Galway Advertiser 1994/1994_02_03/GA_03021994_E1_016.pdf
C O M M E N T
L E T T E R S
T h e G r o o m i n g of Gerry Adams
f you were watching the interview with Gerry Adams last weekend conducted by Brian Farrell, you'd really have to feel sorry for him. He really looked out of his depth, struggling hard, but with little success, to make his points, and desperately trying to lead the dis cussion back to a place where he was in control. After a while, no matter whether you agree or not, you felt like looking away. Perhaps at this point some clarification is required. The one we said you had to feel sorry for was Mr. Farrell, not Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams looked supremely confident. He looked good. He sounded good. If what he had to say was sometimes less than forthcoming, he certainly said it with convic tion and an appearance of sincerety that any mainstream politician would envy. Seated across from Brian Farrell, and dressed in a tasteful jacket, the leader of Sinn Fein was a model of propriety. With his designer glasses, his neatly trimed beard (echoes of all the Irish political leaders of the past who were bearded men) and nicely cut hair, he was reasonable, plausible, ar ticulate - you could not fault him. Mr. Farrell, by contrast, was like an old lion with his teeth removed. There was the occasional swish of the tail, once or twice he barred his non-existent teeth, but we have seen him harder on his old friend and colleague Garret Fitzgerald than on the unflappable Mr. Adams. There was, with the lifting of Section 31, always the danger of this kind of thing. That is one of the reasons so many people wanted it retained. But the fact that Mr. Adams, clearly an intelligent man and now, as we can see, an impressive spokesman for the party he leads, was able to run rings around a seasoned interviewer who never once caused his brow so much as to bead with anxious perspiration is no argument for censorship. The Galway Adver tiser, like many others, still believes that peace is possible, and if Mr. Adams can help in that process, so be it. But his views need to be questioned with much more forcefulness than we have so far seen. There is an old saying. that if you sup with the devil, make sure you use a long spoon. Mr. Farrell || seemed to be holding it for him.
Christianity in the West
Dear Sir, There is a controversy going on at the moment about an announcement in a parish newsletter in the West that couples who are "living together" are not allowed to go to Holy Communion. This leads me to write to you, to tell you of our experience in our own community. A young w o m a n , a neighbour, called Mary left her home and our village to go to England, a good number of years ago. There she met a nice young man, settled down, got manied and had a lovely family of three children. Nothing unusual in that! Many's the t i m e , h e r s e l f and h e r husband and the family came back on visits and holidays and everything was going well for them all. About six years ago, however, she returned home with the children, but without her husband and we all knew that things weren't well between them and that it hadn't worked out for them, unfortunately, and that they had separated. Vfc don't know the full story nor the full reasons but we do know that there was no animosity or bad feeling between them after it all. Mary always speaks well of her husband and we have met him since and he is still the sound man he always was. Before Mary went to England she was going out with another neighbour's lad and we all thought that they were going to be manied some day as they were made for each other. He was called Tom and he too was from an honest and h o n o u r a b l e family that no neighbour would say a bad word about. But Mary went to England and they didn't get manied. When Mary came back they couldn't but see and meet one another and as time went by you could see that their old relationship was being renewed. About eighteen months after coming home (and two weeks before her fortieth birthday) Mary along with her three children walked the two hundred yards down the road to Tom's house and there she lives to the present day. In one way we were all shocked and in another way we all thought that this was the way it was meant to be from the beginning. We were glad for Mary and Tom and the children and the second chance they all got. Another neighbour threw a surprise birthday party for her and it was a rare celebration in our village. T h e birthday presents were a bit unusual too - blankets, sheets, pots and even a canteen of cutlery. Mary is a good decent girl from good decent people who have lived in our village for God knows how many generations. Three years ago a new priest came to our church and he wasn't long here until he put a notice in the newsletter that unmarried couples living together could not go to Communion. There was only one such couple in our village and we were taken aback by the newsletter and the rule. The previous priest said nothing and in fact, knew Mary and Tom and their circumstances well. I met an old age pension woman, Anne whose family lived right beside Mary's for as long as anyone can remember. They were real good neighbours going back ages when neighbours meant that it was supposed to mean. And Anne said that we wouldn't be leaving one of our own as an outcast on the side of the road behind us and she'd see to that. So we left it to her because we knew she meant she'd do something right. Next Sunday at Mass, come Communion time we were waiting in wonder and fear to see what was going to happen. One eye on the priest and another on Anne and not forgetting Mary and Tom. And this is what the old woman did. She went up to Communion to the Eucharistic Minister and came down to the seat where she was sitting beside Mary and Tom, and quietly, solemnly and reverently took her own Communion in her hands and broke it in three parts and shared it with Mary and Tom. We had never seen anything so deeply and meaningfully holy done like what she did. We were completely in awe at the old woman had done. The same pattern has been followed ever since and if A n n e is not at Mass, whoever is sitting in the seat b e s i d e Mary and Tom carryout the ceremony of giving them Holy Communion. We nearly all have done it on one Sunday or another. There was talk for a while that maybe the Eucharistic Minister could give out three Communions and this seemed a good idea. It was thought to be good manners to ask the woman who started it all. She said "No, this is the way it's meant to be done. This is the way we always have done it. Shared the bit we had between us." So we always had. The priest will be gone in another three years. The rule may be gone after that, but good neighbours will stay good neighbours. Yours sincerely, Someone in a West of Ireland diocese. (Mary, Tom and Anne are not the real names).
