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Bishop aknowledges resignation may be necessary



Date Published: 23-Dec-2009

THE Bishop of Galway, Rev Martin Drennan may have to resign through his ‘guilt by association’ as a former Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin mentioned in the Murphy Report into child sexual abuse.

Bishop Drennan had said that there was no need for him to resign as he believed he had done nothing wrong and that in fact, the Murphy Report had found that his handling of one particular case involving complaints against a priest had been appropriate.

However on the Keith Finnegan Show on Galway Bay FM last Friday, Bishop Drennan conceded that his resignation might indeed be inevitable through “guilt by association” though he maintained throughout the hour long interview that he had not set out to hurt anyone, had ensured guidelines into the handling of sexual abuse allegations against the clergy introduced in 1996 were adhered to and that the Murphy Report was not critical of him at all.

“I feel different to the other four Auxiliary Bishops mentioned in the Report as my handling of one particular case was found to be correct and appropriate . . . but if there is a mass resignation called for, yes, it could come to me resigning,” he said.

Bishop Drennan served as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Dublin Diocese between 1995 and 2005 before he came to Galway as Bishop.

He is one of five Auxiliary Bishops mentioned in the Murphy Report and to date one of those bishops, Donal Murray of Limerick has announced his resignation.

On Thursday, Bishop Drennan met with the priests of his diocese for a two hour meeting where he was told parishioners needed more information and that people were asking questions, which is why he decided to talk on the Keith Finnegan Show.

He explained that as an Auxiliary Bishop he was involved in pastoral care of priests who were sick or in difficulty and was in contact with parishioners, feeding information back into the system which would help in the placing of priests in parishes etc.

He met monthly with other bishops in the diocese to discuss complaints and allegations and to ensure guidelines were rigorously adhered to but he wasn’t aware of the details of all sexual abuse allegations, though he was aware that there were a number of complaints made in the diocese.

Though he and an Advisory panel advised the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Desmond Connell, all decisions were ultimately made by the Archbishop.

“Yes, mistakes were made within the system because like all systems, there is good and bad but people did the best they could. The Murphy Report has criticised management structures which it said were inefficient as was the sharing of information and though the Report also says there was a cover-up, I don’t believe there was or that we ‘minded’ the abusers.”

He said the Murphy Report had been tough and that he was most uncomfortable with what was in it. “I feel deeply stressed and upset that the ideals we had on ordination day have been tragically ignored and destroyed and I am ashamed that some priests could do what they did.

“But I am comfortable with my own role and believe that my integrity is intact and that the Report is not critical of me. I have no regrets about my time in Dublin as I have very happy memories of those years,” he said.

He said he believed there was complete transparency within the Dublin Diocese after the Church introduced its guidelines in 1996, though he added that he wasn’t aware of the all of the abuse that had been going on or had been complained of as “information was scanty” and the ultimate decision rested with the Archbishop.

“I don’t see how the fall-out of Bishop Murray’s resignation has helped to heal or give closure to anyone. Prosecution will bring justice but vengeance doesn’t bring healing but if there is a call for mass resignation, yes, it could come to my resignation,” he said.

Bishop Drennan said that his priests supported him and that if he could continue to bring unity and be of service to the diocese, he believed his resignation wouldn’t serve any purpose.

Calls to the programme were mixed with half of the callers asking for the Bishop’s resignation.

A poll carried out through The Connacht Tribune showed that 72% of people believed Bishop Drennan should resign in the wake of the Murphy Report.

On Monday, further calls were made by a victim of clerical abuse for all bishops mentioned in the Report to resign on the grounds that they were aware of the extent of the abuse and did nothing to call a halt to it.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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