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Man who helped found the Order of Malta in Galway

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Bernard Shapiro enjoyed a longer retirement than what most people spend in a job and by the time he had retired he had left two legacies in the city, having helped found the local Order of Malta branch and the Renmore Soccer Club.

OBITUARY

The popular, kindly gentleman passed away in December at the ripe old age of 95 in the Galway Clinic after a short illness. He had a surgical procedure a few weeks previously but had been recovering well at home. In fact, he had enjoyed great health throughout his long life.

He was full of beans and when he retired from his laboratory technician job with the HSE at the age of 65 in 1984, he poured his energies into tending to the family half acre garden in Renmore and to travelling with his wife, Dympna. Those trips included ones to Canada to visit two of their sons and one to Minsk in Russia to search for his roots.

His father, a Russian army man who had once taken part in a guard of honour for the then Tsar, walked into Maloneys pub in Woodquay and laid eyes on the landlord’s daughter, Ellen Maloney of Moycullen, and decided she was ‘the one’.

They reared their family in Abbeygate Street. Bernard was their only son. By the time he met the love of his live, Dympna, a Dubliner, he had already been one of the first 12 schoolboy recruits into the Order of Malta ambulance corps which was established in Galway in 1938 by Professor Conor O’Malley, an eye surgeon in the old Central Hospital, now UHG. Bernard was the last surviving member of that first group of recruits.

It was through the Order of Malta that he met his future wife. She travelled to Galway with her friend, who was a member of the Order in Dublin, to take part in First Aid Competitions and it was love at first sight. Then it became a serious correspondence between Galway and Dublin until they decided to tie the knot.

They were one of the first couples to move to Renmore, then one of the first housing estates in the city, where they reared their seven children.

When his sons started taking an interest in sport, he decided to set up a soccer club in their local community and he stayed with it for years and became the club’s lifelong president. He had played a bit of soccer himself but his interests were in rugby and rowing.

He was a great mentor to young people and in fact up until he died, he remained young at heart which meant there was no such thing as an age gap when you were in his company.

Bernard, or Ber or Bernie as some called him, became the Second Officer in charge of the Order of Malta in Galway and though he had long stopped ‘active duty’ with them, he kept a keen interest and attended functions and events.

He had worked for twenty years with the hospital lab before taking up a position with the HSE and his family remember him being called to duty in the middle of the night and an ambulance coming to pick him up.

Bernard took a keen interest in everything he did, whether it was raising his family, his job or his voluntary work with the Order and the soccer.

He had a hunger for life and always appeared to have loads of energy, which was inspiring and contagious. Some have described him as having the mind of a genius, a gifted mentor or a brilliant man but everyone seems to remember him as one of life’s true gentlemen.

On his retirement he poured his energies into their half acre garden but never got around to entering for any Tidy Towns Garden competition. His reason for gardening was for its own sake as it kept him busy and beautified a garden that had been used as a playing field by his growing family until they married and moved away; two of them to Canada, two of them to England while the remaining three set down roots in Galway.

He was also proud of his ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Bernard and Dympna had enjoyed almost 61 years of marriage. They celebrated their 50th anniversary with a party in the Ardilaun Hotel and last April marked their 60th in the Connacht Hotel around the corner from their home.

Fr Des Forde, PP of Renmore celebrated Bernard’s life at the Requiem Mass where afterwards the Order of Malta and the Renmore Soccer Club provided a guard of honour before his burial in the New Cemetery.

He is survived by his wife, Dympna, his children, Patrick, Bernard, Aidan, David, Ellen, Therese and Dympna as well as his sister Ida who lives in the UK, extended family and wide circle of friends.

CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Revellers leave city in RAG order

Stephen Corrigan

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A queue assembled from early morning on Donegal Tuesday.

Gardaí in Galway recovered €8,000 worth of drugs this week in two separate seizures in Rahoon and Ballybane which they believed were destined for distribution in the city this week – as thousands of students celebrate unofficial ‘RAG Week’.

Sizable quantities of Ketamine and smaller amounts of cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy and Valium were all seized as part of the operation which took place on Friday last, February 7 and on Tuesday, February 11.

The removal of these drugs from circulation on Galway’s streets was as a result of an intelligence-led operation carried out by the Garda Divisional Drugs Unit.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said: “We believe these drugs were destined for sale and supply in Galway City this week, and as a result of this good detection, they have now been removed from circulation”.

One man was arrested following the seizures and has since been released without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP and investigations are ongoing, a Garda statement confirmed.

Meanwhile, RAG Week has resulted in a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the city – with one restaurant owner who had his windows broken calling for the colleges to take ownership of the event which they have distanced themselves from for a number of years.

The student-led event, which had been run by the Student’s Unions of NUIG and GMIT up to 2011, has become an annual unofficial week of partying – and Michelin Star-restaurant owner, JP McMahon, said the colleges need to take responsibility for changing the attitude of their students after the window of his restaurant, Aniar, on Dominick Street, was shattered on Tuesday.

“I was actually in the restaurant when it happened – it was at around 10pm and I was doing a cookery class,” he said.

Mr McMahon said he had to physically apprehend one of a group of five students to ensure that they remained at the scene until the Gardaí arrived – but none of those had been responsible for the break.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Chief Executive meets with soccer club to outline playing time options at Cappagh

Francis Farragher

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Flashback...the temporary floodlights being removed from Cappagh Park.

CITY Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath, told councillors this week that he had met with the Chairman of Knocknacarra FC to outline the situation as regards the floodlighting situation with the all-weather pitch.

“I explained to him why planning permission was needed for the use of floodlights at the pitch and also outlined a range of options available until this issue [floodlights] was resolved,” said Brendan McGrath.

He said that the soccer club had been guaranteed 34 hours weekly usage of the pitch – including eight hours on both Saturday and Sunday, with 20 of those hours free.

The remaining twelve hours were provided at a rate of €40 per hour which he said was a very reasonable charge for the facility.

“I know of similar facilities in the city where there is a charge of €100 per hour and, where they are floodlit, this rises to €120 to €130 and hour,” said Brendan McGrath. He added that annual maintenance costs at the pitch came to €10,000.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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