Date Published: 23-Jun-2011
BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM
Business leaders in the city have said they are confident of significant spin-off investment – with the potential for hundreds of new jobs – when up to 6,000 corporate VIPs visit Galway for the ‘grand finale’ of the Volvo Ocean Race next year.
And there have been forecasts that Galway will be the first city in Ireland to recover from the recession, thanks to the potential investment, as well as the predicted €80 million direct boost to the local economy from the race.
Michael Coyle, CEO of Galway Chamber of Commerce said: “If anything, our expectations are even bigger and better than 2009. It is now a proven product and event.
“It will give a presence to the corporate world here. There is talk of around 6,000 corporate guests, who are major players worldwide, and there will be a specific emphasis of a business-to-business dimension. It will be an opportunity to showcase Galway to that community and for the business community in Galway to participate.
“This absolutely has the potential – against the backdrop of how the world economy is going at the time – to kickstart Galway’s economy. Not just through the €80m immediate financial impact of holding the 8 to 10 day event, but it has the potential to be a very significant event in terms of direct revenues and long-term corporate involvement.
“Corporate decision-makers will come to Galway next year and see the talent pool, the graduate pool, the medical devices cluster, the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) cluster, marine development and green technology.
“2009 was a stopover, so not all of the teams and sponsors were here. Despite the fantastic results, there was probably only 60%-70% in terms of corporate sponsors.
“With an immediate impact of €80m, the long-term benefits are there to be won as well. The Ocean Race can only be hugely positive for Galway,” said Mr Coyle.
The 10-day ‘grand finale’ will run from June 28 to July 7, and will see a ‘Global Village’ – twice the size of 2009’s Race Village – constructed at the Docks, with a further structure at South Park and events in Salthill also.
The event is expected to attract around one million ‘visits’ to the Global Village, which equates to around 600,000 visitors to the city.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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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