Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley
If you think Galway City Councillors often behave like cabbages, you’d be right. But their County Council country cousins are no better.
They took a vote on the Local Property Tax, when less than half of the elected members were present on Monday.
That’s right, property tax is one of the biggest issues that Councillors can influence, and yet, only 19 out of 39 showed up to vote.
Fair enough if a few couldn’t make it, but 20 members missing is unforgiveable.
As well as some independents, the 12 Fianna Fáil Councillors were absent en masse.
Their excuse for being AWOL, according to Cllr Martina Kinnane, was they were busy discussing matters of national importance to the Gaeltacht. Her opponents laughed. Even her mortified colleagues blushed.
Everyone knew that this was a very polite way of saying Fianna Fáil were stuck in a side-room taking lumps out of each other, rowing over who was going to get the party nomination for the lucrative position of board member of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
FF cried foul. With faux outrage, they accused Fine Gael of pushing through the LPT vote. It was underhand and sneaky, they wailed. But it was all crocodile tears.
The reality was the vote was taken 40 minutes after FF should have been back from lunch. They got two texts, reminding them the meeting had resumed.
A cynic would say it suited them to be absent. The party’s head office told Councillors to vote against LPT hikes; but the mayoral pact and side-deal with their FG Civil War enemies means they must agree a budget. If you want to avoid a rock and hard place, don’t bother showing up.
The theory FF deliberately did not return to the room until the controversial vote was taken perhaps affords them too much smarts. Either that or it’s incompetence.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.