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Black and red the new Tipp colours to replace the boys in blue

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

As the Gardaí packed their bags and their blue uniforms to up sticks from Templemore forever, the Government swiftly steered a replacement gravy train into the station in the shape of a giant casino dropping out of thin air into the middle of the Golden Vale.

And in one fell swoop, Tipperary’s longest established cottage industry was wiped out and a new era was ushered in by that keeper of the community flame, Michael Lowry, turning a substantial portion of the Premier County into a landlocked Las Vegas.

The bitter irony of a ban on Garda recruitment – and the consequential closure of the training facility in Templemore – in the week that permission was granted for a €460 million casino up the road in Two Mile Borris would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

Ireland needs a super casino like Charlie Sheen needs another drink – and even if we did require a relaxation of the gaming laws, we most certainly do not need this abomination dropped into the middle of our rolling hills.

The developer Richard Quirke is himself a former Garda and clearly a wealthy man who has made his money from his Dublin casino business.

His sidekick, Independent TD Michael Lowry, is a great man to have on your side when you want something done – and boy did he put his shoulder to the wheel on this one. But then again backing the right horse is something Lowry has long had a talent for.

Naturally the closure of Templemore was blamed on the last Government, but it was supported by Alan Shatter’s belief that we have enough Gardaí to keep going for a few years anyway.

We certainly have enough of them in North Mayo, protecting the interests of our colonial friends from Shell as they attempt to take our gas inshore for buttons before using it to make billions in profits for their multi-millionaire shareholders.

And there was a fair few of them gainfully employed when the Queen and Barack Obama were in town. But with the overtime they incurred there, we might be a little thin on the ground when it comes to solving crime for a little while now.

Nonetheless Alan Shatter seems to think that we’ll be alright without any new ones for the next few years, which has to be good news for burglars and paramilitaries and drug dealers everywhere. At least we’ll have one growth industry – even if it’s only crime.

Of course thanks to Michael Lowry and his Trojan efforts, Tipp can now look forward to a new industrial era, as gamblers from the four corners of the globe fly in to spend their fortunes in the Vegas of the Golden Vale.

They’ll refloat our struggling economy with a few bob on red or black, as they deliberate whether to hold ‘em or fold ‘em – or they’ll be able to back one of Aidan O’Brien’s oul’ horses without leaving the comfort of Quirkey’s new emporium.

Of course the fly in this particular ointment might be the fact that gambling of this magnitude is still illegal in Ireland and facilitating a 6,000 square metre den of iniquity would require a change in the law.

Still, with Michael Lowry on your side, that is a mere formality; any man that can oversee the bidding for Ireland’s first mobile phone licence so thoroughly is clearly capable of sorting out a mere passage of legislation.

And then the high rollers can turn off at the Horse and Jockey and book in to the 500-bed hotel with its replicated White House facade before heading downstairs for a go on the one-armed bandits before heading for the roulette wheel.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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