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Under siege and Under water



Date Published: 26-Nov-2009

THE devastation caused by the flooding in various parts of County Galway could amount to a massive €60 million as insurance companies are already endeavouring to deal with the deluge of claims.

That was the initial estimate from insurers as water levels began to fall in Ballinasloe – switching the focus to south Galway where the crisis worsened over the last two days.

Farmers around Kiltartan, Ardrahan, Labane and Skehana were bearing the brunt of the appalling weather – with fears that more torrential rain is still to come.

Insurance companies are already bracing themselves for a record number of claims and already assessors have visited a number of houses and businesses which have been damaged because of the flooding.

But while water levels remain high, it may not be possible to assess some properties for damage for several days – with safety issues also of prime concern for those inspecting flood damaged houses and businesses.

It is expected that the volume of claims could run to several thousand with the vast majority of those coming from the Ballinasloe area which remains particularly badly affected by the flooding.

The business community in Ballinasloe are also counting the cost of the flooding and many fear that they will not be back trading before the busy Christmas period – such is the extent of the damage caused.

And there are demands that the Government provide an aid package for those households and businesses that are not covered for flood damage.

It is also estimated that the repair of roads as a consequence of the flooding disaster could run into several million euro as well while dozens of cars have also been damaged in the floods.

There was some relief for motorists yesterday when the main road through Claregalway reopened yesterday morning along with the Ferry Bridge in Portumna.

Major disruption was caused when these two vital links were closed for several days due to heavy flooding.

While the roads opened up on a single lane basis, Galway County Council are hopeful that flood levels will continue to reduce over the next couple of days.

Initially the N17 through Claregalway was opened for traffic travelling towards the city before the local authority put in a ‘stop and go’ system to accommodate traffic in both directions. However by 3pm yesterday, the road was fully reopened in both directions.

Diverted traffic had been encountering several hours of tailbacks coming in the Headford Road earlier in the week as motorists were advised to travel only if necessary.

There was also some good news for Ballinasloe when one of the major arteries through the town reopened on Tuesday evening.

The main bridge over the River Suck opened up for local traffic and a stop go system is in place on the slip road coming into the N6 motorway. Frank Gilmore of Galway County Council said that two sections of the new M6 motorway would continue to be used by motorists.

More on the floods and their impact in this week’s Tribune.

Page 1   Councillors demand emergency aid

                Galway’s wettest month

Page 2   Craughwell begins long road to normality

Page 8   Farmers demand ‘practical’ solutions

                ‘Grace of God’ spares Claregalway

Page 9   Relief scheme reaps rewards

Page 10 Ballinasloe businesses count the cost

                Community spirit triumphs

Page 11 South Galway relives nightmare

                Crisis shows community coverage at its best

Page 12 Ballinasloe picks up the pieces

Page 13 Mountbellew – Neighbours turn to neighbours

Page 14 Editorial – Govt. must announce relief scheme

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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