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Election plea from Grealish turns up heat on Taoiseach

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Date Published: {J}

By Declan Tierney

Galway TD Noel Grealish turned up the heat on Taoiseach Brian Cowen this week by declaring that the time is now right for a general election – and a new government. And that has led to growing speculation that Independent Deputy is set to dramatically withdraw his support for the Coalition in the next few weeks as part of a self-preservation effort in the event of an early poll.

The former Progressive Democrat has already indicated his opposition to the proposed health cuts in the HSE West region but it is known that he is now anxious to distance himself from anything remotely associated with Fianna Fail.

Since being elected to the Dail for the second time in 2007, he has faithfully supported the Government and has never once opposed them when it came to a vote.

In return for his support he was promised a bypass for Claregalway but that has not been provided much to the annoyance of residents of the village and surrounding areas, which are being used as rat runs.

But while Grealish would not indicate when he will jump ship from the Government, he said that he would not tolerate the proposed health cuts that were being mooted.

He is also anxious to gradually alienate himself from the Government and Fianna Fail in particular and especially in the run up to an early general election.

“I have come to the conclusion that it is time for an election and let the people decide. The amount of money this Government is pumping into Anglo Irish Bank is intolerable when we have a health system that is on its knees”, he said.

A crucial meeting is taking place today to discuss budgetary issues affecting the hospital. Last year the hospital had an overspend of €10 million and he wants this deficit “written off” – if not then he will withdraw his support.

Fine Gael in Galway West have been continually accusing Deputy Grealish of being “joined at the hip” with Fianna Fail and are hoping that the electorate will associate him with the party in the event of a general election.

This time last year the Carnmore based TD emphatically declared that he would not be joining Fianna Fail – at a time when the party were suffering their first real slump in the opinion polls.

If Deputy Grealish were to side with the opposition, the Government’s majority could depend on the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle.

Support for the Government comes from 70 Fianna Fáil TDs along with Dr. Jimmy Devins and Eamon Scanlon, who have resigned from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party but have consistently voted with the Government.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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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