Grieving mother set to win battle for law change
Date Published: 06-Dec-2012
BY DENISE MCNAMARA
A campaign which began in Galway to allow the death of an Irish citizen abroad to be registered at home may finally be successful after positive signals from the Minister for Social Protection.
An anomaly in the law, which states that that the death of an Irish citizen abroad is recorded and registered in the country where they died – except in the case of Gardaí or members of the defence forces – first came to light after the tragic deaths of two young Galway men.
Athenry teacher Brian Forde (27) died following a fall for a building in New York in July 2009. Just a few weeks later, Keith O’Reilly (22), from Woodhaven, Merlin Park, died after he sustained catastrophic injuries when his head hit hidden rocks when diving from a pier into Lake Michigan.
Keith’s mother Yvonne O’Reilly said the family would not have closure until his death was registered here.
She contacted Cllr Padraig Conneely on the issue after getting no satisfaction from the authorities. He had a motion passed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Regional Health Forum West to change the law, which was sent to the Departments of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Family and Social Affairs as well as the Registrar General Kieran Feely and the General Registration Office.
The issue was then taken up by students from NUI Galway, where both young men had been students and a major Facebook campaign was launched.
Oireachtas members threw their support behind it, among them Galway West Fine Gael Deputy Sean Kyne, who introduced Civil Registration (Amendment) (Domestic Registration of Death Records) Bill 2012 to the Dáil earlier this month which would amend the current Civil Registration Act 2004 to allow deaths of Irish Citizens who die abroad to have their deaths registered in their home country.
The bill noted that since 2007, 1,002 Irish people have died abroad, the vast majority of them were travelling for leisure or business purposes. None of these deaths have been recorded or registered in Ireland. Mrs O’Reilly said it should be a basic right of every Irish person.
“Everyone deserves that much at least. If somebody goes to do our family tree, they will trace Keith up as far as university, then he goes off the face of the earth,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton confirmed there is currently work on the matter at Department level.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
Galway in Days Gone By
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.