Date Published: 02-Oct-2009
BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM
Residents in the Westside have lost their planning battle against two steel ESB pylons near children’s playing areas.
Almost 100 residents of Claremont Park had appealed the decision by Galway City Council to allow the ESB to retain the two masts – which replaced previous masts in the same area – which were part of a plan to remove all lines crossing on the park at Westside.
Locals argued that the masts were erected illegally and, that they were an eyesore at twice the size of the original masts.
They also expressed concerns that the masts are close to the children’s playground and skate park and that an offer of financial compensation for the relocation of the playground was not satisfactory as it was near an area used by older children and adults.
The ESB responded that under planning law, they are entitled to alter the existing overhead line within a 40 metre ‘corridor’. They also gave a commitment that the mast on Circular Road would be relocated in the future.
Cllr Catherine Connolly – who also appealed to An Bórd Pleanála – said it would be shocking to ignore the fact that the Council had spent more than €100,000 in providing the existing play facilities.
Local environmental group Cairde na Gaillimhe voiced their support for the two appeals.
In her appraisal of the appeal, the Board’s Inspector Auriol Considine said: “I accept the fact that the location of this mast is not ideal, given its proximity to the playground, but I note that the power lines are not traversing the area, and that the mast takes the lines away from the playground. It is further true to say that the removal of the previous network of overhead lines is a welcome improvement in terms of visual amenity, and indeed health and safety for users of the sports facilities and playgrounds.”
She added that permission already existed for masts of similar size and scale, and pointed out that it was the ESB’s intention to move the mast at Circular Road. She considered the visual impact of the masts “not so significant”.
In their decision to uphold the City Council’s grant of permission, the Board said: “Having regard to the planning history of the area, and the policies of the Development Plan for the area relating to zoning and energy associated infrastructure, it is considered that the development proposed for retention would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would not be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.