Date Published: 17-Aug-2010
There’s a lot to be said for tabloid journalism and TV3 proved that on Thursday night with their live coverage of events following the release of Larry Murphy, suspected serial killer.
His brother Thomas sat in the TV3 studio for their Prime Suspect: Larry Murphy and told the nation that he had nothing to do with his convicted brother, hadn’t spoken to him since 2005 and that neither he nor his sisters would be taking their brother in.
Liberals could argue that the type of coverage Murphy has received following his release from Arbor Hill was infringing on his civil liberties but even the FBI say that this man will strike again and Gardaí suspect he may be linked to a number of missing women.
The tabloids have already done lots of articles and have even issued full page photographs of him telling readers not to approach him if they see him, as if they would – by now, not even his own family want him.
It was sad listening to his brother talking about how their lives have been in turmoil because of the publicity surrounding Larry and how pictures of the family home have been published leading to even more media parking outside their house.
The programme went live to their journalist in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, where local people held a meeting about their concerns about Larry coming back to live among them.
Presenter Alan Cantwell asked Thomas what relationship his widowed mother had with his brother Larry and like most Irish families, he was unable to say as they obviously didn’t speak about the unspeakable. Most, if not all Irish families, have skeletons in the closet which are never spoken about but a suspect serial killer and a convicted rapist – wow, that’s a big one.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
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
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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013
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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013