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Latex gloves the answer to security at airports



Date Published: {J}

Bertie Ahern gave us his personal assurance that George Bush had given him his personal assurance that prisoners were not transported through Shannon on their way to being tortured.

From this we can safely deduce that . . . prisoners were transported through Shannon on their way to being tortured. It is kind of obvious.

As Amnesty succinctly put it, the same assurances were given to the British government and shown to be false. Our country played its part in the War on Human Rights because Ahern was willing to do what he was told. Does anyone else remember when we had a reputation as a small nation that cared about international justice? Now we’re famous as the small nation that will break any rule, legal or moral, for money. You know, all that money we have.

Speaking of the comforts of air travel, I was depressed by the Saturday Show. In general of course, but in particular when Twink got a big round of applause when she spoke in favour of body scanners that can see your skin beneath your clothes. She really had the crowd going for safety at the price of privacy.

On the other hand, perhaps this is a healthy change. I doubt if Twink or any media figure in Ireland would have come out in favour of public nudity ten years ago. Perhaps we’re getting more relaxed.

As I discovered last year in the traditional saunas of Finland, being naked in public is not a nightmare situation if everyone else is doing it too. Hell, if we think this through we could save a lot of money and hassle by checking our garments as baggage.

I guarantee you’ll get to like it. Clothes after all are really just a commentary on your body. When you take them off, you give up trying to explain yourself.

But hold on now, we’re seriously talking about introducing these scanners. Even though the one attempt to smuggle a bomb that they might have prevented even in theory failed in a way that can only be described as ‘hilarious’. The underpants bomber achieved nothing except setting fire to his own genitals – and a shoo-in for the next Darwin Award. If we react to that with electronic strip-searching, how are we going to respond to the first idiot with a bomb up his bum?

There is no technical reason not to bury one in the fundament, it is only the delicate sensibilities of mass-murderers that have prevented it happening so far. They may be willing to eviscerate children and burn the faces off random strangers, but they would never do something that . . . unmanly. For now that is. When they finally decide that there is no other option, they will shove bombs up there with relish.

So what to do? The scanners won’t see these beauties beneath the skin. You can’t X-ray the bottom area because that’s where people keep their gonads. Really there is only one way to be completely sure of everyone boarding a plane. The good news is that it’s cheaper than you might have expected, costing nothing more than a single disposable elbow-length latex glove.

Then at last we’ll all be truly free.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



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



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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.

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