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Galway ‘could become service centre’ for oil and gas hunt



Date Published: 17-Oct-2011


Business leaders and politicians in Galway should rally together to ensure the city’s revamped deep water port can become the leading service centre for the vast oil and gas fields off the West coast, according to a leading Norwegian oilman who visited the city last week.

Former Statoil Director Stein Bredal believes Galway has the potential to create hundreds of service jobs if the requirements of oil and gas companies are included in the plans for the redevelopment of the harbour.

He has urged Mayor Hildegarde Naughton and the Board the Galway Harbour Company to visit Stavenger in Norway to see what has been done in a city of a similar size where there are now thousands of people involved in the industry.

Mr Bredal also believes the harbour has the ability to attract hundreds of cruise liners, a business which is estimated to be worth €30 million in on-shore passenger spending alone to the port of Stavenger which receives 165 cruise ships each year.

Stavenger is determined to follow Galway’s lead by hosting the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) at some stage in the future and Mr Bredal told the Connacht Sentinel yesterday that the two cities could learn from each other in terms of developing marine resources.

“You have a tremendous, charming town and I think people would love to come there if services could be located there,” said Mr Bredal. “Stavenger now has a population of 100,000, but it was the size of Galway in the early 1970s when we had a good Mayor who was able to go to the oil and gas companies and ask them what they required.

“The Mayor then put in a new town for the American oil workers, and schools for the families of British and American workers. There were a lot of cities in Norway who wanted this business at the time, but Stavenger out-bid bigger cities such as Bergen and Trondheim.

“Sometimes you have to meet with the oil companies, take them to the harbour, and ask them what exactly do they want. At the time, we had a lot of bureaucracy in Norway, but it was the success of the Mayor in gathering everybody together, from businesses to trade unions to politicians, which secured the business for Stavenger.”

Just yesterday, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte awarded 13 new licensing options for further oil and gas exploration off the West coast. Companies have been granted ‘first refusal’ on exploration licences over 250,000 square metres of the Atlantic shelf.

Fifteen companies had already signed up for exploration licences within the past four years and some of them would view Galway Harbour as a ‘natural base’ for the transportation of goods and services to rigs and exploration vessels.

Galway Airport, delivered a blow last week when Aer Arann cancelled all winter flights from Carnmore, could also receive a boost if it became a helicopter base for exploration and service teams.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel


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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