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The ‘pretend budget’ from Govt clowns means the joke is on us



Date Published: {J}

Cowen says the EU and IMF want to ‘build on Fianna Fáil policy’. He doesn’t say exactly what they want to build, but I’m thinking it’s an enormous concrete shield like they put over the smoking ruins of Chernobyl.

That’s what this ‘bailout package’ is, when you think about it; here less to help us than to protect neighbouring countries. And like that other coffer, it seems to be crumbling already. Stuffing €85 billion into the system is a bit like trying to scare away an attacker by mooning them. A risky strategy.


If there was money to be made bringing down our banks before, now the prize is even higher. The markets smell blood. And if Ireland goes, then surely it will just be the first. For the money vultures, breaking up the euro would be like smashing the world’s biggest Piñata. Indeed that would be a pretty good way to visualise the markets in action – as blindfolded children with sticks.


Our banks are already doomed, there’s no saving them now, so all this money is really to defend the euro. We’re borrowing money therefore to prop up the economies of larger countries. How did that happen?

And to make it even more bizarre, we apparently expect the poorest to pay. This ‘pretend Budget’ will immediately reduce both the lowest wages and welfare rates. Yes we have – or had – one of the highest minimum wages in Europe. We also have some of the highest prices for the necessities of life. Which, thanks to a VAT rise, are going to go up again. Meanwhile we barely scratch the paint on the luxurious first-class carriage of our economy.

I call it a ‘pretend Budget’ because of course they can’t guarantee to pass any of this. They certainly won’t be in power for the bulk of it. With any luck, they won’t even be here for the first instalment. The country wants shot of this crowd of lying incompetents. We would be free already, had they not illegally delayed three by-elections.

Meanwhile they have failed more spectacularly than we knew a party could fail. They stood guard while the country was robbed by its own banks. They refused to take action over the runaway property boom until it was years too late.

They refused to seek help from the IMF until the EU forced them. And yet they have the audacity, the effrontery, to claim they have the right to negotiate a long term commitment on our behalf.

And not just any commitment, but one that, quite incredibly, continues to give sweetheart treatment to their wealthy friends and backers. Cuts to school funding, cuts to children’s allowance, new fees for public education, cuts to welfare, €1.4 billion off health, charges for water, and tax increases for people on the lowest pay.

But for the richest, for the sort of people who, to just take a random example, ran our banks, merely a reduction in a ridiculous benefit we were giving them (which will also affect people on quite moderate incomes) and a tax on building sites of – wait for it – €200.

This is a joke, isn’t it?


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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