Galway Advertiser 1997/1997_06_12/GA_12061997_E1_020.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 1997/1997_06_12/GA_12061997_E1_020.pdf

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C o m m e n t & Letters


Election Aftermath

P r a i s e f o r assault o n litter
Dear Editor, Cairde congratulates the City Manager on his criticism of publicans who block the city pavements with beer barrels, and fly-by-night restaurants who deposit rubbish bags illegally. We welcome Joe Gavin's new litter Bye-Law, and look forward to vigorous enforcement in his efforts to improve our streets. As one further obvious measure to make Galway tidy, we now urge that all those xmas-light cables strung across the main street be speedily removed. For while these support wires do their part for the city during the xmas festive sea son, they dangle very derelict and ugly for the remaining 48 weeks of the year. At present some 30 of these now useless wires sag most untidily across Galway's main shopping street between Eason's and Eyre Square. They greatly degrade our archi tecture and main city streetscape, as for example at Lynch's Castle or the Moon's corner facade. For this year they should be taken down immediately, for succeeding years, along with their associated xmas lights. Likely by now most locals will have by now grown so accustomed to these dangling cables that they hardly notice them at all. Still their general untidiness must often strike the fresher gaze of tourists as they walk around. We therefore see the prompt removal of these xmas cables as one low-cost but high-profile measure to further tidy up our town. Cairde na Gaillimhe (Friends of Galway)


ne thing is immediately obvious in the aftermath of the General Election: M a r g a r e t Cox clearly has a very promising future in both local and, eventually, national politics. Her poll was unquestionably impressive for such a fledging candidate. With Maire Geoghegan Quinn off both the local and national scene, the fact that she is a young, intelligent and articulate woman gives her a competitive edge that should make for an interesting next couple of years. What some pundits called the greatest resurrection since Lazarus also took place in Galway West, with the poll-topping election of Frank Fahey. And no one could grudge him a victory which is both a personal and political triumph. He fought a hard cam paign, and if his big 'Thank You' posters that appeared after he had been elected made good political sense, those who know him will also acknowledge that it was also a genuinely appreciative gesture on the part of the newly-elected deputy. It goes with out saying that he deserves a minister's portfolio.

T r i b u t e to ' R e a l ' M i n i s t e r for A r t s
The greatest disappointment locally must surely be t h a t of Michael D Higgins, who only managed to secure the last seat in the final round of counting. Politics can be very cruel. As high as it lifts someone u p , so does it cast someone else down. And often with as little logic as the see-saw in a playground. Let us depart for a moment from our stance of neutrality. Michael D Higgins was given a rare opportunity by the previous Government, and one that is given to very few politicians in their careers, that of originating and defining the scope of a new cabinet position, that of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. And he filled it with distinc tion, bringing to what could be seen as just another job- as it very largely is in Britain - the soul and sensitivity of an artist, not just a placeman. Just as it will be almost impossible to find a successor to Mary Robinson as President of Ireland, so it will prove equally difficult to find someone who will bring to the posi tion the enthusiasm and appreciation, the concern and the capacity to understand the artist and what is required so that art - essential to the health of any society - can flour ish and enrich us all. In the spirit of the late Frank Hall's famous Pictorial Weekly, we shall continue to think of Michael D as the 'real* minister for arts and culture, and, in the meantime, congratulate him on the fine job he has done in highlighting the importance of art and artists during his time as minister.

Famine appeal
Dear Editor, The famine diary by Brendan O Cathaoir records the fol lowing event from May 31 1847. "Fr Whyte has just returned from administering the last rites to a man aged forty dying in his cabin. His wife was boiling weeds for their three children. 'We were getting the relief meal, we were struck off and now we have only these weeds to eat'. 'Can it be possible that man created in the image of the living God is forced to live on weeds?" On Friday May 30 1997 a newspaper reported Ms Kathi Zellweger of Caritas Hong Kong describing the scene in North Korea "to supplement their meagre diet people were mixing their rice in a soup containing any other ingredients they could find - roots, herbs, tree, bark, even sawdust". The similarities between these two reports, 150 years apart, are striking. In this, the 150th anniversary year of 'Black '47' it is extraordinary to think that the same famine scenario is being played out on the other side of the world. Surely there could be no better commemoration of our famine dead that that the people of Ireland would respond to this tragedy being faced by the people of North Korea at this time. In the coming weeks I intend to travel to that suffering country. The people I meet will want to know what I have brought with me to help them. Kind words and solidarity will not be enough in the face of starvation. It is not usual to appeal for support through the letters page of your newspaper. However, on this one occasion could I ask that a living memorial to our own famine dead, your readers might support Trocaire's famine appeal for North Korea. Our target is to provide food for 1,000 people for three months. It will be a small contri bution but significant if we can achieve it. With best wishes, Justin Kilcullen, Director Trocaire, 169 Booterstown Avenue, Blackrock, County Dublin.

