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Salthill meeting aimed at starting revival of FF’s Galway fortunes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

It might be the first major step in a Fianna Fáil revival – the party will be bringing them in from the highways and byways on June 23 as Micheal Martin addresses the assembled troops in the Galway Bay Hotel, in Salthill.

The meeting will be open to all Fianna Fáil supporters and you can be sure that it will carefully watched to see what kind of a crowd they can draw as they begin the process of rebuilding in Galway where they are now reduced to one TD in Galway West, Éamon Ó Cuív.

It will be down to Ó Cuív to bring in the maximum number of his own supporters and bus them in, if necessary – but party sources were playing down the idea of ‘big crowds’ . . . perhaps in the hope that the size of the crowd might surprise us all in the media, but also being careful, at the same time, not to create expectations that might not be met on the night.

City Councillors Mike and Ollie Crowe and Peter Keane will also be expected to play their part in bringing out the grassroots, though there is hardly a great history of people from the city attending political meetings in huge numbers. You can be sure, however, that the word has gone out that there must be a decent crowd.

Keane may now be one of those to watch out for in Galway West in the years to come, but he will have to be one of those to take the party organisation ‘by the scruff of the neck’. The run up to June 23 might not be a bad place to start if he has Dáil ambitions.

Mike Crowe ran on the ticket at the General Election and he and Frank Fahey – a TD for the best part of 30 years – were eliminated. Crowe has indicated that ‘national politics’ are on the back burner as far as he is concerned, though I would not rule out his brother Ollie, who now seems likely to be Deputy Mayor in the coming year, if the Galway Mayoral Pact agreement holds.

Fahey could always count on his own loyal supporters, but, since the election, he has dropped right out of the limelight and it will now be interesting to see how many of his loyal followers turn up on the night. For instance, Fahey had a good following for his campaign on the need for the Galway Outer Bypass and I know faithful followers of his who go right back to 1980.

In a lot of cases a significant number will be people who were intensely loyal to Fahey and were with him from that time around 1980 when the Fahey dream of ‘a TD for South Galway’ was launched. It was realised in a very short time indeed and later he moved to Galway City when a revision of the constituency meant he had to move.

 

He made minister and junior minister, but the career ended in February last when the Fianna Fáil vote in Galway West fell over 16% in a national wipeout in which hugely well known names were defeated all over the country.

However, there is a bit of a history in Galway of Fianna Fáil bringing out the attendances when they are in trouble – the night Bobby Molloy left to join the PDs, they packed defiantly into Flannery’s Hotel in big numbers.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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