Date Published: 01-Dec-2009
THE Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan – who was found to have correctly handled allegations of inappropriate behaviour by a priest in the Dublin Archdiocese some years ago – has said he is “deeply upset” by the trauma suffered by victims of clerical sex abuse.
Bishop Drennan, who was auxiliary bishop in Dublin between 1997 and 2005, is one of five bishops who still hold office mentioned in the shocking report by Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy.
However Bishop Drennan’s handling of one case was described as correct by the Commission of Investigation into the handling by Church and State authorities of allegations and suspicions of child abuse against clerics of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.
In a statement on the report, Bishop Drennan said the survivors of sexual abuse had felt that the Church put its own protection ahead of the welfare and protection of children when abuse was reported.
“The double trauma they endured upsets me deeply. I humbly offer my apologies to all who suffered in these ways,” he said.
“My fervent desire is that, learning from this report, we will understand why Church authorities failed these people and their families and why, in the past, the Church didn’t act decisively in favour of the safety and welfare of children.
“Above all, I pray that all of those who have been hurt and abused in this sad chapter of our history will be able to move towards the healing and peace they are looking for and deserve.”
Bishop Drennan added that he wanted to assure the faithful of the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora that the highest possible training and standards apply to child welfare and safety in all parishes so that such events may never happen again.
A small band of protesters taped a poster to the door of Galway Cathedral before weekend services calling on Bishop Drennan to resign, while a lone protester, Margaretta D’Arcy, stood outside the Cathedral wearing a placard during the 8.30am Sunday Mass calling on him to respect the children of Galway and resign.
Speaking at a conference in Galway on Friday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Galway Rape Crisis Centre, Senator Ivana Bacik said the culture of cover-up evident at the highest levels in the Church caused the continuance of horrific levels of sexual abuse against children for many decades.
“The Church needs to acknowledge its institutionalfault in this. Any of those bishops named in the report as having handled child sexual abuse complaints badly, who are still in office, should now resign as a matter of conscience,” she said.
“Extraordinary levels of hard work and personal commitment are invested willingly by all of those involved in setting up and running rape crisis centres nationally. This selfless commitment shown by rape crisis centre volunteers and staff to the survivors of sexual abuse must be contrasted with the selfish, callous and cruel behaviour of clerical sex abusers and their superiors, who actively worked to protect them.”
For more on this report see page 8 of this week’s Sentinel
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
BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs
Date Published: 24-Jan-2013
A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).
It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.
Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.
With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.
Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.
This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.
They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.
Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.
Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.
“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”
An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails
Date Published: 30-Jan-2013
CITY ENERGY COMPANY TO CREATE 12 NEW JOBS