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Connacht Tribune

Art has its special place in every era

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Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Magic moments don’t come often in life, so when the memory of one rises, I indulge myself in the glory of it. I was reading about how the students of Manchester University chose to remove Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ from their Student Union walls.
The university’s Liberation and Access Officer, Sara Khan, said: “We believe that Kipling stands for the opposite of liberation, empowerment and human rights…”
My eyes blurred over the print, my mind filling with memories from 2006.
I was in the front passenger seat of a Foróige minibus, looking back at my squad of ten teenage Traveller boys. We were about to participate in the World Cup Five-A-Side competition.
Sixteen youth squads from projects around the country were heading for Drom’s fantastic facilities, each representing a World Cup nation.
We were Portugal, and weeks before we’d managed to source the Portuguese national strip for the lads. They were thrilled to see the famous burgundy shirts.
“Can we wear them tonight, Charlie? Can we wear them now? Go on Charlie? Can we? I’m putting mine on any feckin’ way.”
“Oi. Leave those shirts alone. You’ll be playing three games on the day, ‘cos it’s a group stage, so those strips have to last and look good ’til at least the third game.”
“Til the feckin’ final!”
“Yes, Thomas, we’ll see. First though we need to train. Right, heads up lads, look forward. After me: We are Portugal. We play for Honour.”
“We are Portugal. We Play For Money!” they chorused in return, as always collapsing into giggles.
I knew that on the big day they’d be excited, nervous and slightly over-heated. If I played my cards right I could harness that excess energy and help them apply it to create a great experience, but what would captivate them? What might make them feel calm, strong, unified and confident?
There could be some at the competition prejudiced against them and unafraid to voice their feelings. What could I do or say that would make these economically-deprived teenage boys from east-side estates think before they acted?
Words. That’s my way.
Immediately I thought of ‘If’, printed it out and practiced reading it carefully. I was dry mouth nervous. This was a gamble. There was a distinct possibility this sudden diversion into the world of poetry might be a colossal disaster. Maybe they’d snort in mystification and think me a pretentious wanker, but as I looked at Kipling’s words, I felt confident he was talking their language. The word ‘classic’ can be applied, when a poem written in 1909 can speak to Traveller lads in 2006.
Before we drove out of the Community Centre car park in Ballybane, I turned around in my seat and faced them.
“Right lads. Listen up. I’m going to read you something.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time

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A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.

Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.

Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.

So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.

The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.

Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.

He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.

Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.

Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.

Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.

His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.

This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.

The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.

It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.

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Connacht Tribune

‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting

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A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.

At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.

“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.

This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.

One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.

“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.

None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.

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Connacht Tribune

New Chief Executive for Galway County Council

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The new Chief Executive of Galway County Council is set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Liam Conneally, who is Director of Services for Economic Development at Clare County Council, is understood to be the preferred candidate following an interview process and has been offered the post.

His appointment will have to be ratified by councillors at an upcoming meeting of Galway County Council.

He will replace Jim Cullen, who was Acting CE for a number of years.

The last permanent CE of the local authority was also a Clare native, Martina Moloney who retired in 2014.

Since then, Kevin Kelly initially and then Jim Cullen have been acting in the roles.

According to his LinkedIn page, Liam Conneally was a senior planner at Limerick City and County Councils for almost three years before taking up the Director of Services role in Clare in 2016.

He was educated at University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast.

A native of Ennistymon, he is steeped in the GAA.

“He’s done a very good job in Clare; he’s very dynamic and forward-looking, he will be a good choice for Galway County Council,” said a source familiar with Mr Conneally, and the interview process.

Government completed a review in 2021 about whether it was going to appoint someone permanently into the CE role, which was filled on a temporary/acting basis for almost nine years.

It’s understood that officials in Dublin had delayed filling the role as they wanted to push for an amalgamation of both Councils.

The amalgamation, however, was rejected by local politicians, and has since been put on the back burner.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, is due to retire this year. It’s understood his deputy CE, Patricia Philbin will take the role in an acting capacity until an interview process is completed.

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