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Anger and heartbreak as crash victims laid to rest



Date Published: 26-Nov-2009

The parish priest of one of the four young students killed in a tragic road accident in North Galway last week has blamed the National Roads Authority for the accident, accusing the agency of ignoring their ‘duty of care’.

Fr. Micheal O Braonain, parish priest in Leitir Mor said the four killed would still be alive is the NRA had been doing their duty and making roads safe.

He made the comments during the funeral of 19 year-old Leitir Mor native Teresa Molloy on Saturday, who lost her life along with three others near Milltown on Wednesday of last week.

During the Mass, Fr O Braonain said: “I’ve no doubt in my mind if that 8km stretch of road between Ballindine and Tuam was of a standard in keeping with the rest of the roadway from Charlestown to Galway, we would not be grieving the loss of four very special young women this day.

Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, Fr O Braonain said: “The NRA have a duty of care. This is a noted accident blackspot. They have a duty of care to ensure that our roads are safe. If that stretch was up to the standard of the rest of the road, I have no doubt those girls would have be safe, they’d be at home.

“To urge them (the NRA) to do something about that stretch or to appeal to them would almost give them an authority they don’t have. They have a duty of care to ensure that roads are safe.

“I’m trying to make the case that these girls are legally just beyond the age of childhood. Child protection laws say that we need to create a safe environment for children. That environment (the accident blackspot) is not a safe environment,” said Fr. Ó Braonain.

He also praised Teresa for her involvement in fundraising for Third World countries each year, and said she was very active within Leitir Mor GAA club.

Teresa lost her life along with her college friends Sarah Byrne (20) from Headford, Marie NÍ Chongaile from Baile na hAbhann and Sorcha Rose McLoughlin (19) from Mulgannon, Co. Wexford. They were all Arts students at NUI Galway.

The accident occurred at around 7.30pm last Wednesday when their Peugeot 206 collided with a pick-up truck.

A fifth female involved in that accident, 21 year-old Michelle O’Donnell from Inis Mor, is still in a critical condition in Beaumont Hospital.

Fr James O’Grady, parish priest of St Mary’s Church in Headford described Sarah Byrne as a lovely girl with her full life ahead of her at her funeral Mass on Saturday.

Hundreds of mourners also packed Cill Treasa Church in Ros a’Mhil on Saturday for the Mass of Marie NÍ Chongaile, while Naomh Anna GAA club in Leitir Mor formed a guard of honour.

There was also a large gathering of mourners gathered at Clonard Church in Wexford for the funeral of Sorcha Rose McLoughlin.

Also on Satuday, the funeral took place of 58 year-old Sally O’Brien, a grandmother who died in a separate road crash on Tuesday of last week in Williamstown.

Meanwhile, the 15 year-old boy who lost his life when the car in which left the road at Leitir Mor on Sunday night has been named locally as Michael Joyce from Lettermullen. He was a passenger in the car when it left the road and overturned at around 10.30pm. The driver was taken to university hospital Galway with minor injuries.

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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