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City talks in bid to minimise effects of stoppage

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Date Published: 24-Nov-2009

TRADE Union chiefs and management at Galway City Council were engaged in intense, protracted negotiations yesterday in an effort by the City Manager and Directors of Services to minimise the effect today’s public sector workers strike will have on the city’s flood relief effort.

County Council workers and other public sector workers in County Galway decided to defer their strike action in order to ‘pull together’ to help the communities throughout the county who are crippled with the flooding of recent days.

City Manager Joe MacGrath yesterday requested that the City Council’s workers action be deferred, as at the County Council, and the Council’s HR Department was involved in talks with Union leaders to ensure workers on the frontline of battling against the floods in the city would be on duty today.

Last night, Pat Keane, President of the Galway Council of Trade Unions, which represents 18 unions locally, told the Sentinel that City Council workers would provide cover to deal with the areas affected by the flooding but indicated that all other workers, which were involved in ‘non-emergency’ work, would strike as planned.

“We have to show the country that these cuts are wrong. We will keep services in place in areas that have been affected so badly by the weather, such as Clonmel, County Galway and Cork. Joe MacGrath has a state of emergency in the city but the unions do not agree and said there is no emergency … but I can assure you that sewage and water services and all of the emergency services to deal with flooding including at the City Council will remain in place,” he said.

Mr Keane said this cover would be provided at Menlo where Council workers are battling to keep water from several homes and at Two-mile-ditch, where pumping equipment is being used to keep the Tuam Road artery to the city open to traffic. Meanwhile, the day of industrial action planned for the city will go-ahead as scheduled with city primary and secondary schools set to close, university and college lectures cancelled, and all non-emergency procedures, including Swine Flu vaccinations, called off at Galway’s two city hospitals.

The three wards providing elderly care and one dialysis ward at Merlin Park is excluded from the strike while over at UHG nurses will provide cover at the Intensive Care Unit, Coronary Care, Special Care Baby Unit, the Labour Ward, cancer care including oncology and radiotherapy and St Rita’s care for the elderly ward. Public nursing homes, palliative care and WestDoc will also be excluded.

Elective surgeries, elective admissions and outpatient clinics will be affected by the strike as will the HSE’s Swine Flu vaccine clinics. The INO has exempted Portiuncula from the strike and nurses will work there as normal today to provide cover for the devastating flooding in Ballinasloe and County Galway.

Management at Galway’s two city hospitals had asked the INO to call-off the strike action at GUH but this was rejected by the union. More than 90% of Galway’s nurses voted in favour of industrial action in October – the national average was 85%.

“Emergency Departments and Ambulance Services will operate a limited service on Tuesday. It is anticipated that there will be a ‘Christmas Day level’ of cover in hospitals on the day and as such the HSE is advising the public not to present to Emergency Departments unless it is a genuine emergency. The best advice is to contact your GP in the first instance for non-emergency care or your out of hours GP service,” a HSE spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for NUIG said: “The University will remain open and we are currently establishing what services will be affected so that we can put a plan in place to provide services to students. All categories’ of staff are affected and we expect significant gaps in academic and academic support areas”. GMIT did not issue a statement or return calls.

INTO teachers will picket the Western Offices of Department of Education and Science in Victoria Place, Eyre Square.

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

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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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