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Silly season arrives as Ó Cuív gets begging letter from Kenny



Date Published: 04-Aug-2010

It’s only a few weeks ago I was telling you about that social cup of tea in Leinster House involving Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny TD and Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish – and assuring you that there was no political ‘hanky panky’ going on.

In case too much was made of it, Grealish went very firmly on the record as insisting there was no ‘footsie’ between him and Fine Gael. He merely stopped to congratulate Enda Kenny on surviving the heave against his leadership that week, and was invited to have a cuppa.

What gave the story ‘legs’ was that Kenny was interviewed on local radio and told Keith Finnegan on Galway Bay FM that, if the voting situation was tight in the next Dail after the General Election, then Kenny was sure that he would be able to work with Noel Grealish as an Independent TD, if the need arose.

One thing is sure, Fine Gael must know that their chances of wooing FF Minister Eamon Ó Cuív – or indeed getting money out of him for Fine Gael! – are nil.

So, can we take it that it was through ‘divilment’ that they sent Ó Cuív a letter asking him would he like to make a contribution to FG …… along with a personal support plea from Enda Kenny?

I mean, this is the grandson of Eamon de Valera – known as ‘Dev Og among his adoring supporters in Connemara. Fine Gael may be prepared to take money for developers (oops!), but they must know that FG going to Ó Cuív for a contribution would be like trying to draw blood from a stone.

Goodness knows what Lucinda Creighton TD would make of it – bad enough looking for the few bob from the builders on the golf course, but ‘putting the bite’ on ‘Dev Óg’ really is too much.

The ‘surprise packet’ in the form of a begging letter addressed to Ó Cuív’s home in Cornamona arrived last week. It was addressed to Eamon Ó Cuív (Minister), Baliedoolagh, Corr na Mona, Co. Galway, with a slogan emblazoned across the top of the envelope which read – Fine Gael National Collection.

My suspicion is that the letter was sent by someone at Mayo County Council level, for the letter carried the photos of FG members of Castlebar Town Council and Mayo County Council ….. the near-neighbours of Ó Cuív at his Cornamona north Connemara home base.

Ó Cuiv might have choked on his cornflakes on reading the message under a photo of Enda Kenny, which read: “The past few weeks have been very eventful in the national political arena. The one message that is clear to me from meeting the public is that they want a change of government, as soon as possible.

“Fine Gael has responded to this by developing the type of policies that will help get Ireland moving again. We have the people and the message needed to remove the current Fianna Fail/Green Government from office but this will not occur until the next General Election.

“I have received many messages of support over the past few weeks and I wish to thank those who contacted me or my constituency office. It is truly appreciated and that level of encouragement strengthens my intention to lead and form the next government.

“That is why I need your help to prepare for the next General Election that will make that happen. I promise you that Fine Gael has what it takes to rebuild our economy, create jobs and tackle the issues facing the public on a daily basis. We will not let you down,” Kenny added.

I have to say that, from talking to him, Ó Cuív saw the joke. Well, it was a joke, wasn’t it or do FG think that the FF TDs are that desperate?

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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