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Bishop ‘deeply upset’ by double trauma of victims

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Date Published: 01-Dec-2009

THE Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan – who was found to have correctly handled allegations of inappropriate behaviour by a priest in the Dublin Archdiocese some years ago – has said he is “deeply upset” by the trauma suffered by victims of clerical sex abuse.

Bishop Drennan, who was auxiliary bishop in Dublin between 1997 and 2005, is one of five bishops who still hold office mentioned in the shocking report by Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy.

However Bishop Drennan’s handling of one case was described as correct by the Commission of Investigation into the handling by Church and State authorities of allegations and suspicions of child abuse against clerics of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

In a statement on the report, Bishop Drennan said the survivors of sexual abuse had felt that the Church put its own protection ahead of the welfare and protection of children when abuse was reported.

“The double trauma they endured upsets me deeply. I humbly offer my apologies to all who suffered in these ways,” he said.

“My fervent desire is that, learning from this report, we will understand why Church authorities failed these people and their families and why, in the past, the Church didn’t act decisively in favour of the safety and welfare of children.

“Above all, I pray that all of those who have been hurt and abused in this sad chapter of our history will be able to move towards the healing and peace they are looking for and deserve.”

Bishop Drennan added that he wanted to assure the faithful of the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora that the highest possible training and standards apply to child welfare and safety in all parishes so that such events may never happen again.

A small band of protesters taped a poster to the door of Galway Cathedral before weekend services calling on Bishop Drennan to resign, while a lone protester, Margaretta D’Arcy, stood outside the Cathedral wearing a placard during the 8.30am Sunday Mass calling on him to respect the children of Galway and resign.

Speaking at a conference in Galway on Friday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Galway Rape Crisis Centre, Senator Ivana Bacik said the culture of cover-up evident at the highest levels in the Church caused the continuance of horrific levels of sexual abuse against children for many decades.

“The Church needs to acknowledge its institutionalfault in this. Any of those bishops named in the report as having handled child sexual abuse complaints badly, who are still in office, should now resign as a matter of conscience,” she said.

“Extraordinary levels of hard work and personal commitment are invested willingly by all of those involved in setting up and running rape crisis centres nationally. This selfless commitment shown by rape crisis centre volunteers and staff to the survivors of sexual abuse must be contrasted with the selfish, callous and cruel behaviour of clerical sex abusers and their superiors, who actively worked to protect them.”

For more on this report see page 8 of this week’s Sentinel

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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Galway have lot to ponder in poor show

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

SLIGO 0-9

GALWAY 1-4

FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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