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Galwayman jailed for allowing name on child’s birth cert

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Date Published: 26-May-2011

By Ann Healy

A Galway man has been jailed for two years after accepting money from a Chinese woman so that she could register him as the father on her child’s birth certificate and passport application in order to obtain an Irish passport for the child.

Separated father of three, Graham Hopkins (44), from 7 Castle Park, and hotel maid, Roulan Lin (26), with a former rental address at The Stables, College Road, both pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to giving false information to a registrar at the Civil Registration Service, Galway, on April 20, 2009, contrary to Section 69(3) of the Civil Registration Act, 2004.

The pair also pleaded guilty to giving false information in connection with a passport application to the registrar at the Civil Registration Office on the same date, contrary to Section 20(1) of the Passport Act, 2008.

Lin came to Ireland in 2004 on a student visa to study English at a language school and worked all along in various hotels and fast-food restaurants, earning meagre wages. She became pregnant by a Chinese man and gave birth to a baby boy on April 19, 2009.

She feared the child would not be allowed remain with her in this country and she paid Hopkins, whom she had met through a mutual friend and who was in financial difficulty, €3,500 to name himself as the child’s father on the birth certificate and on the passport application form.

Sergeant Paudie O’Shea said Hopkins and Lin had been stopped by Immigration officials at Dublin Airport on February 2 last year on their return from a trip to China with the child. Officials were suspicious the child, who had an Irish passport, was not his.“He was trying too hard to be a parent and it made officials suspicious,” Sgt O’Shea said.

He arrested the pair in May and they readily admitted giving false information to authorities in order to obtain an Irish birth certificate and passport for the child so that it could stay in Ireland.

He said Lin’s visa had expired and she was in the country illegally at the time of the offence. Hopkins worked as a bouncer/doorman and had no previous convictions, he added.

Sgt O’Shea said that following a Belgian case before the European Courts recently, Lin had had an opportunity to apply for an Irish passport for the child but that these offences and convictions for them would scupper that now.

Judge Raymond Groarke said he hoped the two-year sentence he felt compelled to impose on Hopkins (on each charge to run concurrently) would act as a deterrent to others.

He imposed the same sentence on Lin but put a stay on the warrant until July 13 next to allow her time to apply for the child’s Chinese passport. The judge said he would fix a final date then after which the warrant would issue if Lin had not been deported in the interim.

Read more in today’s Galway City 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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Archive News

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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