Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Of Charles J Haughey and his thoughts on economists



Date Published: {J}

We have to careful about who we quote in support of any argument. And I am very conscious that in proposing to quote one Charles J Haughey – and on a question of the economy – that it is tantamount to taking a few lines of scripture from the devil himself!

Haughey was, after all, the one who went on television to solemnly address the nation on the fact that we were “living way beyond our means” . . . at a time when, though we only discovered it years later, he was ‘in hock’ massively to the banks and was developing a taste for ‘touching’ people like Ben Dunne for a few bob.

Haughey also famously once stopped his chauffeur-driven car outside the AIB at BankCentre, sent for someone in management, and handed him a cheque for half of what he owed, telling the banker that he would have to settle for it!

Like a lot of others who like to quote scripture and prescribe how we might live, he had developed the happy knack of ‘do as I say . . . not as I do’. And it was only years later that we discovered the old rogue had any number of financial secrets to hide, and others we may never find out about.

That television address to the nation might have been forgotten by now if it hadn’t been for the series Reeling In The Years, where he still regularly appears from that infamous broadcast, complete with gravelly voice, a face that would be fit for a funeral, and a message of difficult times – for everyone else!

My only other impressions of him came through a very casual acquaintance. They were of a man who loved the good times. He dressed in suits that cost thousands and made of cloth that felt ‘like a million’, he wore ties and shirts that came from a specialist house (Charvet) in Paris, and liked to have a mistress about the place.

I do know that he was quite stingy with money, kept a great bundle of it in a safe in his house, and was notorious for not carrying any cash . . . so, if he ran into an incidental expense like buying a round of drinks at a function, he would approach a colleague, borrow a hunk of money, and never pay it back! In this instance, I have the names of those who were ‘stuck’.

Reason I mention Haughey at all is that he was also famously dismissive of economists. He contemptuously remarked that they might be handy to keep outside the door if you were working on a budget, in case you needed a long-tot done!

The vast majority of economists would appear to have failed us during the run-up the financial morass in which we find ourselves at the minute.

Of course there were a few voices which – famously – are now reported to have warned that we were getting into trouble, but most seemed to believe that we might gaily carry on as we were a few years ago. Well, I don’t remember too many warnings from those lines of economists who were on radio bulletins!

Economist Dr Alan Ahearne, the special adviser to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, presents one of the more accessible messages on the disaster which befell us . . . indeed in one line last week he summed up the situation.

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

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

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads