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Oops! Hildergarde needs to watch her step as she bids for that FG ticket spot



Date Published: {J}

There are a substantial number of people who believe that the shape of the next Fine Gael general election candidate ticket in West Galway may have been decided by the fact that Hildegarde Naughton is the new Mayor of Galway.

However, she is going to have to avoid mistakes such as that of Monday night when she voted against allowing presidential hopeful David Norris to address the City Council – misreading the motion as supporting his bid for presidency.

So, she is going to have to wach her step if that ticket next time is to be made up of sitting Dail Deputies Sean Kyne and Brian Walsh, together with herself. That would be three candidates instead of the four (Kyne, Walsh, Naughton and Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames) who ran last time out.

But I am not ruling out a spirited effort by Senator Healy-Eames, who is as determined as ever that she is going to make it to the Dail and a few months ago came within a 50 vote margin when it came to one of the key eliminations which could have seen her take a Dail seat.


The thinking in some quarters in Galway Fine Gael is that the two sitting TDs – one based in Connemara (Sean Kyne) and one in the eastern side of Galway City (Brian Walsh) – together with Naughton from her west of the Corrib base in Galway City would be ‘a natural.’


But I wouldn’t mention that too loudly to the Healy-Eames camp …. why only last week the Senator announced a series of clinics to be held in places like the city, Clarenbridge and Oranmore. She hasn’t gone away you know.

Meanwhile, Hildegarde Naughton will have to put behind her the Norris fiasco and the fact that she was forced into a climbdown and apology to Councillor Donal Lyons (Independent) and Peter Keane (Fianna Fail) over remarks about re-zoning at a city council meeting, otherwise she would not have got the Mayoralty through an Independents, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael voting pact.

Assuming Naughton can steady her performance lot of this discussion in time to come in FG will centre around whether Fine Gael should have three or four candidates – last February there was a substantial internal row in FG over claims that the fourth candidate could jeopardise a second seat victory … at the time, three candidates might well have meant that Healy-Eames would have been one of the TDs.

Meanwhile, the rise and rise of Hildegarde Naughton – a shock winner in the Local Elections in 2009 – has seemed unstoppable, though she did run into problems with those city councillors.

She turned up to the Fine Gael local elections selection convention in the Salthill Hotel as a near-unknown, but secured a nomination and then polled 1,050 first preferences in the West Ward (Salthill-Knocknacarra-Claddagh), and then secured a place on the General Election ticket when she was added.

The general election showed that she was a serious contender for the future when she polled 3,600 first preferences, though she was never really in the running for a seat – this time. Now, it remains to be seen how the year goes as Mayor and whether next time out she can secure a slot on the FG ticket.

Meanwhile, though her detractors say that she has now had three outings in an attempt to be elected to the Dail, I am not writing off the chances of Senator Healy-Eames. At a crucial point in the general election count she had reached over 7,000 votes and was within a whisker of surviving to the ultimate point.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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

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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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