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Connacht Tribune

Mystery of the missing workhouse master

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David Broderick at the grave of Henry and Mary Jane Ogle in Woodlawn, New York. Painstaking research led David to the final resting place of the former Master of Portumna Workhouse who disappeared without trace in 1865.

Lifestyle – Historian David Broderick has delved into the history of Portumna Workhouse and its strange Master, Henry Ogle, in order to give a voice to those forgotten people who were forced to seek shelter in this unforgiving institution. JUDY MURPHY hears about Ogle’s mysterious absconsion from Portumna and how David tracked him to his final resting place in New York.

Some people’s passion for history is ignited by dates and battles but it’s the stories of ordinary people – many of them long forgotten – that drive David Broderick.

They’ve inspired his first book, Finding Ogle: The Mystery of the Disappearing Workhouse Master, an account of the life and mysterious disappearance of Henry Ogle, who served as Master of Portumna Workhouse from 1850 until he absconded from his post and Portumna in June 1865.

Workhouses were harsh and hated institutions, the last resort of the penniless and starving. And, under Ogle’s watch, Portumna’s was one of the worst-run anywhere in the British Isles.

The building now houses the Irish Workhouse Centre and David, from nearby Lorrha in North Tipperary, spent two summers working there in 2017 and 2018.

While his day job is as a sports therapist, David is “an avid historian” in his spare time and has a Diploma in Local History from Maynooth University.

His interest stems from childhood. David grew up beside a 12th century tower house, Lackeen Castle, and it piqued his interest from youth.

“But we never knew who lived there; we knew nothing about it,” he says. That frustrated him, but on the Maynooth course, he learned about the resources available to people interested in researching local history.

His time as a guide in the Irish Workhouse Centre was a great experience, but David felt something was missing.

Large parts of the imposing and austere building, which officially opened in 1852 have been restored, giving visitors an insight into conditions in which inmates lived. However, when it came to information about those people, little was available.

“We have the building and a general history of workhouses in Ireland but we don’t have many of the records available to us,” he says referring to the records of the Poor Law Unions – the boards that ran the workhouses.

David researched newspapers of the day for accounts of inquests and inquiries relating to inmates – one of the most moving is that of Bridget Corbett, a 72-year-old widow who took her own life by falling from the top floor of the women’s block to the yard below, dying some days later.

It was “incredible” to read her story at first-hand, he says.

David has documented that and similar stories, thanks to his fascination with Henry Ogle, whose sudden disappearance from Portumna in 1865 left the area baffled.

“I zoomed in on Ogle because I felt through him, I could tell the smaller stories of people who had been less significant in terms of being recorded,” he explains.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest

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Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway minors continue to lay waste to all opponents

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Galway's Aaron Niland is chased by Cillian O'Callaghan of Cork during Saturday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Stephen Marken/Sportsfile.

Galway 3-18

Cork 1-10

NEW setting; new opposition; new challenge. It made no difference to the Galway minor hurlers as they chalked up a remarkable sixth consecutive double digits championship victory at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

The final scoreline in Thurles may have been a little harsh on Cork, but there was no doubting Galway’s overall superiority in setting up only a second-ever All-Ireland showdown against Clare at the same venue on Sunday week.

Having claimed an historic Leinster title the previous weekend, Galway took a while to get going against the Rebels and also endured their first period in a match in which they were heavily outscored, but still the boys in maroon roll on.

Beating a decent Cork outfit by 14 points sums up how formidable Galway are. No team has managed to lay a glove on them so far, and though Clare might ask them questions other challengers haven’t, they are going to have to find significant improvement on their semi-final win over 14-man Kilkenny to pull off a final upset.

Galway just aren’t winning their matches; they are overpowering the teams which have stood in their way. Their level of consistency is admirable for young players starting off on the inter-county journey, while the team’s temperament appears to be bombproof, no matter what is thrown at them.

Having romped through Leinster, Galway should have been a bit rattled by being only level (0-4 each) after 20 minutes and being a little fortunate not to have been behind; or when Cork stormed out of the blocks at the start of the second half by hitting 1-4 to just a solitary point in reply, but there was never any trace of panic in their ranks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Gardaí and IFA issue a joint appeal on summer road safety

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Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche

GARDAÍ and the IFA have issued a joint appeal to all road users to take extra care as the silage season gets under way across the country.

Silage harvesting started in many parts of Galway last week – and over the coming month, the sight of tractors and trailers on rural roads will be getting far more frequent.

Inspector Conor Madden, who is in charge of Galway Roads Policing, told the Farming Tribune that a bit of extra care and common-sense from all road users would go a long way towards preventing serious collisions on roads this summer.

“One thing I would ask farmers and contractors to consider is to try and get more experienced drivers working for them.

“Tractors have got faster and bigger – and they are also towing heavy loads of silage – so care and experience are a great help in terms of accident prevention,” Inspector Madden told the Farming Tribune.

He said that tractor drivers should always be aware of traffic building up behind them and to pull in and let these vehicles pass, where it was safe to do so.

“By the same token, other road users should always exercise extra care; drive that bit slower; and ‘pull in’ that bit more, when meeting tractors and heavy machinery.

“We all want to see everyone enjoying a safe summer on our roads – that extra bit of care, and consideration for other roads users can make a huge difference,” said Conor Madden.

He also advised motorists and tractor drivers to be acutely aware of pedestrians and cyclists on the roads during the summer season when more people would be out walking and cycling on the roads.

The IFA has also joined in on the road safety appeal with Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche asking all road users to exercise that extra bit of care and caution.

“We are renewing our annual appeal for motorists to be on the look out for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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