Club has already lost around one-fifth of its underage players and its entire ladies’ team because they have to find other pitches on which to play.

The club now has to rely on the local authority being able to find funding within its own constrained coffers – it has been branded “another City Council fiasco” by one local councillor.

The claims have been rejected by a Council official, who said the club were under a “misapprehension” about what the money was to be used for.

The club lost 3.5 metres of its pitch under the Seamus Quirke Road widening plan, but was promised a new regulation size pitch, along with a new soccer pitch and running track.

At a meeting in City Hall last week, it emerged that the €500,000 – which the club argues was secured in 2010 for the development of the new pitch – had been spent on the road.

Ollie Hester, Chairman of St Michael’s Football Club, told the Sentinel: “€500,000 was allocated for the provision of a new running track, football pitch and soccer pitch. Because some of the existing pitch was used for the road, we don’t have a regulation-sized pitch.

“Our senior games are away or in Pearse Stadium, our ladies club has moved to Spiddal and the underage games are played in South Park or St Mary’s. We thought we’d be back on a pitch of our own this year. All we want is a full-sized pitch,” said Mr Hester.

Local area councillor Padraig Conneely, who is also the Chair of the Recreation and Amenity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) said: “This is a major setback for the clubs that use the pitch. There are already changing rooms and a clubhouse there. St Michael’s are the hardest hit by the massive overspend and months and months of delays on Seamus Quirke Road. It’s yet another City Council fiasco.”

However, Ciarán Hayes Director of Services for Transportation, Infrastructure, Recreation and Amenity with the City Council denied the €500,000 had been specifically allocated for the construction of the new sports facilities.

“The money was spent as part of the Seamus Quirke Road project and the excavation work on the pitch. They [St Michael’s] may have been under the misapprehension that it was for the pitch itself. There were some monies available, but certain costs were incurred on the pitch itself and in that entire area [during road construction].

“We are currently preparing tender documents for the redevelopment of these areas, but funding is scarce as everybody knows. Any funding will be from our own resources. We have to go through the tender process to determine the costs involved,” Mr Hayes told the Sentinel.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel


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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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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