Date Published: 28-Jan-2010
Residents living in the flooding blackspots of County Galway are now facing the prospect of their house insurance more than doubling – regardless of whether they put in a claim or not.
Householders in these areas, who recently received renewal notices, have been stunned by the huge increase in their premiums.
And it has been learned by The Connacht Tribune even those who were not affected by the recent flooding and have not made claims have also been hit with massive hikes in home insurance.
Late last year several parts of the county were left submerged in water resulting in an estimated €60 million in claims to insurance companies.
Areas like Ballinasloe, Craughwell, Claregalway, Portumna and several parts of South Galway were devastated by the flooding which occurred at the end of November.
Residents living in these areas are now set to be issued with hefty insurance bills when their premiums come up for renewal.
Last week a resident in Claregalway was horrified when she received her renewal notice from her insurance company to discover that the premium had more than doubled. This is despite the fact that her house had not been flooded and she had never put in a claim. It prompted her to price around and she eventually got a better deal.
Deputy Noel Grealish said that insurance companies were now ripping householders off by indiscriminately increasing premiums for homes located in the vicinity of flooded areas.
A number of insurance companies contacted by this newspaper declined to comment on the possibility of insurance premiums doubling for houses in flood affected areas.
Most said that the matter was under review while others said that they could not speculate on the matter as claims were still being processed.
However, a number of insurance company representatives spoke off the record and did not rule out the possibility of all households in flooding blackspots experiencing significant increases in their insurance premiums.
“The quotes will be based on the potential to suffer flooding based on what happened last November. Obviously houses built on higher ground where there is no potential to flood will not be subjected to such increases”, one representative said.
But many house owners who were lucky enough to escape flooding while their neighbours were submerged will effectively be “tarred with the same brush” by the insurance companies.
The house owner in Claregalway saw her home insurance quote go from around €400 to €900 and was told that this was due to flooding that had occurred in the village.
Local councillor Jim Cuddy has slammed the insurance companies for targeting the most vulnerable and said that it could result in insurance cover becoming unaffordable.
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.