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Connaughton will decide next month where to run



Date Published: 16-Aug-2012

SEPTEMBER will be decision time for a Galway East TD who must decide in which constituency he will contest the next general election – and it is not an easy choice to make.

Fine Gael’s Deputy Paul Connaughton jnr. insisted to The Connacht Tribune that he still had not made up his mind where to run following the boundary revision which has taken almost 2,500 votes away from him and divided his support in the process.

It was the worst possible news for Deputy Connaughton when the Constituencies Commission announced that Galway East was to be reduced to a three seat constituency while an area stretching from Ballinasloe to Dunmore was now to be included in a new Galway-Roscommon constituency.

In 2011 he topped the poll with 7,255 first preferences but a large chunk of his vote has been included in the new Roscommon constituency, which now includes Ballinasloe town, Clontuskert, Ballygar, FIilliamstown, Glenamaddy along with parts of his home town of Mountbellew and Dunmore.

The Fine Gael HQ want Connaughton to contest in the three seat Galway-Roscommon constituency where he would be coming up against former party TD Denis Naughten (now an independent) and Ming Flanagan.

However, the wise money is on Connaughton remaining in Galway East where he will be engaged in a much anticipated battle with his colleague and junior Minister Ciaran Cannon.

“There are people who would buy tickets for a front row seat in this contest,” remarked a prominent FG source in Galway East.

Deputy Connaughton said that despite all of the speculation, conjecture and rumours, he still had not made up his mind where he would be standing and added that he was still as busy in Ballinasloe as he was on the other side of the constituency.

“To be quite honest, I still have not decided what I will do and that is the truth. But over the next month I will be analysing the situation and consulting with my supporters and I hope to make an announcement in September,” he said.

In a three seat Galway East constituency, Fine Gael have just an outside chance of taking two seats and junior Minister Cannon is a raging hot favourite to hold onto his seat. The former PD leader has established a solid base in the south of the constituency and is ‘flavour of the month’ with Fine Gael party hierarchy.

It is not known if Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Micheál Kitt will run again as his Castleblakeney base has also gone in with Roscommon but it is likely that there is still an FF seat in the reduced Galway East constituency.

Labour also have a seat through party chairman Deputy Colm Keaveney but he will face stiff opposition from Senator Lorraine Higgins in Athenry while Cllr Sean Canney in Tuam has indicated that he is likely to be an independent candidate.

If Deputy Connaughton opts for Galway East, then it will put paid to any ambitions of Cllr Tom McHugh in Tuam having another crack at Dáil Eireann.


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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