Galway Advertiser 1984/1984_06_07/GA_07061984_E1_014.pdf
JOYCE McGREEVY STAFFORD was lingering amongst the crowds listening and watching as the President's arrival was awaited . . .
No Sooner did he Appear than Suddenly he wasn't there . . .
9.30 a.m. of June 2nd, 1984, started off like an ordinary Saturday in Galway. " H a r d to know what this weather will do", a neighbour remarked. The streets were quiet, except for the e a r l y m o r n i n g s h o p p e r s . A few Gardai strolled among them. By 10.30 the weather had changed twice. One of the Corporation workers barricading parts of Woodquay pushed aside the roadblock to let some children pass. At odd corners, small clusters of Gardai stood with their arms folded, having a chat. At 11.30 a girl carrying a placard that read AID NOT ARMS waved at some friends across the road. A number of Garda patrol cars moved along Shop Street. At 12.30 it was bright but threatening rain. A 'man sorted out his bundles of plastic Irish and American flags. Several busloads of Gardai rounded Eyre Square. Ex-football players in starched d e n i m s and short sideburns watched passersby. At 1.30, after the torrential downpour, it was sunny and warm. People began to gather along the footpaths. Some leaned out of secondstorey windows. Armed guards stood atop Moon's Department Store and the Savoy Rollerskating Rink. At 2.00 p.m. the helicopters were in sight. The footpaths around Eyre Square were densely packed. The chief constituents of this crowd appeared to be Gardai, and babies in prams. With the exception of some spectators, practically e v e r y o n e e l s e was sporting a press card and a bewildered expression. Those people who filtered down towards the Courthouse found plenty of elbow room. At the foot of Eglinton Street, little girls in traditional costumes giggled nerv ously. Two of them went quickly through the steps they had been practising for weeks. "Isn't it a beautiful day for him, thank God", said an old woman. A young woman beside her remarked, "My husband was hoping it would pour down out of the heavens". "Iv'e no interest in politics", the old woman replied. A group of protestors crossed the street silently. Students, on their way to join with families, nuns, priests, academics and others. "Dole merchants", commented one gentle
Approximately 2,000 journalists from all over the world were in Galway last weekend to cover the Reagan visit. Such an invasion was an event in itself and our reporter Mary O'Connor joined some of them.
CLE. Did the Driving
The old slogan now more than ever it makes sense to "Let CLE. do the Driving", certainly proved to be true over the weekend. C L E . were asked by the American Embassy and the Dept. for Foreign Affairs, to arrange all surface transport for U.S.I.S. (United States Informa tion Services). To look after these people 21 coaches, 3 minibuses, 8 sedans, and 7 baggage trucks were provided and a round the clock transport service was available to the Inter national Press. Emmett Cotter, Area Road Pass enger Manager with CLE. in Galway, who organised the operation in conjunction with Paddy Ryan, Area Freight Manager, said "people were asked to do the impossible and they responded. No matter what they were asked to do many employees cancelled holidays to be available for work at the weekend". He compli mented the Gardai who did a marvellous job to ensure that all provincial services could operate as normal with just a small route change for any buses scheduled to enter the City via College Road, while normal services operated in the City until one o'clock on the Saturday. A special s h u t t l e service was provided between the Great Southern Hotel and the Corrib Great Southern Hotel for the 300 Press persons who used the hotels as their base. Coaches were also provided for trips to Ashford, to the Woodquay Press Centre and to U.C.G. and in the midst of it all they also put on a tour to Clifden for the Press. Mr. Dermot Mellotte, Assistant Manager of the Great Southern Hotel described the hotel as "a World Press Centre" for the Whitehouse Press. The hotel expected to do much better food-wise, as the working Press went mostly for fast foods. The Americans were des cribed as super efficient and they expected the same super efficiency, and they were favourably impressed by the whole Galway operation
man who watched them pass. "Never did a real day's work in their lives. They don't even know what his policies are. I don't know what his policies are". No one wanted to discuss his policies much anyway. H e finished his typing and went back to the "I'm not against them", window but the rain showed no sign of said one woman. Oh, but stopping. The downpour was rattling against I don't support them". A the panes and the roof. For the hundredth time few ventured that the visit would be good for the he scanned the horizon anxiously. economy. A man selling An hour had passed. A voice at the end of the flags cut in with a Dublin room called " D e a n Brookes". "I'm back Sir" accent, "It's good for my he replied walking in the direction of his economy". editor. Most had come "for the A well set-up man, the editor The editor folded the article spectacle". "This is a drew himself up and twirled big day". "It's all very his silver flecked moustache into four. "You can go off if exciting, isn't it". "We with a soldierly gesture. you like". "And . . . my article . . . is it o.k.?" "Yes, drove all the way from "How about your copy?" he don't worry, I'll see you at S l i g o " . There were drawled letting his eyes eight o'clock. Then the several nods of agreement wander over the myriad newspaper chief bustled out when one man remarked, j o u r n a l i s t s w h o w e r e of the press room with an air "It's a momentous day in scurrying to and fro through of importance as if he was the various doors disappear local history. The last ing before he had time to about to write out a dispatch of gravest significance. time we had a visit like look at them properly. A total of 2,000 press people this was over 20 years ago. I wanted my two sons to "I just wrote about the had descended on Galway things I saw Sir" replied the for the President Reagan see this". His two sons American cub reporter visit. A White House Press were engaged in climbing obediently. "I was the one spokesman reported that a low fence behind the who was at Eyre Park, 200 of that figure belonged crowd. "Get down off of remember?" "Eyre Park, to the White House corps, that now. Come here to you sure about that? I think 500 comprised Irish media its Kennedy Park". The while the remainder were me". i n t e r n a t i o n a l s here to
editor with the Lou Grant
THE DAY THE JOURNALISTS INVADED GALWAY
desperately seeking an Irish media person to help him make sense of an Irish surname. "Is it a big O or a small O I put before the surname?" he implored frantically addressing the world at large. No reply. "Is it O'Reaghaligh, does that make sense to any one of you l o t ? " he begged patiently before some good natured soul saved the day. At the Great Southern Hotel r e p o r t e r s w a t c h e d the Reagan visit on screen and listened intently as he told of Irish monks and scholars who preserved scholastic achievement in the country. "He doesn't look 73, does he?" enquired a French reporter from the French l e a d i n g n e w s p a p e r La Matin. " H e has t h a t unmistakable Je ne sais quoi" he added in soft French tones.
