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School closes to applicants until 2017



Date Published: 18-Dec-2009

THE most popular secondary school in the city is bursting at the seams and has closed to further applications as they have filled their student places for the next seven years.

Coláiste na Coiribe, the city’s first and only Irish language post primary school, is already processing over 1,500 applications for school years starting from next September until September 2017 – in fact some families have booked children’s names up until 2022.

And yet the most popular school in the city still doesn’t know when its new premises in Knocknacarra is to be built or whether it will cater for 550 or 700 pupils.

School principal, Tomás Mac Phaidin, stresses that the Minister for Education and Science must provide adequate post primary facilities for Coláiste na Coiribe to enable it to accommodate all students looking to continue their education through Irish.

The school, which for the past 17 years has been in various temporary accommodation, namely at a former primary school building on the Tuam Road, continues to be popular for a number of reasons, according to Mr Mac Pháidin.

“There are a number of reasons why parents decide on a school, but primarily it is to do with the Irish language . . . but it could be because of our good Special Needs facility or maybe it’s our consistently good results.

“Our situation here is far from ideal with no proper facilities forcing us to rent places around the town but maybe because of that the teaching staff has always believed in the ‘making do’ and that despite the lack of practical facilities on the premises we still get great results.

“Most of our pupils come across town therby increasing traffic and pollution, but until our new school is built we can only take 60 first year pupils a year. Our new school will cater for either 90 or 120 first year pupils each year subject to the Minister’s final decision regarding school size,” he said.

The bigger the school, the more facilities the premises would have in this Public Private Partnership, which plans to build a total of five new schools around the country.

Coláiste na Coirbre got outline planning permission for the school on the six acre site north of the Fana Burke estate off the Western Distributor Road last year, but with only 21 months left until that runs out, Mr Mac Pháidin is getting concerned that the process is not moving fast enough.

He admits that there are very few schools in the country with such a high waiting list but hopes that the Minister will make a final announcement in January on the school size and allow the planning and building process to begin properly.

He has also asked parents to lobby their local TDs and other public representatives to hasten the process.


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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