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Life from the inside of Garda traffic control corps cars

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Date Published: {J}

It was bound to happen. It was only a matter of time before TV cameras would be following the Garda traffic corps on duty so now that’s another deterrent, unless people don’t mind having their few minutes of fame being shamed on national TV.

Though faces are blurred out on Traffic Blues, an Irish made series on RTE 1 on Sunday nights, it’s not that hard to identify people by their voices and car type etc. No doubt as the novelty of this series wears off, they will be filming our city streets and town squares to capture what goes on in the early hours of the morning.

And though it’s no harm for people to see what sort of work our Gardaí do or what type of offences can attract their attention on our roads, the real stars of the series will be the Gardaí themselves.

There were one or two very impressive members of the force who seemed at ease in front of the TV cameras, which isn’t as easy as it looks, and who will probably go far in the force.

There was one Garda on the motorway in the Naas area who pulled over a woman for speeding in a Jeep with two sleeping children in the back. Her only excuse was that she was tired and just wanted to get home. The Garda was visibly incredulous and told her straight up it was no excuse, especially with children in the back seat who were depending on her to get them home in one piece. It hit the right note for me and hopefully it did for her. She was doing about 90 miles an hour.

There was a particularly young Garda in Bantry who stopped a guy in a car with no insurance. Both driver and Garda were awfully polite and I couldn’t help thinking if it was ‘Take Two’ and that the original arrest may not have been as smooth but it could have been, I suppose. The Garda, speaking to camera, said the driver admitted immediately that he had no insurance or tax and that this was common enough now in these recessionary times. It’s all right taking the chance until there’s an accident of course and then it’s a whole different story.

Some of the footage goes back to Spring 2009 as I suppose the programme makers wanted to wait for the court case to be dealt with so they have a result for the viewers. But the oldest piece of footage was the most exciting, when a car being chased north of Dundalk, in an attempt to make it across the border, drove the wrong way around a roundabout and then the wrong way on a motorway. It certainly was a miracle that nobody was killed that day. Of course, the Gardaí got them in the end when the car actually crashed going the wrong way on a motorway ramp. I don’t think Traffic Blues will be showing anything but success stories, for the Gardaí that is.

What is amazing is the top quality of the camera equipment being used by traffic corps now. The resolution is good enough for broadcasting as we have seen from the first two in this new series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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