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Cllr asks Minister to step-in over plans to replace roundabouts



Date Published: 07-Nov-2011

By Denise McNamara

The Minister for Transport has been called on to investigate Galway City Council’s handling of the scheme to replace roundabouts with signalised junctions linked into a central control centre.

Galway councillor Padraig Conneely has called on Minister Leo Varadkar to investigate the City Council’s handling of the N6 multi-modal corridor scheme, which has been delayed as a result of planning difficulties.

Last September councillors narrowly voted in favour of the plan to remove two of the six roundabouts along the N6 corridor after a concerted opposition campaign spearheaded by the Galway Chamber of Commerce, which was responding to widespread fury at the traffic chaos which reigned across the city last August due to three sets of road works on key arteries.

Several councillors who had supported the replacement of the first roundabout got cold feet and wanted to delay the roll-out of the next phase until they could see whether traffic gridlock would result.

The scheme only scraped through at the eleventh hour after councillors were warned that without their approval that, night funding of €6m would be lost, which included more than €1m to set up an Urban Traffic Management Control (UTMC) system to centrally control the lights to give priority to public transport and react to various traffic conditions.

They were told that the scheme would be completed within 18 months and would be fully operational well in time to cope with the 600,000 visitors tipped to descend on the city in July for the Volvo Ocean Race.

However it emerged a fortnight ago that two of the roundabouts will not be completed in time for the mammoth event as they involved variations to the City Development Plan.

Work on the removal of the Browne (Corrib Park) and Kirwan (Menlo Park Hotel) roundabouts will now be delayed until at least August because of the additional planning difficulties involved as a result of the junctions encroaching on open space.

The full scheme is not expected to be completed now until the end of next year.

In his letter to Minister Varadkar, Cllr Conneely said he was concerned that the controversial scheme was being mismanaged and he urged an investigation by the department.

“Part of the scheme is not in compliance with the City Development Plan of which councillors were not informed at the commencement of the scheme,” he wrote.

“This will delay the project and add to the city’s traffic problems and will involve an extra cost. I am requesting that you as Minister for Transport request a full report on this project and the mismanagement of the project to date.

“I am concerned that the project management of Galway City Council is questionable and should be investigated by your department.”

A spokesman for Minister Varadkar confirmed to the Connacht Sentinel that the letter had been received yesterday.

“It is being considered by the department. However it would be inappropriate to comment on anything further without the department having had the time to consider the issues raised. We will be responding to the matter in full in due course.”


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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