A traditional realignment of the parties?
Another observation: allowing for the the scattering of independent parties, many of which contested the election on single issues, the final pattern of voting bears an uncanny resemblance to party alignments last seen in the 1970s: Fianna Fail as the largest party; Fine Gael as the next largest, with Labour a smaller but still significant third party. Furthermore, a number of the independents would be Fianna Fail under other circumstances, while the second left-of-centre party, Democratic Left, was virtually decimated. An embarrassing figure in the after math of the election showed Sinn Fein as nearly level with Democratic Left when it came to per centage polling strength nationwide. Finally, it is personally pleasing to note that the Envision Marketing / Galway Advertiser pre-election poll was as near as makes no difference to accurately predict ing the result in Galway West. Few would deny that the previous coalition provided this country with strong, sta ble, imaginative and coherent government; all of us owe to the outgoing ministers, to the Tanaiste. Dick Spring, and to the Taoiseach, John Bruton, a considerable debt of gratitude. To the new Government and the new Taoiseach Bertie Ahem, we extend our con gratulations and heartiest best wishes for the future, a future that will build on the suc cesses it inherits and the policies it originates that will make for a stronger, healthier and more productive Ireland.

M i k e E g a n says


Dear Editor, May I, through your letter column, take this opportunity to thank all those who supported me with their vote in the Galway-West constituency election last Friday. Thanking you, Mike Egan Sinn Fein Candidate


Blue Flag?

22 Shantalla Rd, Galway

M u t t o n Island - W h a t YOU think?


ne of the great missing pieces in the complicated puzzle of Galway's longrunning controversy about where to site the proposed sewage treatment facility has been the lack of any really firm objective account of how the ordinary man a n d woman in the street sees i t With the publication of the Envision Marketing / Galway Advertiser survey on the perception of local issues, a part of which a p p e a r s this week, there is now a chance to see what you think. The first significant conclusion is that almost 49 per cent of those questioned favour Mutton Island as the most suitable location. However. 30 per cent believe it should go elsewhere, while 8 per cent are not prepared to make an issue of its siting (with the implication that they simply want it to go someplace), and 13 per cent are 'don't knows'. The other findings should provide our local councillors with food for thought. A large majority of those surveyed - 59 per cent - are strongly in favour of locating the facility underground; further, an almost equivalant number - S3 per cent - are actual ly prepared to pay increased local taxes if it means the sewage facility will be placed underground. Interestingly. 55 per cent are in favour of a causeway joining Mutton Island with the mainland. The South Park location is decisively rejected, with 59 per cent giving it the thumbs down. The significance of this survey, as indicated earlier, lies in the fact that these are solid and reliable percentages. In the midst of court cases, bad tempers, and a distressingly smelly bay. w e can hear - maybe for the first time - what the citizens of Galway think about it.

Dear Editor, As a resident of Ardnamara one can only breath a sigh of relief that the General Election is over. Who in their wisdom designates a polling station at Scoil Ide which is situated in a cul-de-sac? The massive increase in population having to avail of this polling sta tion has resulted in traffic chaos to this area. Regularly during the day there were three lines of traffic which necessitated driving on footpaths, parking on foot paths, parking at gateways, and reversing into driveways. If an ambulance or fire-brigade was required valuable time would have been lost. To those responsible for the siting of polling stations, a rethink of this policy is strongly advisable. Finally, may I also point out that this area has two noentry sign posts at the entrance (except for residents), a factor which is ignored by both organisers and voters. Yours sincerely, Mary H Flanagan 15 A r d n a m a r a . Salthill.

Bad choice for Polling Station

Dear Editor, I am sure I'm not the only person in Galway to be shocked - no, stunned - at Salthill beach being awarded one of the coveted Blue Flags. 1 can only think the judges must have inspected the beach area and the water with close pegs on their noses and blindfolds covering their eyes. Blue Flag? 1 think the residents of Galway - still without a sewage treatment plant after so many years - are almost ready to hoist the white flag of surrender to the victorious gunge that has turned our lovely bay into a cess-pit. Shocked Galwegian



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 Galway Advertiser 1997 / 1997_06_12