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Bishop aknowledges resignation may be necessary



Date Published: 23-Dec-2009

THE Bishop of Galway, Rev Martin Drennan may have to resign through his ‘guilt by association’ as a former Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin mentioned in the Murphy Report into child sexual abuse.

Bishop Drennan had said that there was no need for him to resign as he believed he had done nothing wrong and that in fact, the Murphy Report had found that his handling of one particular case involving complaints against a priest had been appropriate.

However on the Keith Finnegan Show on Galway Bay FM last Friday, Bishop Drennan conceded that his resignation might indeed be inevitable through “guilt by association” though he maintained throughout the hour long interview that he had not set out to hurt anyone, had ensured guidelines into the handling of sexual abuse allegations against the clergy introduced in 1996 were adhered to and that the Murphy Report was not critical of him at all.

“I feel different to the other four Auxiliary Bishops mentioned in the Report as my handling of one particular case was found to be correct and appropriate . . . but if there is a mass resignation called for, yes, it could come to me resigning,” he said.

Bishop Drennan served as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Dublin Diocese between 1995 and 2005 before he came to Galway as Bishop.

He is one of five Auxiliary Bishops mentioned in the Murphy Report and to date one of those bishops, Donal Murray of Limerick has announced his resignation.

On Thursday, Bishop Drennan met with the priests of his diocese for a two hour meeting where he was told parishioners needed more information and that people were asking questions, which is why he decided to talk on the Keith Finnegan Show.

He explained that as an Auxiliary Bishop he was involved in pastoral care of priests who were sick or in difficulty and was in contact with parishioners, feeding information back into the system which would help in the placing of priests in parishes etc.

He met monthly with other bishops in the diocese to discuss complaints and allegations and to ensure guidelines were rigorously adhered to but he wasn’t aware of the details of all sexual abuse allegations, though he was aware that there were a number of complaints made in the diocese.

Though he and an Advisory panel advised the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Desmond Connell, all decisions were ultimately made by the Archbishop.

“Yes, mistakes were made within the system because like all systems, there is good and bad but people did the best they could. The Murphy Report has criticised management structures which it said were inefficient as was the sharing of information and though the Report also says there was a cover-up, I don’t believe there was or that we ‘minded’ the abusers.”

He said the Murphy Report had been tough and that he was most uncomfortable with what was in it. “I feel deeply stressed and upset that the ideals we had on ordination day have been tragically ignored and destroyed and I am ashamed that some priests could do what they did.

“But I am comfortable with my own role and believe that my integrity is intact and that the Report is not critical of me. I have no regrets about my time in Dublin as I have very happy memories of those years,” he said.

He said he believed there was complete transparency within the Dublin Diocese after the Church introduced its guidelines in 1996, though he added that he wasn’t aware of the all of the abuse that had been going on or had been complained of as “information was scanty” and the ultimate decision rested with the Archbishop.

“I don’t see how the fall-out of Bishop Murray’s resignation has helped to heal or give closure to anyone. Prosecution will bring justice but vengeance doesn’t bring healing but if there is a call for mass resignation, yes, it could come to my resignation,” he said.

Bishop Drennan said that his priests supported him and that if he could continue to bring unity and be of service to the diocese, he believed his resignation wouldn’t serve any purpose.

Calls to the programme were mixed with half of the callers asking for the Bishop’s resignation.

A poll carried out through The Connacht Tribune showed that 72% of people believed Bishop Drennan should resign in the wake of the Murphy Report.

On Monday, further calls were made by a victim of clerical abuse for all bishops mentioned in the Report to resign on the grounds that they were aware of the extent of the abuse and did nothing to call a halt to it.

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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Archive News

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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