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Costs of stray horses roundups force cuts in city services

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Date Published: {J}

BY DARA BRADLEY

A TOTAL of 109 wandering horses have been ‘lifted’ in joint Garda and local authority swoops on city housing estates in the past 18 months.

The impounding of horses is estimated to have cost Galway City Council €80,000 during that period and will surpass €100,000 by the end of this year if the problem persists.

This week, Gardaí and specialist contractors hired by the City Council captured nine roaming horses in two separate operations – seven animals were ‘lifted’ in a swoop on an estate in Ballybane on Monday night and two more were taken in a dawn raid on Wednesday, also in Ballybane.

The ‘lifts’ had been planned for some time and were not related in any way to the grim discovery on Monday morning of a dead horse in Ballybane near a children’s playground at Glenbawn, which provoked revulsion among the local community.

The Galway City Tribune understands further raids are planned in the coming weeks, as the Council continues its clampdown on horses roaming and grazing in public areas, posing a health and safety risk. The problem of roaming horses has soared this year, according to a spokesperson for the City Council’s housing department.

The Council allocated €40,000 to the problem in 2011 but this budget has already been spent and it must cutback or save in other areas to enable it to continue to impound roaming horses for the remainder of this year. Council figures reveal 47 horses have been impounded so in the city in 2011, a figure which includes this week’s nine. This compares with 62 for the whole of 2010.

The problem is not confined to Ballybane and is widespread across the city with horses seized in operations carried out in Carrowbrowne, Bóthar na Tréibhe, Rahoon, Westside, Headford Road, Ballybrit and Knocknacarra this year.

The horses are transported to a pound in Urlingford, Kilkenny, and owners are given seven days to reclaim the animals. If they are not collected, the horses are re-homed or destroyed. None of the 47 Galway horses brought to Kilkenny this year, and just four of the 62 last year, have been reclaimed. Information on how many of these were re-housed or put down is not available.

The impounding of each horse costs €500 plus VAT, as well as €25 plus VAT per day in the pound. Owners are also liable for fines.

“It is cheaper to buy a new horse than to reclaim a horse that has been impounded,” speculated the City Council spokesperson, when asked why they are not reclaimed.

Councillor Declan McDonnell (Ind) urged the Council to tackle the source of the problem. He said it was not right that Council tenants are using their back gardens, sheds and garages to house horses, which breached their lease agreements.

“It’s okay to impound the horses is but the problem keeps coming back – you impound nine today and there’s nine more there the next day. The Council needs to get to the root of the problem and evict tenants who are breaking tenancy agreements,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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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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