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Amendments to cycle plan ‘could put funds at risk’

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Date Published: 24-Sep-2012

BY FRANK FARRAGHER

APPROVAL for a new walking and cycling strategy blueprint for the city looks set to drag on after councillors sought to table a number of amendments to the plan last night.

Acting Director of Services, Joe Tansey, warned that the Smarter Travel strategy for walking and cycling, needed to be adopted in order to free up funding for projects into the future – other cities, he said, were already ahead of Galway with their plans.

However, after a two and a half hour debate on the strategy at last evening’s City Council meeting, councillors said that they wanted several amendments to the plan to be taken.

Mr Tansey, however, said that the report had been ‘through the hoops’ over the past two years at different stages and he added that he wouldn’t be in a position to take ‘on the spot’ amendments relating to the strategy at last night’s meeting.

He had told councillors that the Galway City and Environs Walking and Cycling Strategy was not a specific design project, but was a broad policy document outlining a strategy for making Galway a far more user friendly city for pedestrians and cyclists.

Mr Tansey said that in relation to cycling, the aim of the strategy was to encourage all people to ‘get on their bikes’, from children to occasional cyclists, to more dedicated bike enthusiasts, and also to those who might never have cycled before.

He stressed that a fundamental part of the strategy had to be based on safety, as any scheme would have to go through a safety audit.

“What I would stress to councillors is that they do need to adopt this report to access funding. We, like a lot of other cities, are fishing in the same pond for limited resources.

Martin McElligott, Senior Executive Engineer, who presented a summary of the walking and cycling report to the meeting, said that 52% of people travelling to work or education in the city had journeys of less than four kilometres.

He outlined that there were four main cycle-walkways planned for the city area – Barna to Oranmore, the Corrib to the coastline, Ardaun to Knocknacarra and Menlo Castle to the city centre.

However while most councillors supported the overall strategy and principle of the report, several tabled specific amendments to the report.

Joe Tansey told councillors that if some of the amendments were adopted, they could end up having the effect of preventing the City Council from drawing down funding for certain parts of the plan.

Part of the long term plan involves pedestrianisation of Cross Street, Middle Street and Raven’s Terrace, .

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

 

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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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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