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6,000 take part in city protest

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Date Published: 10-Nov-2009

REPRESENTATIVES from the public and private sectors, as well as the unemployed, were united in the city on Friday when between 5,000 and 6,000 people took part in the national public protest at wage cuts and proposed budgetary cuts.

The Get Up, Stand Up march was hosted by the Galway Council of Trade Unions for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which organised the one day protest.

There was a good mix of the public and private sectors at the march, which gathered at Galway Cathedral and ended up at the Spanish Arch, where a rally was held.

Pat Keane, Chairman of the Galway Council of Trade Unions, acted as Master of Ceremonies on the podium and thanked everyone for taking part in the first of a series of protests to be held at various centres over the next few weeks – the next one is scheduled for November 24 but that one is specifically a public sector strike.

Brendan Cunningham, Sectoral Organiser for SIPTU, mirrored what marchers were chanting when he said that workers were angry at the Government for “getting us into this mess” but angrier still that they didn’t appear to be proactive on protecting people’s jobs and homes.

“We need to stop the recession turning into depression. We have had enough. The message has to get through that the low to mid income families are carrying the burden but it should be borne by those who can afford it.

“There should be a job restoration and creation policy with nearly half a million people on the Live Register but instead we are facing another €4 billion cut from public services in the next Budget.”

John Carty, the Divisional Organiser for Impact, said that there was an agenda to “divide and conquer” as there were efforts to put a divide between public and private sector workers, between men and women, between white and blue collar workers and between Irish and foreign workers.

“But we will not be fragmented in Galway. The Government can take our answer to the banks. We have a struggle ahead but we will be resisting unilateral wage cuts imposed by companies as scare tactics and opportunism,” he added.

Ann Fergus, Chair of the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed, said the centre, based in Nun’s Island had been there for 20 years but that sadly it looked like it would be there for another 20. She said the proposed cuts were attacking unemployed families and that instead of cuts, they should be getting support.

Ann Irwin of the Community Workers’ co-operative also addressed the crowd warning that their work with the disabled, the Travellers, women and communities that didn’t benefit from the Celtic Tiger also had to be protected.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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