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Business fury over ‘barmy’ cycle lane

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Date Published: 17-Jun-2010

BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM

A popular local fashion retailer and homeware store has seen its business decimated over the past week, because of a cycle lane pilot scheme which the owner described as “nuts”.

The scheme at Newtownsmyth also caused traffic gridlock across the city centre, with peak-time delays of up to half-an-hour.

And it has led to a “war of words” between a well-known businessman and a senior official from Galway City Council.

The road at Newtownsmyth has been closed in one direction (from Abbeygate Street to Salmon Weir Bridge) since Monday morning to allow for a trial cycle lane as part of National Bike Week. John Curley, who owns Born Fashions and the Home Gallery in Newtownsmyth told the Galway City Tribune that if the pilot scheme continued beyond today (Friday), his business would be gone within a month.

Mr Curley complained that despite him paying annual rates of €100,000, on top of a development levy of €1m when he built the Born complex, he is being “wiped out” by the Council.

However, a Council official said that none of Mr Curley’s figures were substantiated, and added that timings taken on Wednesday afternoon show there were delays of just five to six minutes.

Businessman John Curley said: “We are being wiped out. We had no advance warning of this at all. We have been decimated this week. Business is down by two-thirds. If this cycle lane continues, I would be closing in four weeks.

“I’m absolutely furious. I spent €40m regenerating this part of town – an area that was previously just for the winos – into a beautiful development. It’s now worth €7m and then the Council come along and do this,” Mr Curley told the Galway City Tribune.

Councillor Padraig Conneely has accused Council officials of not living in the real world. “It has been absolute chaos. I was down there for more than an hour on Wednesday afternoon and I saw one bike, and it was on the footpath. The whole town is backed-up with traffic.

“The officials are not living in reality. Things are bad enough for local businesses as it is, and then they have to deal with this barmy idea. It’s incomprehensible,” said Cllr Conneely.

The City Council has apologised for the traffic chaos that was caused in the city centre this week by the scheme at Newtownsmyth.

Motorists had up to half-an-hour added to peak hour journeys because of tailbacks from Eglinton Street, along Mary Street, Upper Abbeygate Street, Market Street, Lombard Street and Bridge Street back to Dominick Street and Mill Street.

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune

 

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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