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March 3, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

GAA row

A meeting of the Galway County Board of the GAA was held at Murphy’s Hall, Athenry, on Sunday, Mr. W. Cannon, Tuam, presiding.

The minutes having been read, Mr. P. Burke proceeded to question an entry in them regarding a fine imposed on Mr. Murray.

Mr. Kenny: What authority have you to question the minutes? Is Mr. Burke a member of the County Committee?

Mr. Barrett (Secretary): He is not.

Mr. Burke: As a delegate I am right in questioning the minutes.

Mr. Kenny: You are not.

Mr. Burke. I am not asking you. I ask the Chairman if I am entitled to question the minutes?

Chairman: Are you here by proxy?

Mr. Burke: No.

Chairman: I do not think you have so.

Mr. Barrett: I believe a delegate has a right to question the minutes.

Chairman: At that rate, any member of the public could upset out meetings.

Mr. Kenny: I have no objection to you questioning the minutes if the Chairman permits you to speak as a delegate, and not as a member of the Board. If it bears any personal reference to you, I have no objection to you rectifying it.

Chairman: The question of personalities does not come into it.

Mr. Barrett: There are twelve or fourteen clubs affiliated. It seems strange to me if delegates from these clubs could not speak at the meetings of the County Board, especially where they are mentioned. What is the use of our meetings if they cannot?

Chairman: My opinion is that no persons outside a member of the Committee can take part in these meetings.

Mr. Kenny: Where is the use in us formulating councils if every member can take part? I say a delegate can speak if he is mentioned, but not otherwise.

Mr. Barrett: I admit all that, but there is one thing I believe, and that is, a delegate can question anything he considers necessary, but cannot vote.

Mr. Kenny: That is nonsense; if every delegate can speak, there is no use in us coming here.

Mr. Barrett: I think so.

Mr. Kenny: I do not interfere with you as a delegate. You are representing an old hurling club.

Mr. Burke: Older than Craughwell, too.

Mr. Kenny: That is questionable.

Mr. Burke: Did I propose that a vote of censure be passed on Mr. Kenny?

Chairman: You did not.

Mr Burke: I am reported as having done so.

Mr. Barrett: You are not down for proposing it.

Mr. Burke: I will get an opportunity to speak on some future occasion. By the rules of the Association any member of the Committee absenting himself from two consecutive meetings is deprived of his membership. I would like to know how many members have complied with that rule?

Mr. Kenny: I was never absent from a meeting.

The matter dropped.


Rent relief

Ballinasloe U.D. Council, on the proposal of Councillor P. Brennan, have entered into negotiations with the Royal Liver Insurance Society for a long-term loan to relieve the tenants on their housing scheme at Brackernagh.

The original loan for those twenty houses was for 15 years, five years of which have expired. This, short-term, means a rent of 7s. 6d. per week on the present occupiers – a rent which Mr. Brennan says these tenants (many of whom are workless) are unable to pay.

The Council’s object is to have the loan extended to a period of 35 years so that the present weekly rents might be reduced to a figure which the tenants could pay. Similar action with the same insurance company, was taken recently by Athlone U.D.C., which enabled them to reduce the weekly rents on their housing scheme by 2s. 6d. per week.

Hammer action

A large concrete Celtic Cross, erected a year ago at Errislannan, near Clifden, by the Connemara I.R.A., has had a large part of the upper portion knocked off. A sledge hammer must have been used, it is said, to knock away the heavy, reinforced circle under the arms of the monument. Feeling runs high in the locality concerning the present outrage and Gardaí are investigating the matter.

Waterworks scheme

A new waterworks scheme and a sewerage scheme for Ballinasloe is under discussion to cost approximately £16,000. Following the sewerage works a new boys’ national school is to be built, the plans for which, it is understood, have already been made.

Rate seizures

Mrs. Muldoon, the rate collector for the Clifden area, has with two members of the Garda Siochana, been busy during the past week making seizures in connection with unpaid rates. Notices appealing to people to pay rates have been posted far and wide. Results in the Clifden area are on the whole, said to be satisfactory.

College damage

At Derrynea District Court, before Sean MacGiollarnath, D.J., sixteen young men were charge by An Feadhmanach ONiadh G.S., Spiddal, with having on August 24, 1934, maliciously damaged the Pearse Memorial College, Rosmuc, and with having broken a window of the college. Fifteen of them pleaded guilty, and was bound to the peace for twelve months on bail of £5 each, and they were ordered to pay 10s. costs between them.

Another young man, Garda O’Mainin said, incited the others to violence and broke a window by firing a stone. He was bound to the peace for twelve months on bail of $5, fined 1s., and ordered to pay 12s compensation.

For more, read 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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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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