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Planners must stop spread of ‘head shops’



Date Published: 10-Dec-2009

Galway’s planners should curb the proliferation of ‘Head Shops’ – which legally sell hallucinogenic chemical and herbal drugs – from setting up in towns and villages throughout County Galway, a drugs expert has warned.

‘Head Shops’ are already open in Galway City and are acting like chemists by giving advice to youngsters on which chemical and herbal drugs they can buy over-the-counter to legally ‘get high’ – and the Gardai can do nothing about it.

The Western Regional Drugs Taskforce has warned that the ‘head shops’ will become an absolutely huge issue in Galway in the coming years if legislation is not introduced to curb the opening of such stores.

There are several ‘head shops’ already in the city and Orla Irwin of the Taskforce suggested that planning laws be used by Galway City and County Councils to prevent more of these shops from being setup in Galway and to ensure the problem doesn’t spread to every town and possibly every village in the county.

Head shops sell drug paraphernalia like t-shirts with cannabis images on them or cannabis pipes but have also been criticised for selling potentially dangerous – but totally legal – hallucinogenic herbal and chemical drugs.

A senior Galway Garda told a policing committee meeting this week that head shops are ‘very high on our agenda’ but Ms Irwin said the owners of these shops were ‘one step ahead’ of Gardai and legislators.

“Some of the drugs sold in head shops are herbal and some of them are chemical – you can have hundreds and thousands of chemicals in these shops and like a chemist they will explain to you the highs you get from each drug and the ‘comedown’ you will experience from them.

“The problem is many of these chemicals are not on a controlled list of (banned) substances and therefore the Gardai cannot do anything about it – they are legal.”

Ms Irwin told the meeting that when one pill containing a particular substance – popular with head shops – was outlawed by the State this year, the shops became resourceful and changed just one component of the pill which meant it was legal again and could be sold over-the-counter.

See Also Gardai report ‘frightening’ rise in rural burglaries

Further reports from the Joint Policing meeting on page 2 of the Connacht Tribune

  • Late-night takeaways blamed for much of drunken violence
  • Drink driving arrests fall – but ‘alarming’ alcohol levels in those caught
  • Heroin use on rise, but not a single ‘detox’ hospital bed in the West
  • Traffic tailbacks as roads are closed off – for races by horse-drawn carts
  • Residents call for an end to the worst ever car chases in Tuam

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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