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Tackling the ÔminefieldÕ thatÕs ruining stretches of our city



Date Published: {J}

You have to wonder just what Galway City Council means by the concept of residents – or indeed passers-by – taking up the notion of ‘adopting a public park’. It seemed that part of the context was to watch out for what is commonly termed ‘anti-social behaviour’.

The suggestion came up in the context of the fact that the Children’s Millennium Park, near Galway Cathedral, was left in a dreadful state one weekend recently – with litter, bottles, cans and every other sort of rubbish dumped in the area.

Not alone was it dangerous for children, who surely could not be let play in an area with bottles and glass in all directions, but, this being one of the prime districts where tourists wander when visiting the Cathedral, it was a dreadful advertisement for what Galway has to offer.

It appears that the reason the Children’s Park was not cleaned was because cutbacks meant there was no ‘weekend cover’ for cleaning . . . but what is the average member of the public expected to do when he/she sees ‘anti-social behaviour’ in the area? Certainly not intervene – unless you want to run the risk of a bottle over the head. The best anyone could do would be to ring the Gardaí on the mobile.

One would imagine that what regularly goes on in this park was some sort of well-kept secret. You wouldn’t have to be an eagle-eyed member of the public to see the drinking parties which very often commence there just after dark. Indeed, near the adjoining area for skate boarding, the ‘bush drinking’ parties can start long before dark.

There is also the problem of young adults using the swings, the seesaws and other equipment. The equipment was never meant for such abuse and no one dare intervene when ‘playtime’ begins for fullgrown adults who use this play area.

An odd foot patrol by Gardaí in the vicinity would serve to dramatically reduce the ‘bush drinking’ and abuse . . . which is doubly wrong because it is happening in, or near, a children’s playground. On Patrick’s Day the special Garda foot patrols stopped this nonsense in its tracks in this very area; Gardaí forfeited the drink in double quick time. In other words, we need an occasional Garda presence in the form of a passing foot patrol.

Of course, this isn’t the only ‘bush drinking’ which goes on under the eyes of the authorities. There are regular cider parties on the banks of the canal off Dominick Street . . . and the Mill Street Garda Station is certainly within 50 yards of one of the cider party locations. You couldn’t miss seeing the parties if you happened to glance out some of the station windows.

Thankfully, it was great to see a group of City Council workmen in action at the Children’s Millennium Park last week with a general clean-up going on, bushes and trees being trimmed, and real attention being paid to detail in getting the playground and surrounds back into the best condition possible. A pat on the back here for the workmen and for the city councillors who had highlighted the condition of the area and the need to pay attention to it.

On a more general note, one can quite understand that services such as weekend cleaning might be curtailed at a time of cutbacks, though children’s play areas sound like they might be excluded from such cuts. However, these are not the only amenities which are showing signs of neglect – whether the lack of cleaning is part of cutbacks, or not.

For more, read this week’s Galway CIty Tribune.

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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