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Young man was stabbed to death and left to die – Inquest



Date Published: {J}

A young Claregalway man died from multiple stab wounds – including a fatal one to the heart – in an unprovoked attack during the Volvo Ocean Race, an inquest into his death heard on Friday.

Coroner for West Galway, Dr Kieran MacLoughlin, told the family of the late Kieran Cunningham of Slievefinn, Claregalway, that at the time of his death in June 2009 the city was full of life and joy, and enjoying the fine weather, and he said that the tragic death of the 20 years old man had touched everybody.

The enquiry heard from Polish national, Jolanta Maria Zlotnik, who was in the company of Alexander Nadwodny, the convicted murderer, in the early hours of June 3, 2009.

In her deposition she stated that she had met him only twice through a Polish friend and housemate of Nadwodny’s. She said that she was at their house in Renmore the previous afternoon, where they all began drinking, and she and Nadwodny subsequently headed into the city centre at about 10pm.

They had gone to the Kings Head for one drink, and then on to Karma night club, Ball Alley Lane. She said that he was drunk as they headed to the club, and that she had steadied him by holding his hands as he passed the doormen.

She said that they kept to themselves while inside, and left when the music stopped. They were sitting on the windowsill of Logue’s shoe shop when she said a man, later identified as Mr Cunningham, told them to “f**k off” and stuck out his tongue at them – his friends disputed that he had spoken to anyone – and then crossed the road.

“He looked like he’d had too much drink … then I saw Alex running towards the guy, he was outside Hanley’s,” she stated.

“I followed Alex and grabbed him as I was convinced nothing had happened until he started to run … he had been using his hands as if he was pushing (Mr Cunningham).

“Alex said that he’d hit him three or four times; I asked if there was a fatal injury, he said he didn’t know. I panicked, Alex told me to run.”

They ran hand in hand from Williamsgate Street, up Eglinton Street, and along Mary Street where they stopped. Ms Zlotnik said that it was not until this point that she saw blood on her own and Nadwodny’s hands. They continued on to Newtownsmith, and then along the river to Bridge Street, where they got a taxi to her house in Rahoon.

“We could hear the sirens … he gave me a hug and said not to turn around,” she said.

She said that she took him back to her house in Rahoon as she was afraid he would hurt someone else if he left her side. She slept beside him on the couch and the next morning as he was getting dressed she noticed a knife falling out of his pocket – there was blood on the blade – he told her not to ask about it.

They then got a bus into the city centre and got off in Eyre Square, where they saw the Garda activity around the spot where Mr Cunningham had been attacked.

“We panicked, I asked what had he done, he kept apologising; then I saw the tent where the attack had happened and I realised he (Mr Cunningham) was dead; I knew I’d witnessed a brutal murder.”

For more. read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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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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