FATHER OF MEDICAL FACULTY
r Nicholas Colahan who died in Galway in this week in 1890 was a man whose medical career spanned more than half a century. He was a native of Ballinasloe and graduated with an MD inthe University of Edinburgh in 1828 and was a Fellow of the Royal Society in that city.
End This W a r
he very positive developments in the whole fish farm, fish process ing and shell fish industries which giving such meaningful employment along the West and North West-Coast, (outlined in the Uduras Annual Review Page 21) has been side-lined to some extent by endless bickering between Salmon Farm interests and Sea Anglers. Salmon Farming, as indeed with land fanning, made mistakes initially un til a proper scientific understanding was grasped that certain chemicals can harm the environment if they are allowed drain carelessly into rivers; or lie piled up under the fish cages along our coast. All fanners recognise their responsibilities to the environment. Bad prac tices are quickly and willingly stopped. Farming organisations successfully encourage their members to follow a strict good practice code. It is the same with Sea Fanners, most of whom are biologists by training with an enthusiasm for their chosen profession. A respect for nature is synonymous with that calling. Most Salmon Farmers would be appalled to think their industry has lead to the demise of the unique sea trout now a rare visitor to our shores. The facts are that Salmon Farmers point to the decline of the Sea Trout in other areas such as England and Wales and say they still have no scientific proof that lice from fish farms have decamated the sea trout. The Sea Trout Anglers are equally adamant that farm lice is the cause. They point to the fact that where no fish farms exist there is no fish lice. Fish and shell-fish fanning could be the ideal industry along our coast. Last year in excess of 4,000 tonnes of salmon were harvested. Poor markets brought djssapointing prices; but its a quality food product and its all been sold. The first farmed Turbot is now coming on the market. There is a vast scallop industry in Cill Chiarain Bay, Connemara which will give valuable employment in future years. Surely the time has come for a truce to be called. There are problems with all intensive farming from time to time. Lets move the fish cages away from bays and estuaries with wild -fish rivers. Lets investigate the impact on land and rivers of the gross over-stocking of sheep in our wet countryside. Let the both sides in this negative war hold their fire until proper scientific research has been produced. And let the process begin as soon as possible.
He married a daughter of Dr. Whistler who practised in Galway and so he came to reside in the west. He soon had an extensive practice & became an idol of the poor. Dr. Whistler had been a pioneer in dealing with the effects of poor sani tation & the consequent epid emics which resulted from it. He had erected the Fever Hospital and Dr Colahan was to continue his work when he became medical officer to that institution. In the two great outbreaks of Cholera in 1832 and 1848 Colahan rendered signal service to the poor. Immediately on the opening of Queen's College Galway, a century and a half ago this year, he was appointed Professor of the Practice of Medicine and so may be considered the father of the Medical Faculty in the city. He held this chair until he retired in 1880 at which time he also retired from the position of senior medical officer of the Workhouse and Fever Hospital. During his later years his health was indifferent but he had the pleasure of seeing his family firmly established in the profession of which he was proud in the city of his adoption. His youngest son and namesake Nicholas Whistler Colahan, was a leading physician and surgeon and was medical officer to almost all the institutions in Galway, the County Infirmary and the workhouse and fever hospital and to bodies like the coastguard and constabulary services. He also like his father, was a professor in the medical faculty in the Queen's College. Another son was a senior medical officer in the British Colonial service and, at the time of his father's death, was Deputy Surgeon General and stationed in South Africa. During Dr. Nicholas Colahan's life the loyalty of Galway people to him was shown when the Dublin based officials tried to block his appointment to his post at the workhouse on the grounds that he was not qualified. It really was a petty piece of red tape which was being used to thwart him. However, he won out and lived out his days near Galway Bay on which his grandson was to compose a well known song.
And in Galway.
We have watched with great interest the debate con cerning the hardstand in Salthill, not just for the last few months, but over six years when it was first agreed that there would be a hardstand in each ward of the city. The hardstands in the North and East Wards are built and operating suc cessfully. Fears surrounding the Salthill hardstand in reality are groundless. For twenty years and more travellers have lived in dreadful conditions in our city. Some have received accomodaton yet forty families in Hillside are still waiting. They are heartened by the " w e l c o m e " that was ex tended by a few openhearted women in Salthill lately, themselves mothers who know how difficult it is to rear children, without added burdens. I do not think that people realize that no other hardstand can be made available to travellers until the South Ward hards tand is built. Is six years not long enough deciding on a "suitable site"? How could anyone watch sick grandparents, parents and children try to live without basic toilet facilities? Just think of the handicapped grandmother, the crippled youngster, and many others who try to do their best to s u r v i v e in these cir cumstances, picking their way across ditches and boulders in search of a 'private'. Where else would it be tolerated. It came as a shock to read that the two councillors who are representing our area were voting against the Salthill hardstand in the South Ward and now that there is a suitable site ap proved by the Corporation they are reported to be voting against it. We hope it is a mistaken report as they are not representing the views of the people of Balllybane who urge them to vote 'yes' and put an end to the 3rd world conditions in Hillside.
Thomas P. O'Neill
Yours Sincerely, Rose KeUy, Mary Bollard, 229 Castle park, Ball v bane.