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Ó Cúiv most vocal in Dáil – but silence is golden for Grealish

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Date Published: 23-May-2012

Deputy Éamon Ó Cúiv may have dominated column inches in the media in recent weeks but the Galway West TD has also made over twice as many contributions to Dáil debates as any other Galway TDs, according to new figures.

The new figures reveal the number of contributions made by Galway TDs in Dáil debates up until May 9 and show which TDs were the most active contributors. Although the contribution records cannot be said to reflect a TD’s overall performance, they do show that some of Galway’s TDs are much more vocal in the Dáil than their constituency counterparts.

While the figures record how many contributions individual TDs have made, they don’t necessarily show the inherent value of their input. Obviously, there is no direct correlation between the quantity of the contributions and the quality thereof, but the figures do show a marked difference in approach from the county’s different representatives.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cúiv clocked up 184 contributions, making 131% more contributions than the average TD and he made more than twice as many contributions as Deputy Colm Keaveney, the next highest contributor from Co Galway with 88 contributions.

One reason for Deputy Ó Cúiv’s high number of contributions was that his former position as Deputy Leader of Fianna Fail resulted in his involvement in Leaders’ Questions debates.

At the other end of the spectrum was Galway West TD, Deputy Noel Grealish. The independent deputy made just seven contributions over the same period, which corresponded to a somewhat underwhelming 9% of the average contributions per TD.

The Government TDs from Galway West recorded more contributions than Deputy Grealish but came nowhere close to emulating Deputy Ó Cúiv’s figure. Fine Gael’s Deputy Sean Kyne made 23 contributions to come out just ahead of party colleague Deputy Brian Walsh’s 19 contributions. Labour’s Deputy Derek Nolan made just 16 contributions in total.

Labour Deputy Colm Keaveney led the way for the Galway East constituency, making 88 contributions to leave him 10% more vocal than the average TD. He was closely followed by Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills, Ciaran Cannon, who made 74 contributions. The latter’s Fine Gael party colleague Deputy Paul Connaughton made 30 contributions.

Leas Cheann Chomhairle Michael Kitt made 593 contributions in his official capacity.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Gilligan lands Thyestes Chase as Jadanli returns to form in spectacular fashion

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Date Published: 31-Jan-2013

Galway’s most successful trainer of recent years emerged from a prolonged spell in the doldrums in spectacular fashion last week when stable star Jadanli triumphed in the €80,000 Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, one of the most prestigious handicap chases in the Irish racing calendar.

Craughwell-based Paul Gilligan had endured a lengthy lean spell since the heady victories at the Cheltenham and Fairyhouse festivals in the Spring of 2010, but the ex-invalid Jadanli had him beaming with delight as he floored odds of 25/1 when hanging on by a head from another long-shot, Tarquinius, in a frantic finish to the annual showpiece at the Kilkenny venue.

It was Jadanli’s second time in the big race limelight as he had won one of the most important novice chases of the season, the Power Gold Cup, at Fairyhouse three years ago after overcoming a serious tendon injury.

“He’s had plenty of problems. Any time you get a horse back after problems, it’s an achievement in itself. He came back from leg trouble to win the Power Gold Cup, too,” reflected a thrilled Gilligan.

The only Grade 1 winner in the field and, at 11, the veteran contender, Jadanli put a hugely disappointing run in the Welsh Grand National in his previous outing behind him in dramatic fashion when taking up the running heading to the second-last fence and going clear over the last.

But it required all his battling qualities to edge out the gallant runner-up after a nerve-tingling battle up the home straight. A mistake from Tarquinius at the third-last had given Jadanli and Andrew Lynch the upper hand and he just managed to hold on by a head from the renewed challenge of Gordon Elliott’s grey in an absorbing finish to the three mile, one furlong contest in testing conditions.

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

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