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Gardaí visit schools in bid to stamp out street trouble

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

 BY FRANK FARRAGHER

GARDAÍ are to visit second level schools in the city area over the coming days to try and prevent unruly teenage gatherings in Salthill – last Saturday evening, up to five young people were arrested in the area for public order offences.

Several complaints of public drinking and unsocial behaviour were made to Gardaí in Salthill about the conduct of a small number of young teenagers in a crowd of more than 300 – split into different groups – many of whom were out ‘celebrating’ the finish of their Junior Cert mock exams.

The ‘gathering’ is understood to have been organised through Facebook and other social media networking outlets through Friday and Saturday. There have been a number of similar, though smaller gatherings in the area on several occasions in recent months.

One eyewitness told the Connacht Sentinel that he and his friends were ‘confronted’ on Saturday evening by a ‘gang’ of about 10 male teenagers who were gesturing with empty Buckfast bottles in a threatening manner.

“Another pulled a carpet knife from his tracksuit bottoms. We called the Gardaí, but they told us they were busy on another call-out with someone who was unconscious up the road,” said the eyewitness.

He described the atmosphere in Salthill as ‘very tense with people just waiting for something to kick off’. “It was very intimidating,” he added.

The Centra supermarket in Salthill also closed their doors at 9pm on Saturday night – two hours earlier than normal – although the proprietor, Michael O’Connor, stressed that he just did this as a precautionary measure.

“The last thing I want to do, is to give the impression that gangs were running amok in the area. This wasn’t the case, but given the numbers that were on the street, we decided to close down,” said Michael O’Connor.

He praised the efforts of the Gardaí in their handling of the large numbers of teenagers on the streets, due mainly he added, to the conclusion of the Junior Cert ‘mocks’ last week.

“There is only so much the Gardaí can do and the vast majority of those young people were causing no problem to anyone. But I really think that the issue of parental responsibility has a big role to play when looking at things like this,” said Michael O’Connor.

A Garda spokesman confirmed to the Sentinel that there were ‘four to five’ arrests on Saturday night last in the Salthill area, all for relatively minor public order offences. Most of those incidents would be dealt with by way of caution and consultation with parents, although he didn’t rule out prosecutions being taken also.

There was also concern for a time on Saturday about the condition of a 14-year-old girl in the Salthill area who appeared to have been taken quite ill shortly after 7pm, apparently due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed.

“We will be visiting every second level school in the city over the coming days and weeks to get the message clearly across that unruly behaviour on the streets and drinking in public places will not be tolerated.

“In the run-up to St Patrick’s Weekend, we are also making a special appeal to parents to make it their business at all times to know where their children are, what they are doing, and what time they are to be picked up at,” said Sgt Shane Cummins of Galway Garda Station.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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