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September 15, 2011

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

1911

Police force

The superior officers of the large force of extra police in Athenry have been at their wits end for a long time past to procure employment for the large number of men at their disposal, and light should be thrown on some of the things which are taking place.

Nothing in the nature of agrarian disturbance has existed in the Athenry district for the past 12 months, and three are no grass ranches to be protected, still the huge force is retained in the town. To give some idea of how police find employment, we may just refer to some of the items.

The Department of Agriculture own a few acres of land near the railway station which is the object of police attention during the night. This is number one. Then Dr. Quinlan, who gave evidence in the Craughwell murder case, also receives the close attention of police at night.

The latest burden placed on the shoulders of police is the station master at Athenry, who receives police protection the whole night long.

Police protection in Athenry is a big thing, and the ratepaying community know little of how it affects them. For each of the cases above mentioned a strong patrol goes out at dusk, and lies in ambush near the place, and a strong patrol means three policemen, a sergeant with a double-barrelled shotgun, and two constables with magazine rifle.

Thus, for the three cases above mentioned, nine police go out at dusk, and have to be relieved later in the night by nine fresh men, who remain vigilant until dawn, so that practically for these few cases, work is found for 18 policemen for one day’s work as the men engaged in night duty are exempt from day duty. Working out a financial burden on the ratepayers for these 18 men, we have a sum of £720 per annum on the rates.

This is not even the entire cost of this strong patrol system, because a head-constable had to inspect these strong patrols, and in order to add importance and dignity to the deed, he is accommodated with a transport car.

1936

Safety first

The traffic problem which daily grows more complicated cannot be solved from the angle of the motorist alone. It must be approached from the pedestrian angle. The plan of the Saorstat Government to have all school children instructed in simple precautions in regard to traffic dangers is commendable.

The Local Government Department and the Department of Education have combined in this scheme, and 300,000 copies of a specially prepared leaflet have been distributed to the schools.

Teachers have also been requested to give talks on road caution. It is stated that during the past five years, 223 children were killed and over 3,000 injured in road accidents in this country.

If children acquire the habit of care on the streets and roads that habit will live with them and one of the chief sources of danger will thus be removed.

Fatal fall

A plasterer from Lower Abbeygate-street, Galway, fell a distance of fourteen feet from a skylight at Mr. McCambridge’s premises in Shop-street, on Thursday and died in the Central Hospital that evening as a result of injuries received.

It appears that the man was doing plastering work near the skylight in the morning, and he is said to have slipped and fallen to a yard below, a distance of fourteen feet. He was seriously injured about the head, and was immediately attended by Dr. J.J. Watters and Rev. P. Glynn, C.C., College House, Galway.

An ambulance was called and the injured man was removed to the always Central Hospital, where he died at 5.45, without having regained consciousness.

Missing sheep

Sixty-one sheep have disappeared from a County Galway farm and no trace can be found of them in any part of the country. Guards and detectives are making widespread enquiries, ports are being watched, but no information has yet been received about the sheep.

They belonged to Mr. Patrick Furey, Co.C., Currandulla, and were, it is stated, on the lands on Tuesday night. They were gone the following morning. Fairs were watched and enquiries made from sheep dealers. It is believed that this robbery on a high scale was well organised. Investigations are still going on.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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