When Galway was voted the world’s friendliest city, in a travel survey last year, we all patted ourselves on the back and tweeted how great we are.
Isn’t it a great little country all the same, we agreed smugly, having the lols and friendly banter with all those foreign visitors in our friendly little Irish pubs.
But when Galway minister, Sean Canney, said we have to find homes for a few dozen Syrians, there was an outpouring of bigotry and hatred of foreigners online.
What about the Irish homeless, the haters asked, as if they give two flying f**ks about anyone but themselves.
Welcome to Galway, a cultural capital, where the céad míle fáilte extends only to foreigners who are here on holidays, spending dollars and pounds in our shops.
But if you’re a Syrian fleeing your war-torn homeland, Galway raises its ugly racist head, and tells refugees: get to the back of the housing waiting list.
The spirit of Donald Trump lives in the City of the Tribes.
Chronic congestion curbs Cubbard’s Christmas cheer
We almost felt sorry for Galway City Councillor, Mike Cubbard, who moaned to his Facebook followers that it took him over 90 minutes to exit from level 5 of the Corrib Shopping Centre (Debenhams) car park last Sunday.
Cubbard, a former deputy mayor of the city, blamed the delays on the traffic management around the Christmas Market.
Eyre Square North is closed, he said, and this was pushing cars towards Bothár Irwin, instead of Eyre Street, causing “traffic chaos”.
He said it was “utter madness” to take out the taxi rank at Eyre Square, to facilitate the market.
Wasn’t it very observant of Mike, to diagnose the problem?
Nobody wants to be stuck trying to exit a car park for an hour and a half, but try not to feel too sorry for him.
Why? Because he’s a member of the Galway City Council Transportation and Infrastructure Strategic Policy Committee (SPC), which is charged with formulating policy in relation to traffic and transport in the city.
Perhaps a bit of foresight and forward planning from the Transport SPC could have prevented, or at least reduced, the congestion associated with the Christmas Market.
Concluding his rant, Mike said: “With four more weekends of shopping before Christmas I hope they can sort the problem asap!”
Indeed, and let’s hope the officials at City Hall responsible for traffic management do a better job that the policy-makers in the Transport SPC. Otherwise, driving home for Christmas will take that little bit longer.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.