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‘Horse-trading’ continues in bid to elect Hildegarde Mayor

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 27-Jun-2011

By Dara Bradley


The ‘horse-trading’ between members of the ruling pact on Galway City Council will resume today (Tuesday) as the identity of the next first citizen of Galway remains uncertain, just over 24 hours ahead of the Mayoral election.


Councillor Hildegarde Naughton will be the Fine Gael nominee for Mayor at Wednesday’s election but it remains unclear whether she has the backing of all members of the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Independent pact to secure the chain.

Negotiations aimed at resolving the impasse between Cllr Naughton and two members of the pact who oppose her, which were chaired by current Mayor Mike Crowe (FF), finished without agreement being reached last evening.

Mayor Crowe will once again attempt to broker a deal between Cllr Naughton and Cllrs Peter Keane (FF) and Donal Lyons (Ind), at meetings later today. They may need to meet again tomorrow as well if the issues aren’t ironed out by then.

Cllrs Lyons and Keane are seeking an apology, retraction and clarification from Cllr Naughton over comments she made at a meeting last January about elected members being in the pockets of developers.

The duo took umbrage at her statements in the Council chamber and also at later media comments in which she said she wouldn’t apologise or retract her remarks, which were not directed at any one individual.

It is understood that at last night’s meeting, each councillor ‘set out their stall’ and clarified their position.

It was cut short due to the Mayor having other commitments and it is understood another meeting will be needed today so that the trio can come up with a wording for a statement from Cllr Naughton – possibly not an apology but expression of ‘regret’ – that would allow the two councillors to vote for her as mayor without ‘losing face’.

Cllr Naughton can count on seven votes (Pádraig Conneely, Frank Fahey, Mike Crowe, Ollie Crowe, Terry O’Flaherty, Declan McDonnell and her own) but needs eight to be guaranteed a majority of the 15 councillors.

Labour’s five elected members will oppose her, as will Independent Councillor Catherine Connolly. If these six ‘left’ councillors can agree on a candidate, the vote for mayor would be as tight as it gets, meaning a resolution with Cllrs Keane and Lyons is vital to the outcome. Otherwise, the pact could collapse mid-term.


If the duo abstain, Cllr Naughton would be elected, but they have publicly indicated abstaining is not an option they will consider.

Cllr Naughton had no comment to make to the Sentinel ahead of the formal talks.

Mayor Crowe said he is hopeful a resolution that suits all sides, and which benefits the City and the local authority, can be brokered.


Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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