Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Kenny ”puts the cat amongst the pigeons”



Date Published: {J}

That national opinion poll at the weekend showing a significant rise in the level of support for Fianna Fáil, will have caused some head-scratching in the ranks of Fine Gael – but out in Galway East the cause of talk has been Enda Kenny’s promotion for Senator Ciaran Cannon.

The promotion was revealed in a communiqué from Fine Gael HQ headed “Kenny appoints Cannon as Seanad Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs.”

But coming from Enda Kenny, as a politician who is completely attuned to the ways of things down in the constituencies among the ordinary rank-and-file backbencher Dáil Deputies, the Fine Gael leader must have known that in Galway East it would “put the cat amongst the pigeons” in a big way.

For, in Fine Gael ranks in Galway East, relationships have been somewhat strained in the months since former Progressive Democrat Leader Senator Cannon was admitted into Fine Gael – with whispers in the background that when FG were courting Cannon to join up the FG ranks, FG handlers gave Cannon some sort of undertaking that he would be on the Fine Gael ticket in Galway East at the next General Election.

For instance, it is hardly likely that the camp followers of long-serving FG Dail Deputy Ulick Burke – who operates in the same neck of the woods in the Galway East constituency as Senator Cannon – would be sending congratulatory bouquets in the direction of Cannon. He surely must be seen as a long-term threat to the Burke seat in the southern end of Galway East constituency.

The rivalry between Burke and Cannon was behind that rather publicised ‘spat’ between Ulick Burke and Enda Kenny which took place at a Fine Gael Parliamentary Party meeting. Admittedly, that was some time ago now, but in my opinion it showed the strength of the determination of the Burke camp to fight-off any challenge from Cannon to a seat which Ulick Burke first contested way back in 1981, when he got 4,300 first preferences. He stood at four elections in the eighties.

Burke was first elected to the Dáil in 1997, lost the seat in 2002 and regained it in 2007 – so he has been ‘been through the winger’ for Fine Gael in a four-seater where that second FG seat has almost always been ‘touch and go’. Having come up the hard way over all those years, it is difficult now to blame him for fighting like a tiger for his electoral bailiwick.

Cannon, who got 3,200 first preferences as a PD in the 2007 General Election, passed his first electoral test for Fine Gael in the June Local Elections when he succeeded in getting his chosen candidate, Michael Mogie Maher, elected to an FG seat in Galway County Council. That test also showed, not for the first time, that Cannon can put a formidable machine into an electoral contest.

However, first let’s get that official press release regarding Cannon’s Senate spokesman appointment – from the national FG press office – out of the way. It said: “Fine Gael Party Leader, Enda Kenny, today (Thursday) announced the appointment of Senator Ciaran Cannon as the party’s Seanad Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs.


Speaking following the appointment Enda Kenny was quoted as saying: “Senator Cannon will bring a wealth of experience to this portfolio and I am confident he will have great success in his new role. I know that Senator Cannon is looking forward to working with his Fine Gael colleagues in the Senate and making an impact nationally and locally on this important issue.”

For more, read page 12 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading