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Priests back Bishop ahead of Rome trip



Date Published: 22-Jan-2010

THE Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has confirmed he will travel to Rome next month after Pope Benedict XVI summoned Ireland’s Catholic Bishops to discuss the Church’s child clerical abuse scandals for the past 15 years.

The Pontiff called the meeting to address the anger and shock felt by Catholics in Ireland following the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports, which detailed a litany of horrific clerical abuse of children.

Although Bishop Drennan’s role as an Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin from 1997 to 2005, a period covered by the Murphy Report into clerical abuses in the Diocese, is likely to come under scrutiny during the Vatican visit, he remains adamant this week that he doesn’t need to resign.

A spokesperson for Bishop Drennan told the Galway City Tribune that his position hasn’t changed since before Christmas and is unlikely to change as a result of this meeting with the Pope. All of the priests of the Diocese are supportive of the Bishop’s position, the spokesperson insisted.

Bishop Drennan previously said that in his role as Auxiliary Bishop before he came to Galway he had not been fully informed of cases involving allegations against of abuse priests and that it was the then Archbishop Des Connell who made all major decisions.

He is one of five Auxiliary Bishops mentioned in the Murphy Report but the reference to him states that he correctly handled one particular case of allegations against one priest. The other four Auxiliary Bishops have all tendered their resignations to the Vatican.

“The visit to Rome has nothing to do with resignations. Bishop Drennan has taken his position before Christmas; it hasn’t changed and I wouldn’t expect anything like that (visit to Rome) will change his line,” his spokesperson said yesterday.

Bishop Drennan received the Vatican’s invitation on Tuesday and relayed the information to the Diocese’s priests at a meeting in the city later that evening. His spokesperson said reports in national press this week that the meeting was an emergency one, called by the Bishop, were erroneous.

“We had a meeting before Christmas to discuss it (Murphy and Ryan Report) and this week’s meeting was a planned meeting … it was just a follow up meeting. The priests were sympathetic of the Bishop before Christmas and they are still sympathetic of him,” he said.

Asked if some priests in Galway were not fully supportive the Bishop’s stance, he said: “I’ve no reason to believe that.”

Child protection policy, vetting procedures, pastoral plans and the involvement of lay people in the church as well as the Ryan and Murphy Report were discussed at the meeting which took place at St Mary’s College.

Meanwhile, Bishop Drennan is expected to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting convened by the Irish Bishops Conference in Maynooth this Friday to discuss the contents of the Pope’s Pastoral Letter ahead of their visit to Rome.

The pastoral letter, which represents a formal response by Pope Benedict to the church in Ireland’s clerical sex abuse crisis, will be one of the topics discussed during the two-day visit to the Vatican. Key meetings between the bishops and the Pope will take place on February 15 and 16, and several senior Vatican officials will also attend. It is expected that proposals on dealing with the fallout from the abuse scandal will be put forward, with conclusions offered by the pope.

The bishops will return to their dioceses for the Ash Wednesday liturgies on February 17 where they will address congregations on the way forward. Bishop Drennan met with Pope Benedict once before on an official visit to the Vatican a couple of years ago.

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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