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December 9, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}


General Election

The electoral ‘fight’ – if one can dignify it by naming it a ‘fight’ – was opened in Galway on Saturday when the following candidates were nominated at the City Courthouse: Stephen Lucius Gwynn, M.A., Temple Gardens, London and James Leslie Wanklyn of the Marlborough Club, London. Mr Gwynn was described as an author, and Mr Wanklyn as a gentleman.


The precincts to the Courthouse was guarded by about a score police under District Inspector Mercer, of Galway and District Inspector Woods, of Oughterard, about fifty special police having been drafted in for the occasion.

For a considerable period after Mr Gwynn’s nomination papers had been handed in and accepted, there was no appearance of Mr Wanklyn, or on his behalf. About a quarter past 12, Capt. Law, R.N., rambled leisurely into the room, and left almost immediately after.

Those present were beginning to hope that we should be spared the needless turmoil and worry and trouble of an election, and that the City would not suffer the general paralysis of trade and business that a contest inevitably brings.

A little later, a gentleman arrived who stated that he had just refused to sign a nomination paper for Mr Wanklyn, who, up to that time, could not get a proposer and seconder. It was evident that the members of the puny mischief-making gang, who had egged this gentleman on to contest Galway with the sole object of putting the Irish Party to needless trouble and expense, had found it expedient to desert him at the last moment, and that he and the few supporters who remained were in sad straits.


Mr. Justice Wright, presiding at the Connaught Assizes in Limerick on Tuesday, had before him a case in which Francis Lally and John Hanniffy were charged with conspiracy against Mrs Katie Higgins for affording accommodation in her house to a Mrs Margaret Mulvey, at Tallyho, near Athenry. Mulvey is a constabulary barrack servant.

During the hearing, his lordship said he was quite justified in his statement at the opening of the Assizes that there was a state of lawlessness in some parts of Galway. The jury could not agree, and were discharged.


Postal boom

For the last few years, Galway has grown, and this growth is shown in the great increase in work at the General Post Office, Galway. Owing to the extension in all directions of the city boundaries, the post office has been finding it increasingly difficult to effect efficient deliveries of letters and parcels in some of the new suburban districts.

In consequence of this, the Department of Posts and Telegraphs have found it necessary to completely reorganise the local deliveries and to extend these to outlying parts which up to the present were regarded as rural areas and as such were afforded but one delivery a day.

As a result of the reshuffle, the town deliveries both morning and midday have been extended to embrace the limits in every direction of the present city boundaries and at the same time, much improved services have been afforded to many of the new districts.

New hospital

Without any formality, the new Cottage Hospital in Clifden was thrown open on Sunday by Mr. John Gallagher, secretary to the Galway Board of Health, whose energetic efforts, coupled with those of Mr. Eamon Corbett, T.D., Galway County Council, have been largely instrumental in having it put into commission.

The new hospital, completed three years ago at a cost of more than £16,000 from the Sweep Fund, was built to the designs of Mr Frank Gibney. It replaces the old Clifden District Hospital closed exactly fourteen years ago under the amalgamation scheme.

The hospital, which is primarily intended for the use of the sick poor, fills a long-felt need. Formerly, patients in need of treatment had to undergo the hardship of an arduous journey to Galway. As a result of the establishment of the new hospital, patients, on receipt of tickets of admission from the medical officers of their districts, will in future have facilities for getting the most modern treatments near their homes.

The Clifden Cottage Hospital will stand comparison with the best in the land. Two main wards, conforming to the most modern requirements as regards lighting and ventilation, provide accommodation for twenty patients – ten men and ten women. These wards form the east and west wings of the hospital.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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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Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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