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Judge Judy rules that might stop late night parties in Galway

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Date Published: {J}

I know that in the recent past some of my few fans have expressed concern about any apparent growing familiarity with what one might term ‘afternoon TV’. A mention seems to conjure up images of a figure slumped on a couch, with all purpose in life gone, watching Christmas cake recipes.

It’s quite possible that terminal torpor might hit, especially when weeks of torrential rain are replaced by weeks of footpaths and roads which make ‘dancing on ice’ seem like something that anyone should have a crack at . . . though maybe not recommended for the senior citizens.

Any number of reports of people turning up in A&E with strained or damaged wrists, tell their own story of upsets and tumbles . . . inching along by the walls and railings of the city on day after day, I saw many a tumble that looked very painful indeed, as men and women picked themselves up, gingerly finding out, joint by joint, if everything was still functioning.

Ever fallen and landed on your ‘tail-bone’? Then you know what I mean.

Faced with that kind of hazard, even the perils of ‘couch afternoon TV’ seemed preferable, and, once again, I ended up watching Judge Judy – despite the reservations of friends who are beginning to wonder about a man in his sixties who will spend an afternoon hour watching a very strict woman who dresses all in black, and wears ‘killer heels ‘and a cloak!

In the past I have pointed out that Judge Judy illustrates how the US civil justice system actually seems to function for the purposes for which it was created. For instance, in their civil justice system, fathers have to pay support for their children, even if they have set up new relationships. And they will be pursued for payment. Equally importantly, the system seems equipped to track them down, and does so.

At least two recent episodes have shown Judge Judy demanding a driving licence from a recalcitrant father, and then pass the licence on to the mother of his children. The driving licence would appear to be a much more important document in the US than it is here – I have repeatedly heard that ‘woman in black’ on the bench make the point that, if the father wants to work in future, then he will have to cough-up the child support on the basis of the mum now having the driving licence, which will make him easy to trace.

But, in light of the recent trouble in Galway, with difficulties in rented accommodation, all-night parties, and night-time incidents in suburbia caused by student parties, maybe someone in charge of the Irish civil legal system should be looking at how the law in relation to landlords and tenants appears to function in the US.

Last week, for instance, there was a case on Judge Judy taken by a woman landlord against a student tenant who had breached the tenancy agreement by holding a number of loud, late-night parties, keeping a dog, and generally making something of a thoroughgoing nuisance of herself in an area where, plainly, they valued their privacy and quiet.

The landlord produced a series of accounts showing that, every time a party was held in the condominium, there was a ‘fine’ imposed on the 20 year old tenant; there were also two ‘fines’ on the accounts for breaching the rules on having a dog on the premises, despite a rule to the contrary, and fines for the cops being called out.

I’m sure there are all kinds of terms and conditions in relation to tenancies by students all over Galway City, but how often do you hear of low-cost legal cases being possible under which a landlord demands –and may get – the payment of fines which are imposed for nonsense like all-night parties in predominantly residential areas?

Quite the opposite often appears to be the outcome, in fact: the residents who have invested their life savings – and future earnings – in an expensive mortgage for an apartment home in which they had hoped to live out their days, end up tormented night after night.

From recent reports in this newspaper, some of the house owners have even had to consider moving out because life has become intolerable through noise, parties and trouble. The selfsame bloody troublesome tenants often have the effect of making life intolerable in apartment developments.

A lot of those empty apartments in Galway City – and around the country – might be a lot more saleable if the potential tenants knew that they would not have ‘neighbours from hell’ living above or below.

Of course, many of the selfsame student ‘nuisance neighbours’ move on a few years later to become the new professional classes, who demand their privacy in huge expensive houses – detached of course because they value their privacy!

However, there was one further twist in the story of this particular Judge Judy programme . . . because of the fact that the 20 years old tenant had not paid the fines imposed for having a dog, the police call outs, and the late night parties, the fines were levied instead on the landlord, who, as part of the action, was, in turn, suing the tenant for non-payment.

So, under the law, if the tenant is difficult and does not pay, then the landlord is responsible for the charges which are levied by the management company which runs the development.

Compare this with Galway. I have knowledge of a case of parents with one child who were in an apartment and complained that they could not get any sleep because of noisy tenants. The landlord said he would do something about it . . . but when they complained again, he gave them notice to vacate the apartment, describing them as troublemakers. I’m sure they could have fought it, but they left anyway, in disgust!

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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.

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