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The lies of Haughey continue to haunt us



Date Published: {J}

After a great deal of research, I have proved conclusively that it does someone no harm to dance on their grave. It is a pointless gesture though. Haughey’s heirs have easily outdone him, and they’re doing it to us right now.

They assure us that extending the bank guarantee is “part of its gradual phasing out”. (I suppose that’s true, in the same sense that starting it was the first step in a gradual process of stopping it.) People are getting more and more reluctant to lend us the money we need just to keep going, and the biggest idea this Government seems to have is to make the poor work for nothing.

Let’s face it, they’re an incompetent shower of bastards.

This is an unhappy country. Not because of wealth or because of poverty, but because of injustice. It’s been shown time and again that the countries with the least inequality are the happiest, yet inequality has been allowed to positively flourish here.

Occasionally it’s justified as the “dynamic” that drives the economy, but that’s self-serving nonsense. Just because a little mustard improves a sandwich that doesn’t mean you can make it even better with a canister of pepper spray.

Most of the time though no one even attempts to excuse it – why bother justifying yourself when you’re king? The simple fact of the matter is that inequality increases because the richer you are, the easier it is to become richer. So money has a tendency to accumulate in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

Is it surprising then that the market crashes? Historically this has been a (very crude and damaging) form of self regulation, a reset or “new game”. People are more equal after a crash – for the obvious reason that there’s a lot more nothing to go round, but also because they learn from the experience and for some time afterwards there is more emphasis in politics on equality and fairness.

Shortly before the Wall Street Crash, 18% of America’s wealth had ended up in the hands of just 1% of the population. After it, though, the US was a significantly more equal place, reaching record levels of fairness in the 1940s and maintaining that standard all through the ’50s and ’60s. Things really were better in the America of a few decades ago.

So can we expect a great post-Depression improvement for Irish society? I’m doubtful. In the Wall Street crash, a vast amount of money almost literally vanished because it was found to be largely imaginary, the result of accounting fictions and speculation.

Exactly the same thing happened in our construction boom of course, it was all based on fantasy house prices, but instead of letting the false money evaporate, we seem to be trying desperately to pretend it’s still real. To do so we are throwing good money after bad – and we have to borrow the good money.

People in the future are being robbed to prop up the fake wealth of our ruling 1% today!

Right now the best advice you could give your grandchildren is to be born somewhere else.

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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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