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Profligate days over as it’s back to the old ways to secure car loans



Date Published: {J}

Times may change but priorities amongst young people don’t vary much and the lure of owning their first car is one that is certainly one that figures in the top five of wish lists. So great is the desire at the moment to own a car – preferably a modified one – that even Leaving Cert students are mobile now.

The only difference between now and say 20 or 30 years ago is that younger people seem to have more access to money and of course this was evidenced by what happened in the Celtic Tiger era when the country seemed to have more money that they knew what to do with it. We were nearly tripping over the stuff.

Many moons ago when the desire of owning a car sent the pulses racing, I was earning a bit of money, had got the hang of the three point turn, dreamed of driving the highways and byways of County Galway with the elbow stuck out of a rolled down window and excitedly embarked on the quest for a dream machine that was within my budget.

It was not a sort of decision that could be done in a day, a week or even a fortnight at the time. A lot of consideration had to be given to this monumental purchase as it was about to be the biggest financial outlay since the acquisition of a Duran Duran LP. This was serious stuff and one that couldn’t be treated with any small degree of complacency.

Once the heart was set on the sky blue two door Opel Kadette, there was no going back. This was the ultimate babe machine and it was only a matter of signing on the dotted line . . . well, once the finances had been sorted out, of course. The delirium of owning my first car was soon replaced by a sense of deflation and humiliation when I went to source the two grand or so needed for the purchase.

My options were finance houses which cost the earth in interest rates or my local bank or credit union. I opted for the friendly bank and, not having an account apart from one in the post office, I duly made an appointment to see a chap with a grey suit in the naïve belief that he would hand over the loot on the spot, I would agree to make monthly repayment and I would drive off into the sunset.

Instead the middle aged man behind the desk, who greeted me with a scowl and never looked up during the course of our conversation, told me two dozen reasons why he couldn’t give me the loan and as many more about why I shouldn’t be asking for it in the first place. He told me the implications about missing a repayment . . . how I would be hauled before the courts and be humiliated in front of my friends, family and neighbours.

In the end he said that in order to obtain the loan, I would need people of substantial property or savings to act as guarantor in the event of me welching on the deal, losing my job or leaving the country never to be seen again. There were times that I felt as if I as asking him for money out of his own wallet. I felt as if I was begging for it.

Having left that bank both a chastened and almost frightened young man, the funds were eventually sourced in a credit union without any hassle but the good had been taken out of the transaction. It was for these same reasons that anyone buying a house at the time had to source their finance from Galway County Council at monumental interest rates because the banks were saying no.

For more, read page 12 of 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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