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City escapes the worst so far



Date Published: 24-Nov-2009

THE city escaped relatively unscathed from the horrendous flooding that has swamped parts of County Galway but city businesses, homeowners and commuters are being put on high alert with Met Éireann forecasting more heavy rains later today (Tuesday).

Galway City Council outdoor staff were working around the clock over the weekend battling to clear floods from the city’s main arteries and to stave-off rising water levels that threatened to flood-out around half a dozen homes in the Menlo area.

The main flood points in the city over the weekend were at Two-Mile-Ditch, on the Tuam Road, Castlegar which was completely submerged and was only open for local access, and at Menlo where the local turlough (seasonal lake) caused flooding at the village and threatened several homes.

Areas like Salthill, which have suffered severe flooding in the past, experienced only minor problems, and the city centre also only suffered minor road surface flooding as city’s entire drainage network was under severe pressure to cope, said Director of Services at Galway City Council, Ciarán Hayes.

My Hayes said the Council’s preventative measures such as providing around 2,000 sandbags to businesses and homeowners helped the city to escape relatively unscathed.

He said that the main vulnerable areas and problem points were at Two-Mile-Ditch and at Menlo where flooding was at its highest in the city – pumping equipment used by Council staff managed to relieve the immediate danger to homes in Menlo, and also made the N17 passable. The pumping is ongoing and will continue until the flood threat is dealt with.

“It is because of the tireless work our crews put in at the weekend that we were relatively (unscathed) compared with other parts of the County and they should be given full credit,” he told the Sentinel, adding that the weather forecast is being monitored and crews are on standby for today’s predicted heavy rainfall. “It’s not over yet,” he said.

Mr Hayes once again refuted “in the strongest possible terms” suggestions from Cllr Pádraig Conneely that blocked gullies were causing serious difficulties throughout the city.

“That has no basis in fact. I can categorically state that the problems are not due to blocked drains but are due to the sheer volumes of water they have been asked to cope with,” he said.

Galway Gardaí have warned motorists to take care and slow down on the city’s roads and said that travel should only be undertaken if absolutely necessary.

“Road travel should only be of the essential nature, and all motorists need to slow down,” a spokesperson said. Mr Hayes reiterated this call and advised homeowners and businesses in vulnerable areas to take precautionary measures such as sandbagging to protect their premises from flooding.

Meanwhile, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty has called on the Council to examine the possibility of laying underground pipe near the turlough in Menlo to deal with the flooding crisis there.

Councillor Derek Nolan also called for a report into the flooding in Menlo. “One resident told me that this is the worst flooding the area has experienced in the 35 years he has lived there,” he said.

Mr Hayes said a solution needs to be examined closely but he said “the last thing we want to do is inadvertently cause pollution to the vital water source” of the Corrib by pumping water into it.

For further coverage see pages 3-6 of today’s 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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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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