Date Published: 09-Jan-2013
A parish priest who was assaulted by raiders after he foiled an attempted theft of heating oil and copper from a church in East Galway has described his assailants as “cowards”.
Fr Christy McCormack, the Parish Priest of Fohenagh and Killure, was fortunate to escape serious injury after being punched in the face from behind by one of three robbers who were attempting to steal heating oil from Fohenagh Church in the early hours of Monday morning.
The attack has shocked the small community of Fohenagh, and Galway Gardaí have renewed their appeal to the public to be vigilant as roaming criminal gangs continue to stalk the countryside and prey on ‘easy targets’ in rural, remote areas.
It is the second raid on Fohenagh Church in a month; and oil heating thieves also struck Fohenagh National School over Christmas, which is a few hundred yards up the road.
Pupils there had to be sent home on Monday for health and safety reasons when they returned from the Christmas break to find that the home heating oil had been stolen. In all up to €900 worth of oil was taken from the church and school over Christmas.
This callous attack on a priest is the latest in a series of thefts of home heating oil in rural areas of the county; and another attack on Catholic churches in Ireland which, following thefts of sacristies in Limerick and Tipperary over the festive period, appear to be seen as ‘soft targets’ by gangs.
“We would appeal to people in rural areas to be vigilant and to report any suspicious or unusual activity to your local Garda station. We would urge people if possible to get the registration numbers of vehicles,” a Galway Garda spokesperson said.
It is the second attempt at stealing oil from Fohenagh church in the past month. On December 13, the church received delivery of a half-tank of oil but just two weeks later the tank was bled dry by thieves.
Fr McCormack then decided to move the tank to a more secure area within the church grounds.
See full story in this week’s Connacht 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
Charlie McGettigan returns to The Forge
Date Published: 02-May-2013
Charlie McGettigan makes a very welcome return visit to the West this Friday for a much anticipated gig in The Forge, Moycullen. Also appearing on the night is award winning quartet We Banjo 3.
A native of Donegal, Charlie McGettigan’s musical career started in the 1960s when he played in various rock bands before moving to Dublin to hone in on the thriving folk scene there at the time. On moving to Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, in 1973, Charlie formed the highly rated Jargon group which enjoyed good success including winning the prestigious Letterkenny Folk Festival award.
Charlie has worked with artists like Maura O’Connell and Eleanor Shanley who both recorded many of his songs including ‘Feet of a Dancer’ and ‘A Bed for the Night’. In 1994 Charlie joined forces with Paul Harrington and writer Brendan Graham to memorably win the Eurovision song contest with the classic ‘Rock n Roll Kids’.
Still based in Drumshanbo, Charlie combines his work as a popular presenter on Shannonside / Northern Sound radio with his music career and his latest album entitled ‘The Man from 20’ features collaborations with the likes of Niall Toner, Maxi and Paul Gurney.
Also on the bill is We Banjo 3. Comprising two sets of brothers, this Galway band is quickly obtaining a name for itself as one of the most exciting acts around. Highlights to date include a much lauded set at the Milwaukee Irish fest and also ‘CD of the Week’ in the Irish Times. Collectively, We Banjo 3 have been at the forefront of Irish banjo and fiddle for two decades and between them they have won a host of All Ireland music titles.
So expect top class entertainment on the night with music and song guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get your feet tapping.
Charlie McGettigan and We Banjo 3 play The Forge, Moycullen, this Friday at 8.30pm. Tickets costing just €12 are available now on 091-868944.
Local kids work together to organise charity sports day
Date Published: 14-May-2013
By Pádraic Ó Ciardha
A group of 10 young friends from Maunsells Park have come together to organise a fundraising event in aid of The National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI).
The Maunsells Minis, who are between 7 and 13 years of age, are made up of Caitriona Carty, Brian and David Lennon, Lucille and Juliette Destrade, Amy and James Keaney, Anna, Saoirse and Seán Burke. The youngsters are organising the day of activities under the guidance of Karen Roberts, from the NBCRI.
The event takes place this coming Saturday, May 18, from 11am to 5pm on the Maunsells Park green. The activities planned for the day include sporting events as well a number of craft demonstrations.
“The Residents’ Association at Maunsells Park were looking for a kind of family outing to open the park, and the kids love sport so it developed into this lovely idea,” explained Ms Roberts.
The 10 children have been integral to the whole operation coming together, according to Ms Roberts
“They’re better than any committee I’ve ever been on. They attend all the meetings and they set the agenda. They’ve made the flyers and hand-delivered them around the local area and in town.”
As well as the general races and other events, Rugbytots will be putting on a rugby training clinic for children between the ages of 3 and 5.
Aside from the sporting activities, the local Girl Guide and Scout troops will be holding a demonstration on the green. There will also be a schoolbag clinic and sidewalk chalk drawing. The Maunsells Minis have even organised raffle prizes which can be won on the day. Food and refreshments will also be made available to those in attendance.
The event has been supported by a number of local businesses, including Gourmet Tart Co, Evergreen Westside, Smyths Toys, Michelle McDonough Beauty Rooms, Andrea Concannon and Ryans Home Store. The Maunsells Minis have painted individual posters for each of the event’s sponsors.
The official opening of the green takes place at noon and it is hoped that members of the Galway camogie team will be in attendance along with representatives of the NBCRI.
Children between the ages of 3 and 13 are all welcome to participate in the events and admission is €5. Entrance for those over 13 years of age is €2. Registration for the activities takes place between 11am and 12.15pm. All monies raised will go towards supporting the research team at the NBCRI, which is based in NUI Galway.