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Profligate days over as it’s back to the old ways to secure car loans



Date Published: {J}

Times may change but priorities amongst young people don’t vary much and the lure of owning their first car is one that is certainly one that figures in the top five of wish lists. So great is the desire at the moment to own a car – preferably a modified one – that even Leaving Cert students are mobile now.

The only difference between now and say 20 or 30 years ago is that younger people seem to have more access to money and of course this was evidenced by what happened in the Celtic Tiger era when the country seemed to have more money that they knew what to do with it. We were nearly tripping over the stuff.

Many moons ago when the desire of owning a car sent the pulses racing, I was earning a bit of money, had got the hang of the three point turn, dreamed of driving the highways and byways of County Galway with the elbow stuck out of a rolled down window and excitedly embarked on the quest for a dream machine that was within my budget.

It was not a sort of decision that could be done in a day, a week or even a fortnight at the time. A lot of consideration had to be given to this monumental purchase as it was about to be the biggest financial outlay since the acquisition of a Duran Duran LP. This was serious stuff and one that couldn’t be treated with any small degree of complacency.

Once the heart was set on the sky blue two door Opel Kadette, there was no going back. This was the ultimate babe machine and it was only a matter of signing on the dotted line . . . well, once the finances had been sorted out, of course. The delirium of owning my first car was soon replaced by a sense of deflation and humiliation when I went to source the two grand or so needed for the purchase.

My options were finance houses which cost the earth in interest rates or my local bank or credit union. I opted for the friendly bank and, not having an account apart from one in the post office, I duly made an appointment to see a chap with a grey suit in the naïve belief that he would hand over the loot on the spot, I would agree to make monthly repayment and I would drive off into the sunset.

Instead the middle aged man behind the desk, who greeted me with a scowl and never looked up during the course of our conversation, told me two dozen reasons why he couldn’t give me the loan and as many more about why I shouldn’t be asking for it in the first place. He told me the implications about missing a repayment . . . how I would be hauled before the courts and be humiliated in front of my friends, family and neighbours.

In the end he said that in order to obtain the loan, I would need people of substantial property or savings to act as guarantor in the event of me welching on the deal, losing my job or leaving the country never to be seen again. There were times that I felt as if I as asking him for money out of his own wallet. I felt as if I was begging for it.

Having left that bank both a chastened and almost frightened young man, the funds were eventually sourced in a credit union without any hassle but the good had been taken out of the transaction. It was for these same reasons that anyone buying a house at the time had to source their finance from Galway County Council at monumental interest rates because the banks were saying no.

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

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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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