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“A candidate to bate all”………

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Date Published: 16-May-2007

On your side’. ‘The right choice’. ‘The next stepsforward’.

If these slogans sound familiar it’s because they’ve been staring you in the face ever since the elections were announced. Even before Bertie hightailed it to the Aras, great brains at party headquarters and in PR companies were trying to create the slogan that will persuade us
voters to choose their man or woman.

And so, we have been inflicted with a vast riot of pithy sayings that are meant to sum up the greatness of what is on offer.

The only question is, ‘what do they mean?’

When you see FG candidates smiling down at you from a pole with the slogan ‘Fine Gael… on your side’, do you pause to wonder exactly whose side that is.

Could it be those folk who think we pay too much tax? Or those who think we pay too little? Might it be those who feel all criminals should be locked up? Or maybe those who commit crime?

Lordy, it’s hard knowing whose side they are on, given that great catchall phrases that means nothing. Except maybe that FG are spiring to be all things to all people.

A master of that trick is the once Teflon Taoiseach Bertie Ahern whose avuncular image beams down from poles everywhere, accompanied by the strange slogan — ’the next steps forward’.

Now, most ordinary people take the next step forward — singular. But not Bertie. He’s leppin’ to get steppin’. To be fair, he has never shown any great regard for the English language, so why start now?

Galway West FF candidates haven’t opted for individual posters, being happy to go under the banner of ‘Bertie’s Team’ but in the East it’s a
different tale, with Callinan, Kitt and Treacy everywhere. Joe Callinan’s slogan informs us that he is “working for the people, ALL the time’. But, Joe, that’s what people have a right to expect, given your handsome salary.

You’d think that the Greens would eschew wasteful items like posters but they are up there with the rest, telling us that a vote for Niall Ó Brolcháin is ‘the right choice’. Right for who though? The people who
want the Galway Outer Bypass? Maybe not.

Good slogans or bad slogans all require imagination. Labour are sadly lacking in that field, mostly just beseeching us to vote number one for either Michael D. or Colm Keaveney. Let’s hope their policies are not as lacklustre.

Margaret Cox, a born again independent, tells us that there are €3,000 million reasons to vote for her. Assuming that she’s referring to broken government promises, there are those who might raise a cynical
eye. Didn’t she sit in the Seanad for five years without getting too exercised by said broken pledges?

A man who promises us a fresh start is PD East Galway candidate Ciaran Cannon, ‘a new voice, new choice’. Ciaran is assuming that new means better — but others with experience will persuade us that they have most to offer. For instance Galway East Independent Paddy McHugh tells us that’s what’s needed is ‘local vision, national voice’. Him, in fact. According to himself at least..

It’s not easy having to cope with such wisdom. Thankfully our politicians only foist it on us at election time. Thank God it’ll be all over soon and the posters will be taken down, making a ‘a brighter
future for all’ — to coin a phrase!

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

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Archive News

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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