Date Published: 31-May-2011
As a great spokesman for his community, Francie Barrett was the perfect choice for Blood of the Travellers, a documentary in which he seeks to uncover where Travellers originated.
He teamed up with the film maker Liam McGrath who made Southpaw, the documentary on his journey to Olympic stardom in 1996 when he carried the Irish flag as a 19-years-old boxer and became the first Traveller to compete in the Olympics for Ireland.
The documentary, screened over the last two Sunday nights, is unashamedly biased towards Travellers as it captures Francie’s journey around the country gathering 40 samples from Travellers to undergo DNA testing.
This sympathetic portrait of Travellers serves as an antidote to the more sensational documentaries about Travellers, such My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which examines practices of Travellers in the UK such as “grabbing” where young men literally grab a random female for a snog.
The film focused on some of Ireland’s best known Travellers – former Tuam mayor Tom Ward; actor Michael Collins, who played Blackie Connors in Glenroe; and of course Francie.
The scientists eventually ruled out the belief that Travellers were descended from the Romany gypsies as they carry a unique DNA signature that points to deep roots in ancient Ireland.
They also found they had not originated at the time of the Famine – they could not have set up such a different DNA to the settled Irish in just five generations – and also dispelled the notion they were evicted by Cromwell and were forced onto life on the road.
The most likely hypothesis put forward is they arrived well before the time of Cromwell. Travellers were genetically isolated from the rest of the Irish population for between 1,000 and 2,000 years according to Dr Wilson.
The reason for that diversification must be cultural, he believes.
The findings may prove valuable to the Travelling community in their quest to be recognised as a distinct cultural group and could be fuel for those opposed to the criminal trespass legislation which makes it illegal for Travellers to set up camp anywhere other than a designated halting site.
For the rest of us, the programme touched on some of the thorny issues which make relations between the settled and the Travellers difficult.
According to some of the older Travellers who featured, there was “no feuding, no fighting and no violence” between families two generations ago. Francie’s great aunt Christina McDonagh recalls that farmers had great respect for Travellers and would allow them to set up camp in their fields. In those days Travellers were needed them for seasonal work.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.