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Shantalla locals furious over Cllr’s proposal to sell park to developer



Date Published: 16-Oct-2012

By Denise McNamara


A fresh row is brewing over Shantalla Park with residents rejecting a proposal from a city councillor that it should be developed into a primary health care centre with any money raised to be ring-fenced for sports facilities in the area.

Councillor Ollie Crowe (FF) said he believes there is a lot of support for a health facility to be developed on the site behind the red railings between the rear entrance of University Hospital Galway and Arch Motors on the Seamus Quirke Road.

It would be home to GPs, nurses, therapists, social workers and homecare staff and would serve to ease pressure on UHG, as well as being convenient to a very sizeable population in the area.

The land which currently has a recreation and amenity zoning would have to be rezoned by the full Council.

“This land hasn’t been used for 35 to 40 years. It’s wasteland. I’d be hoping a suitable company would come in and purchase the land, which could net a six figure sum, and this could be ring-fenced to finish facilities at St Michael’s GAA and Corrib Rangers soccer club,” he explained.

“Nobody has got any use out of it. It is the ideal location for a health care centre and would be of huge benefit for the Westside area.”

However the Shantalla Residents’ Association said it objected to the sale of public land to a private developer.

“The public has had enough of such developer-led rezoning, which has had such a disastrous outcome for the country,” fumed vice-chairman Sean O’Donnell.

“Over the past 30 years our community park has been gradually diminished by the HSE and City Hall, most recently when a new staff car park was permitted at the northern end.

“Yet more of our park’s green area is currently under threat by City Hall for a new road to replace the back entrance to the hospital, which would be required for a signalised junction currently planned to replace the Corrib Park Roundabout.”

In July 2011, the Council revealed it had been approached Dublin-based Merit Healthcare to sell the site. City Manager Joe O’Neill wrote to the four councillors in the Galway City Central electoral area for their opinions on the proposal.

Mr O’Neill promised the proposal would not compromise the use of the playing pitch, nor would it negatively impact on the development of the remaining green area for amenity use.

He said the proceeds from the sale of the land would help the Council to fund the playing pitches at Corrib Park and Westside and to pay for the upgrade of the green area behind Shantalla Community Centre.

Cllr Colette Connolly (Lab) condemned the proposal at the time, saying the real reason for selling off the land was to facilitate a new exit for the hospital.

An allotment site on a section of Shantalla Park is due to open shortly.

The proposal to rezone 1.5 acres of the park to facilitate the new back road at UHG has already been rejected by the Council’s planning strategic policy committee.

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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