Date Published: 13-Dec-2007
Children as young as eight with physical and mental disabilities suffered a litany of physical and sexual abuse at the Brothers of Charity service in Galway city.
The former pupils and residents were victims of abuse at the hands of the very people who were trusted to care for them.
The 200 page report into an inquiry into these allegations at the Brothers of Charity services was published by the HSE on Tuesday.
The report, which has taken almost nine years to complete, outlines the systematic physical and sexual abuse of children aged between 8 and 15 at the Brothers’ residential unit in Woodlands and the Holy Family School in Renmore over a 33 year period.
The abuse came……
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
It’s low key start as Mervue and Salthill resume league fare
Date Published: 07-Mar-2013
AS the footballing world continues to split into opposite camps over the decision to send off Manchester United’s Nani in Tuesday night’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid, the little matter of the start of the 2013 Airtricity League season here at home has slipped even further under the radar than usual.
The Irish domestic league has long played second fiddle to the over-paid and over-hyped stars of the, ahem, ‘world’s greatest league’ in England – a league which will not have a side in the quarter-finals of this year’s premier European competition – while ignoring the entertainment on their own doorstep.
Players such as Roy Keane (Cobh Ramblers), Noel Cantwell (Cork Athletic), Paul McGrath (St Patrick’s Athletic), Kevin Moran (Bohemian FC), Ronnie Whelan (Home Farm), Steve Staunton (Dundalk) and the late Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy (Galway Rovers), and more recently, Kevin Doyle (St Patrick’s Athletic), James McClean (Derry City), Shane Long (Cork City) and our own David Forde (Galway United) all began their professional careers in the League of Ireland.
That’s some starting XI of talent, talent which entertained football fans at the likes of Flower Lodge and Terryland Park, Dalymount Park and Glenmalure Park, Richmond Park and Kilcohan Park. But for many, those names only became familiar once the players moved to the ‘big’ league, not realising what they were missing all along just down the road.
Mind you, the authorities running the game here haven’t exactly helped their own cause either, and that is particularly the case this year, which for the first time since 1975 will see no national domestic football at Eamonn Deacy Park (apart from the 1993 season, when the ground – then known as Terryland Park – was closed for redevelopment work).
The FAI have initiated talks between four stakeholders locally – the Galway FA, the Galway United Supporters’ Trust, Mervue United and Salthill Devon – with the aim of having a single representative Galway side in place for the 2014 season, but progress updates are scarce, with the CEO of the FAI, John Delaney, saying this week that “talks are going well”.
As a result, while Galway will have two clubs – Mervue and Salthill – in the First Division of the Airtricity League this season, the majority of football fans in the city and county continue to feel ‘locked out’ of the domestic league as attempts continue to find agreement on what is, without doubt, most beneficial to the whole football community in Galway.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune
Breath of hope for asthma sufferers
Date Published: 14-Mar-2013
Patrick McKeown can’t be entirely sure, but he thinks he had his mouth taped on his wedding night.
It might sound weird, but for him it was routine. Patrick, who suffered from chronic asthma since he was a four-year-old child, discovered the Buteyko method of breathing in his 20s when he was a Masters student at Trinity College – and it changed his life.
Developed by Russian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko this is a simple practice used all over the world to help those who suffer from asthma and allergies, including sinus and hay fever.
It basically involves breathing only through the nose and decreasing the amount of air entering the body – treatment is based on the idea that people with asthma breathe too much, rather than too little.
Asthma is on the increase in the Western World and Ireland has an extremely high rate of the condition. Around 470,000 people here have asthma, including one in every five children. Generally once diagnosed, people are put on inhalers and remain on some form of medication for life, with steroids and antiobiotics being required at regular intervals when attacks and chest infections occur.
But while some people are genetically disposed to having asthma the condition can be controlled by changing how you breathe, says Patrick.
Over-breathing disturbs the body, which affects the immune system. While people can’t avoid allergens they can address their breathing – and that helps them cope with allergies.
He first began to practise the Buteyko method as a student when his nose was blocked and he hasn’t looked back since. After college he worked in the corporate sector for two or three years before eventually deciding he should bring someone to Ireland to teach other asthmatics about it. The problem was, he knew nobody in Russia.
Undaunted, he rang the Russian embassy in Dublin and a woman there put him in contact with the relevant people.
He started learning through a translator and eventually was taught by Dr Buteyko. Eleven years ago this week Patrick began teaching the Buteyko method, and now teaches it in Ireland and over the Western world – two days after we spoke he was flying to Amsterdam for a conference.
If you watch somebody with asthma while they breathe, they will always breathe more heavily than somebody who hasn’t got the condition, he explains. That’s because asthmatics and people with allergies breathe too much. Because they take in large gulps of air, often through their mouths and using their upper chest rather than their diaphragm, it creates an imbalance in the body between oxygen and carbon dioxide.
We are all taught at school that oxygen is vital for life – but often what we aren’t told is that you need a balance between oxygen and CO2 in order for the body to work efficiently. That’s what Buteyko teaches.
Carbon dioxide is not just a waste gas, explains Patrick. It is vital for transporting oxygen to tissues and organs. It also relaxes and dilates blood vessels and airwaves, which means that the more calmly you breathe, through your nose, the more efficiently they work.
But because so many people with sinus or asthma problems suffer from nasal congestion, mouth breathing becomes the norm. So the first technique Patrick teaches is how to decongest the nose, so that people can make a permanent switch to nasal breathing, therefore reducing the amount of air they take in.
People with sinus and allergies frequently suffer from related symptoms including disrupted sleep, fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression, all of which have a negative impact on their lives.
“Problems with sinus affect sleep patterns,” he says simply – and that is something that anybody with the condition knows too well. However retraining the respiratory centre not to take in so much air can help. Patrick teaches exercises to do that; the problem is that while people are asleep, they revert to breathing through their mouths. That immediately creates an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.