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Motorway protestors claim victory



Date Published: 22-Oct-2009

Angry locals living along the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road have given a cautious welcome to a promise by the company constructing the motorway that they will set up a new unit to address the complaints of land and homeowners on the route.
A series of public protests by almost 300 people over the course of last Thursday and Friday forced the hand of the parties behind the road, which is due to officially open in early January, following months of discontent.
The protestors – many of whom took time off work to participate – took to blockading ongoing work on the motorway as a last resort to ensure their complaints are heard and addressed by N6 Construction Ltd, N6 Concession Ltd, Galway County Council and the National Roads Authority.
Their issues include hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage to property and vehicles, the destruction of stone walls, local roads left in a state of disrepair and serious disruption to farm life for a number of landowners.
The protests, which were led by Senator Ciaran Cannon, Cllr Tim Broderick and Cllr Michael ‘Mogie’ Maher began last Thursday afternoon with a blockade of a tarmacadam plant at Cappataggle.
On Friday morning, 150 people again turned out to Cappataggle, amongst them Fianna Fáil TD Frank Fahey and Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames, while a further 100 protestors gathered at Lisheenkyle.
Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, Senator Cannon said representatives from N6 Construction Ltd and N6 Concession Ltd were “genuinely taken aback” at the number of people and the level of anger they encountered amongst the protestors.
“They did not expect the level of discontent that they encountered and they were genuinely surprised and taken aback by the crowd they were faced with, particularly on Friday morning,” he said.
In response to the protest, representatives from both N6 Construction and N6 Concession Ltd and Galway County Council agreed to meet in Cappataggle Community Centre with members of the local community and representatives from the Irish Farmers’ Association.
Following a lengthy discussion over the course of four hours on Friday afternoon it was agreed that a new unit would be established with the specific brief of addressing the problems of local people. The unit will be based at Athenry and will be staff by three full-time engineers and a number of administration staff.
In addition to this, a schedule has been drawn up for weekly meetings between road and local representatives to continue to work through the issues and they have pledged they will ensure every problem is resolved before the road opens if possible.
Senator Cannon yesterday said the feeling amongst locals was one of optimism, but he said they were still on “high alert” and they would be prepared to protest again if the commitment was not honoured.
“It now remains to be seen if they can be trusted to honour the commitment they have made. We will see if the weekly meetings are held and if progress is made, but we are still on high alert and we will be back on the road if people are unhappy,” he said.

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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