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Funding for bypass is ‘rock solid’ says minister



Date Published: 23-Oct-2009

THE Government’s funding guarantee for the city’s outer by pass – estimated to cost more than €320m – remains “absolutely rock solid”, Minister Éamon Ó Cuív, has told the Galway City Tribune.

The Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister, told this newspaper yesterday that there was no deviation at Cabinet level as to the top priority status which the outer bypass enjoyed, despite the current financial climate.

“While the issue may currently be bogged down on legal and planning issues, the Government is committed 100% to the construction of the city’s outer bypass.

“The case for it is irrefutable. How can businesses from Knocknacarra and Barna, back to Clifden, continue to survive when they have to, on a daily basis, survive an hour long journey through the city?

“Someone leaving the eastern fringe of the city would be more than half way to Dublin by the time another commuter would have made it from Knocknacarra to Oranmore.

“This has to change – Galway has to move on. We cannot be left behind. Just look this week at the difference that the new bypass has made to the South-East. The city is being clogged up with traffic, much of which doesn’t need to be going through the urban centre,” said Minister Ó Cuív.

He also told the Galway City Tribune that the Government was working very diligently behind the scenes to ensure that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) would be involved at a very early planning stage in new road development.

“We just cannot have the NPWS coming in at a very late stage and saying ‘this’ is what they don’t want. I, and the Government, want the NPWS to be involved from the start and say what they do want.

“They must engage far earlier in the process in a positive fashion and bring their views forwards through a negotiation process rather than a confrontational one. This system needs to be put in place,” said Minister Ó Cuív.

He also said that he wanted to make it clear that the function of the Attorney General in any current cases before the High Court was purely on the basis of providing the best legal advice for the Government.

But Minister Ó Cuív indicated that his “gut feeling” on the overall legal wrangles surrounding the project was that it might take a ruling at European level to lay down a “once-and- for-all precedent”.

What had to be resolved, he added, was whether the process could be taken directly at this stage to the European Justice or Commission level, or whether it would have go through the Irish Supreme
Court first.

“While I welcome the latest High Court decision clearing the way for the eastern section of the bypass to go ahead, this looks as if it will go further,” said Minister Ó Cuív.

The €600m Waterford bypass was opened last week by Minister Martin Cullen, while the €800m Limerick Tunnel project is due for completion early next year – backers of the Galway bypass are adamant that this project could also have been happening at the same time, only for the objections and legal wrangles.

The 22km bypass is proposed to run from the M6 between Doughiska and Briar Hill to the Spiddal Road between Barna and Furbo, with a new fifth bridge over the Corrib.

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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