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Shoppers urged to buy local and save jobs



Date Published: 10-Nov-2009

THE campaign set up to encourage the Galway public to spend their hard-earned euro in locally-owned businesses has warned that many of the city’s independent retailers face closure in January unless business picks up.

Shop Local Galway has warned that the “vibrancy and individuality” of the city is now in the hands of shoppers, and more than 40 independent retailers in Galway City have come together to ask consumers to commit 10% of their every day spending to locally owned businesses.

“Christmas is fast approaching and there are a number of retailers who, should they not have a reasonable Christmas in terms of sales, will not make it past January 2010,” warned businessman and Galway City Councillor, Neil McNelis.

“This is a very real fact that will alter the Galway we love. In turn this will seriously affect our tourism industry as it is these independent retailers who contribute to the vibrancy and individuality of Galway. As well as this the loss of jobs in these businesses may lead to social problems for Galway,” he said.

According to Shop Local Galway, locally owned businesses contribute three times more to the local economy than large corporate chains, and says that in these “challenging times it is more important than ever to support local and individual businesses in the area in order to protect the jobs they provide in Galway”.

The group lists six main reasons to shop locally the first of which is to help protect the “unique character and diversity of Galway”.

Other reasons given include the fact the local businesses are enormously generous supporters of local charities; are more environmentally sustainable; and the money spent in local shops stays local.

“We are asking the people of Galway to recognise the value to be had in your local and independent retailers throughout the year and most especially in the run up to Christmas,” says Judy Greene of Judy Greene Pottery.

“Local retailers are aware that there are great bargains to be had in chain stores and we are in tough times where every cent counts for people. There are beautiful gifts to be bought at excellent price points in local retailers.

“Also, independent retailers are competing with the large chains in terms of prices for coffee, newspapers and books which makes it sensible to shop local. We ask that if there are shops you enjoy visiting locally please give them your business when possible as we cannot expect them to be there when we need them otherwise,” she said.

The Shop Local Galway group lists a number of ways in which people can commit 10% of their daily spend locally, such as buying a newspaper from the local newsagent rather than a supermarket; go to your local butcher/fishmonger; and scan local newspapers for sales, or sign up for regular direct updates from the local shops.

Another matter which people are being asked to consider is to use cash in making purchases rather than credit cards – Shop Local Galway says a merchant must pay fees on a credit card transaction which may eat up what would have been their profit on the sale, and by paying in cash rather than credit card, the purchaser will also be able to better manage their finances.

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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