Galway City Council is to remove a controversial 1916 commemorative stone in Mervue, which has caused a political row since its unveiling on Holy Thursday.
Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said that the stone will be removed, as the council had not given permission for it to be erected in a green area at Connolly Avenue.
He said the Council is not aware who paid for and erected the engraved stone, but he accepted it was not the Mervue Residents’ Association.
At a local authority meeting, Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely proposed a motion (seconded by party colleague Pearce Flannery) that the commemorative stone be removed.
He said it carried the Sinn Féin emblem of an Easter Lily and should be removed as it was on Council land. Cllr Conneely contends that SF members are responsible for installing the stone.
Cllr Anna Marley (SF) said it would be a shame to have the stone removed at this stage, and she took issue with the “amount of hysteria” over the issue, asking “is a post-colonial inferiority complex at play here?”
Mayor Frank Fahy (FG) said he was “very offended” that he had not been invited to the unveiling of the stone, yet an “unknown” Sinn Féin TD was there.
“I’m very offended by that. To think that in my own parish, where my people have been since 1640 I wasn’t invited and local area councillors [with the exception of Sinn Féin’s Mairéad Farrell] weren’t invited. I was offended.
“It’s not acceptable that anybody should do something on public land without the permission of the council. I have no issue with it as long as proper procedures are followed,” said the Mayor.
He pointed to the commemorative stone and tree-planting ceremony which took place in Shantalla over Easter weekend, which had permission from the Council.
Prior to the meeting, Cllr Conneely said an invite sent around to locals was signed by Cllr Mairéad Farrell. This, he said, indicated she was connected to the stone and had prior knowledge of it.
“Who is fooling who here? The invite was signed by Mairéad Farrell, and the invite has a picture of her on it with a Sinn Fein activist, so quite clearly she has a connection to the stone and she was aware of who erected it. Let’s get real here. This is a Sinn Féin stone. It is not a community stone. It is political propaganda. The invite went out in her name.”
Councillor Farrell reiterated the stone was for all the community, and rejected the assertion that it was the Republican party’s stone.
“The stone is a community stone not a Sinn Féin stone. I helped organise the unveiling event and sent invites because I think for a community event like this it was important to invite as many people in the community as possible. It is a lovely stone. I really don’t know what the issue is with all of this,” she said.
US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots
An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.
Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.
The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.
Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”
One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.
“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.
“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”
Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists
The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’
At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.
It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.
Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.
As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.
It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.
Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.
Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star
It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.
On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.
He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.
Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.
“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.
“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.
Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.
But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.
The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.
See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie