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Campaign to tackle scourge of litter and graffiti in city



Date Published: 22-Apr-2013


IN a bid to clean up Galway City, groups will be asked to choose an area they will keep free of litter and graffiti.

The ‘Adopt a Spot’ initiative will be launched by Galway City Tidy Towns (GCTT) in the coming weeks and will be open to residents associations, businesses, schools and voluntary groups.

Participants will be urged to pick up litter and help remove graffiti tags and fly-posting on buildings.

Cllr Niall McNelis, chairperson of GCTT, said the project will encourage businesses and residents alike to “take ownership of their areas”.

He believes the initiative could reap long-term financial benefits for the city as the millions of euro in commercial rates that are currently spent on cleaning up Galway could be re-directed to develop community services and build new amenities such as playgrounds.

The city also plans to adopt an Australian anti-graffiti model called TAG. The ‘Taskforce against Graffiti’ will give group leaders a paint supply to ensure that graffiti tags on walls are removed within 24 hours where possible – an action that greatly reduces the likelihood of the location being re-targeted.

According to Cllr McNelis, ‘Adopt a Spot’ will make Galway “a nicer place to live, work and visit”.

The GCTT will give a presentation on the initiative to the Galway City Business Association tomorrow (Wednesday). Both organisations will co-ordinate the project alongside the Galway Chamber and the Galway Volunteer Centre.

The ongoing campaign to make Galway cleaner was given a boost this week when the city’s West End Traders received an Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) award in recognition of their efforts to tidy up the city centre through a mix of clean-up days, anti-fly-posting measures, painting and provision of cleaning equipment. The initiative was brought about by the businesses themselves in conjunction with Galway City Council.

The group saw off stiff competition from Limerick, Killarney, Drogheda and Tralee among others to be named as the inaugural winners of the IBAL Business Award.

The body represents over 100 businesses in an area that encompasses Dominick Street, Ravens Terrace, William Street West, Henry Street, The Small Crane and Sea Road.

Dr Tom Cavanagh of IBAL commended the West End Traders for “creating a real sense of community spirit” – something that is “not easy to achieve” in an urban area like Galway.

“We need to see similar groups thrive in our other cities. At a time when local authority resources are so constrained, areas will not be well maintained without this level of self-initiative,” added Dr Cavanagh.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

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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