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Who was the divil who sold all our silver bullets?

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Date Published: {J}

Finally we appear to have arrived at the root cause of our financial crisis – somebody sold our silver bullet.

Because for the last few weeks, everyone from Michael Noonan to the Governor of the Central Bank has been forced to admit that there is no silver bullet.

There’s a rich irony somewhere that a country once riddled with bullets – literally and metaphorically – is now going down the toilet for the want of one of them, albeit a bullet made of silver.

If only rubber bullets might get us out of this mess, we could ask the British Army if they’ve any left over after pulling out of the North.

But rubber won’t do; and while the rest of the world deals in gold, we’re preoccupied with silver.

Even if we had a silver bullet, it’s hard to see how it would improve things when we’re up to our neck in hock.

In folklore, the silver bullet is supposed to be the only kind of bullet for firearms that is effective against a werewolf, witch, or other monsters.

Sometimes (not always) the silver bullet is also inscribed with Christian religious symbolism, such as a cross or the initials "J.M.J" (Jesus, Mary & Joseph) – which is precisely what we all say every time an economic ‘analyst’ opens his gob.

In political or economic-speak of course, the "silver bullet" is a metaphor for any straightforward solution perceived to have extreme effectiveness.

But are our experts confusing a "silver bullet" with a "magic bullet," the popular term for Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s newly-discovered cure for syphilis in the early 20th century. The medical breakthrough was the subject of the 1940 film, Dr Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, and prompted the metaphorical use of "magic bullet" as a powerful cure for a pressing societal problem.

It’s not implying that, in addition to our economic woes, we’re riddled with an STD.

But none of this explains why our leaders have suddenly become so preoccupied with finding our missing bullet.

Is it stuck down the back of the couch with the deeds for our negative equity homes, our dreams and the hopes of our children?

Did Bertie stick it in the safe in Drumcondra with his wad of wages when he didn’t have a bank account – and then forget where he put it?

Did Brian Cowen drop it in the bar at the Ardilaun before he became all choked up and throaty after a rousing version of the Lakes of Ponchartrain?

Or did the Little General himself, deadeye Willie O’Dea, let one off in that famous photo shoot on the rifle range – not realising at the time that it was our last one?

Because now, for the want of a silver bullet, we can’t help mortgage holders, even though we bent over backwards for the banks.

We can’t look after the education of our most vulnerable children, because we had to pay pensions to retiring politicians and bankers.

All over the country we have stalls that will value your gold for you and give you a fee bob for your jewellery in order to pay the increase in electricity prices, when all along we were putting our store in the wrong precious metal.

We should have been fashioning our silver into bullets all along – and maybe used them to burst the property bubble before it finally enveloped us all.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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