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January 13, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Shooting outrage

On Saturday night last, our correspondent reports, a daring outrage took place close to Newcastle (Athenry), where the house of Mrs Morris was fired into by a party of armed men. Altogether seven or eight shots were fired into the door and windows, completely wrecking the latter and doing some considerable damage inside. Some of the family had narrow  escapes, as all were in the dwelling at the time.

Mrs. Morris is a very popular and hard-working woman, having no dispute with any of her neighbours and much sympathy is expressed for her owing to the outrage.

I learned that the cause was due to the fact the Mr. J. Donohoe, of Cappamoyle, gave a dance some nights ago, and that some of Mrs. Morris’s family went to the dance. Mr. Donohoe has been vigorously boycotted since the eviction of Mrs. Donohoe, widow of Mr. John Donohoe’s son.

It seems strange (our correspondent adds) that in a district where so many extra police are stationed such an outrage could be carried out with impunity. Twelve or fourteen police are in one of the evicted houses close to the scene of the outrage, and a number of “extras” are also engaged in minding the locality from Athenry.

No trace of the perpetrators can be ascertained, although the District Inspector and a number of police are actively investigating the matter.

It is understood that fourteen additional police are to be stationed in the  Newcastle district as a result of this  outrage.

Acting the scamp

At Ballinasloe Petty Sessions, two charges were proferred against J. Flannery for being drunk on the public street, and for refusing the leave the premises of Mr. Peter Naughton when requested to do so by complainant and Sergeant Hynes.

The Acting Sergeant said it was a fair day, and on going towards the defendant to arrest him, he moved into Naughton’s public house. He (complainant) drew the publican’s attention to defendant’s condition, and the publican requested him to remove Flannery.

Flannery denied being drunk, or that the publican ever asked the Acting Sergeant to remove him.

Constable Reilly, who was with the Acting Sergeant, described Flannery as acting the scamp and the blackguard, and corroborated the Sergeant’s story.

The Bench, by a majority, fined defendant 5s. and costs.


Road maintenance

At the annual roads meeting of Galway County Council, the Council decided to allow £12,000 for new works in the county for the coming year. The estimate of the county surveyor, Mr. M.J. Kennedy, for repairs to main roads in the western division was reduced by 25 per cent, from £47,240 to £38,805.

The estimate of Mr. G. Lee, county surveyor, for repairs to main roads in the eastern division was reduced from £47,986 to £33,000.

The secretary said the cost of road maintenance in the county was increasing rapidly from year to year. Of course, by expending more money, they were helping to increase employment and reduce charges for home assistance.

Land call

At a meeting of the Executive of the County Galway Old I.R.A. in the Town Hall, Galway, on Saturday, Mr. Mattie Nilan presiding, a resolution was passed calling on the Government “to acquire farms at an economic price and to distribute them to the people as the patience of the farmers’ sons is sorely tried. The land is for feeding our increasing population and not for feeding bullocks for John Bull.”

A report submitted at the meeting stated that the service of prominent Old I.R.A. clerks who are presently employed in the Galway Employment Exchange offices are liable to be dispensed with in order to make room for the youth who got through examinations last November.

The Executive declared they were prepared to stand behind their comrades in their efforts to hold the bread to which they were entitled by reason of their national record and education.

Clifden Hospital

At the meeting of the County Galway Hospital and Dispensaries’ Committee on Wednesday, Mr. E. Corbett, presiding, the secretary (Mr. Gallagher) reported that the Board of Health had transferred the business of the new Clifden District Hospital to the Hospital committee to make arrangements for the equipment of the hospital and the appointment of a staff.

It was certainly time that something was done with the hospital as it was a long time vacant. The hospital had cost £14,000, all of which was defrayed by the Hospitals Trust Fun. The doctor was the only member of the staff appointed.


For more, read page 30 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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