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Top war correspondent Robert Fisk for Galway conference

Ciaran Tierney

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One of the most renowned war correspondents in the world is coming to Galway at the end of this month to address a two day conference which explores the issue of Irish neutrality during World War Two.

Journalist and author Robert Fisk, who is based in Beirut, was delighted to take part in ‘The Emergency: Ireland in Wartime’ conference when asked to do so by staff from the History Department at NUI Galway.

Although Fisk is best known for his frontline reports from conflicts in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Palestine, Iran and Iraq, the English-born writer is also an expert on Irish history during the 1939 to 1945 period.

Fisk (now 67) wrote a thesis about the relationship between Ireland and Britain during what was known as ‘The Emergency’ in this country when he completed a PhD in Political Science at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1983. His research inspired Fisk to write a book called ‘In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster, and The Price of Neutrality’, which is still seen as one of the most insightful books about the period 30 years on.

Voted International Journalist of the Year seven times, he will deliver the main speech of the conference – which is open to members of the public – at the Radisson Blue Hotel on Friday, June 27 (8pm). Fluent in Arabic, he has been the Middle East correspondent for The Independent for over two decades and is one of the most highly regarded war reporters in the English-speaking world.

Although best known for his expertise in the Middle East, his speech in Galway will only cover the issue of Ireland during the period 1939 to 1945. “As soon as we approached Robert, he was very amenable to coming over,” said Sean Ó Duibhir, a member of the organising committee.

“He did write what is considered to be the seminal work on Irish neutrality during this period, a book which academics continually refer back to when discussing what became known as ‘The Emergency’.” The conference has been organised in advance of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, with events, talks and film screenings taking place at NUI Galway over two days.

Events over the weekend of June 27 and 28 include a screening of ‘The Enigma of Frank Ryan’, a film relating to an Irish left-wing activist who was captured during the Spanish Civil War before being transferred to Berlin by the Nazi regime.

An exhibition, in conjunction with the Donegal County Museum, will give attendees a flavor of what life was like for ordinary Irish people during the Second World War, when rationing was implemented by the Government.

The conference takes place in the new Conference Centre at the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Research Building at NUI Galway, near the main library. Those who intend to attend Dr Fisk’s talk on the 27th are urged to get to the hotel in advance of the start time. The conference is being organised by Dr Mary Harris, Dr Mark Philbin and Sean Ó Duibhir of the History Department at NUI Galway.

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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