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Charity happy with monies raised from city marathons



Date Published: {J}


One of Galway’s leading charities, Cancer Care West, has expressed satisfaction with the running of two road races in the city on Saturday which are expected to raise thousands of euros for the organisation.

Over 2,000 runners took part in the Galway Bay Half Marathon and 10k events, with €5 from each entry fee going to the charity while dozens of runners also undertook additional separate fundraising drives.

Participants from the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, the USA and Australia joined local runners for the Salthill-based races, which have raised over €1.8 million for the charity since they were originally launched nine years ago.

Sharon Fitzpatrick of Cancer Care West said she was delighted with the running of the Galway Bay races.

They are among the most important annual fundraising events for the organisation, which provides residential care to cancer patients who have to travel long distances to receive radiotherapy treatment in the city.

She denied claims from the organiser of a rival event – which was cancelled in August – that the organisers had not shown full transparency in terms of how much of the entry fee went to the charity.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that €5 from each entry fee of €35 (10k) or €45 (half-marathon) went directly to Cancer Care West and this was made clear to each entrant as soon as he or she registered for either of the two races.

This guaranteed her organisation a minimum of €10,000 from this year’s event, with a full field of 2,000 taking part, while entrants were also encouraged to undertake additional fundraising for Cancer Care West.

“We did run the race ourselves for a number of years, but we eventually decided to outsource the running of it three years ago,” she said. “It has always been a hugely significant fundraiser for us, but a few years ago we felt that it could no longer be run by volunteers anymore.”

She pointed out that the organisation’s residential home, Inis Aoibheann, would not have been built without funds raised via the race over the years – it had cost €4.2m to build, despite receiving capital funding of just €350,000.

Richard Donovan, organiser of the now defunct Galway City Marathon, had questioned how much of the entry fees for the two Galway Bay races had gone to the charity – but Ms Fitzpatrick said this figure had been made clear to each person who took part prior to Saturday’s event.

During the summer, a war of words raged between Mr Donovan and Galway City Council over the cancellation of the marathon which had been scheduled to take place at the end of August.

“The Galway City Marathon paid huge sums to get top international athletes to the City; it did not receive any support from the Council; it quietly donated tens of thousands of euro to charity and sponsorship of individual athletes,” said Mr Donovan.

Mr Donovan accused the Council of obstructing his plans to stage a top class event in the city each year, but Council officials and Cllr Michael Crowe (FF) accused Mr Donovan of failing to come up with an adequate Traffic Management Plan in the wake of concerns over safety issues at the inaugural 2010 event.

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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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