F o r t u n a t e l y , n o t leanings replied in the everyone turned around confident tone of a man to look at the two boys. certain of his information. N o t e v e r y o n e was "Let's see what the official standing on the wrong city guide calls it" suggested side of the street or t h e y o u n g r e p o r t e r indulging, just then, in a agreeably. blink of the eye. Because The editor studies the young no sooner did he appear man's copy meticulously pausing occasionally to than suddenly he wasn't underline a significant there at all. "Was that it?" sentence or to prune a "Who"? "Mammy, I saw straggling paragraph. his fingers, Mammy"! As " Y o u d o n ' t g i v e an the limousine, and with it estimation of the crowd" he a momentous day in local t h u n d e r e d , s a v a g e l y history, vanished over the clenching a pen between two Salmon Weir Bridge, a rows of pearl white teeth. "How many times have I dozen or more staff cars told you . . . ?" and the editor sped after it, followed by rattled on with barely busloads of Gardai. concealed irration. A babble Meanshile the people of journalistic voices and a waved, the children c l a t t e r of t y p e w r i t e r s flapped their flags, and competed for attention. s o m e b o d y began to "They're bending my ear. explain something to the goddamn typewriters and dancers, all of whom were newsmen calling translantic" wailed the American looking mighty puzzled. editor. The young reporter A short time afterward tried to smile unconcernedly in a closed, formal but his courage evaporat-ed. you are Sir" he ceremony at the Univer "Right meekly. replied sity, Mayor Michael Leahy and his Councillors made President Ronald Reagan a freeman of who had waited for an Galway City. "This hour on the wrong side of entitles you to the same Eyre Square. " Y o u rights and privileges as know", he said, "When any other citizen", he Jack Kennedy came here announced. It seems 21 years ago, he just got unlikely, however, that out of the car and started any Galwegians will find walking around. Hands the President leaning up, he said, anyone with beside them at the Wolfe family in Boston, and we Tone Bridge, spitting all laughed and put up our companionably into the hands. Things were very river. They will probably different then". not bump into him on his By 3.30 the streets were way for a pint at one of the fairly thinned out. By 4.00 p.m. . . . "Wasn't it locals. "Very disappointing", incredible today"? said said the father of the two the n e i g h b o u r . " I b o y s , v o i c i n g t h e brought the washing in s e n t i m e n t s of most twice and I'd say it will spectators, surely of those rain again".
Reporters continued to view the Reagan visit on screen with interest. The President ial car was pulling away flanked by United States capture Galway for the Secret Service agents. A G a l w a y g a r d a passing world. through the press office observed "Watch the way VIEWED WITH the Secret Service men break INTEREST The ground floor of an into a r u n . And the office block was rented from m a r a t h o n i s n ' t u n t i l HGL O'Connor and Co. tomorrow". Architects at Woodquay Mary O'Connor. Court and converted into a press centre for Irish and cross channel press while the ballroom of the Great Southern Hotel was taken over by the White House to act as the United States press centre. T e l e c o m E i r e a n n had installed two of the most modern switchboards in the country entitled Sx200's in Galway with a total of 200 telephone lines and over eighty extensions at the Woodquay Centre. Telecom Eireann technician John Murphy stated that 200 lines were also installed at the Great Southern Hotel but these were mostly direct lines to the White House. He said that Telecom Eireann had commenced operations 12-15 days prior to the P r e s i d e n t ' s a r r i v a l in Galway and since the press office opened five Telecom Eireann men had been on duty in case of breakdowns. The media were ferried from press centre to press centre in free buses and trains. They spent most of Saturday morning exploring the city and mingling with each other at the press centres. While some went to the Sportsground, Eyre Square and U.C.G. to capture the atmosphere others remained at the press centres typing furiously and leafing through sheafs of press statements. Coffcs and teas were on hand to calm jarred nerves and cigarettes were lit in moments of inspiration. Woodquay Press Centre was a hive of activity. British reporters huddled together discussing deadlines and snappy intros. A "Sunday
MR. J. J. GAVIN P.C. -- a well-known person ality around Galway, with a Has in his pocket and camera in hi* hand h o p e f u l l y w a i t s to catch a glimpse of the President.
New York Times. London Daily Telegraph. Washington Post. London Financial Times. Durham Herald. Wall Street Journal. Die Welt. Houston Post. London Daily Mail. Yomiuri Newspaper. Los Angeles Times. Washington Times. Chicago Tribune. Detroit News. Time. Dallas Morning News. Boston Globe. Business Week. Chicago Sun-Times.
Some of the Newspapers Represented in Galway last Weekend
Boston Herald. Las Vegas Sun. N.Y. Daily News. Melbourne Age. Asahi Shimbun. W. German Radio. Reuters. NHK Japan Broadcasting. NBC; CBS; UPI; CNN; ABC; TV ASAHI. Nover News Service. Jiji Press. Radio N. de Espana. Australian Broadcasting. Hearst Newspapers. Nippon TV Network. Der Spiegel. Newsday. And over 1,800 others !