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Bradley Bytes

Baa Baa Black Sheep – a delicacy for Dev Óg

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There was nothing baaaaa-d about Éamonn Ó Cuív's observations on categorising sheep.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Things escalated at a Dáil committee this week amid fears of discrimination against sheep.

And Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív was accused of ‘racism’ to a certain breed.

Dev Óg said at a committee meeting on organic food, that “rather than selling Connemara hill lamb and Kerry hill lamb, why not have a Wild Atlantic Way hill lamb?”.

A fair enough suggestion. But not if you’re Independent Senator Mary Ann O’Brien, founder of Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates, who showed her ignorance of woollen animals during the following exchange.

Heckling, the female Willy Wonka, said: “Why not have Wicklow hill lamb?”

Sheep expert, Dev Óg replied: “Do not mind that; those are all Cheviot crosses. They are not the purebred blackface mountain lamb. They will sell anyway in the normal market. There is no a problem selling them. I am talking about blackface lamb.”

Mary Bo-Peep, more heckling, asked: “What about the Waterford Comeragh?”

She was told to stop interrupting. Dev Óg ploughed on: “It is the blackface purebred that is the problem, because achieving the weight is a major challenge here with the blackface.”

To which Mary, bizarrely interjected: “Racism”. The Dáil stenographers didn’t add an exclamation mark so we presume she was serious.

Dev Óg continued . . . and lest anyone be under the impression that the Connemara-based former minister does actually have prejudices against black-faced sheep, fear not: he’s a fan.

After Dev Óg finished his crusade about labelling sheep, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris said: “A blackface sheep”, before Mary, again interrupted – does she ever stop, asks you – and corrected him: “Wild blackface sheep”.

Ferris: “I have five of them in my freezer”.

Dev Óg: “They are very tasty”.

Ferris: “Beautiful. There is nothing like it”.

A hint for Dev Óg next time he’s discussing black-faced sheep and needs to silence the lamb called Mary: ask her to pass the mint sauce, Fava beans and a nice Chianti.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Classy Clodagh will need to know her ABCs when she takes mayoral chains

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Councillors will resume deliberations on the City Draft Development Plan in June. And if the recently-agreed County Development Plan is anything to go by, Mayor in Waiting (MIW) Clodagh Higgins will need to have her ABCs in order to deal with the baptism of fire awaiting her.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Galway City Councillors will resume deliberations on the Draft City Development Plan in June, which means two things: long meetings and an even longer list of abbreviations.

The former is a given when rezoning of land is at play; the latter is also likely if the City Plan mirrors the recently-agreed County Development Plan which contained an alphabet soup of shortened phrases.

From ABTA (Area Based Transport Assessment) to MASP (Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan), NWSMP (National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan) to GCTPS (Galway County Transport and Planning Study), and GCMA (Galway County Metropolitan Area) to UFP (Urban Framework Plan) to name but a few, County Councillors were bombarded with shorthand as they compiled a new Development Plan.

And that’s before you mention the myriad of organisations OPR (Office of Planning Regulator), OPW (Office of Public Works), NTA (National Transport Authority), TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) who were making submissions about MAs (Material Alterations), WWTP (Waste Water Treatment Plants), LAPs (Local Area Plans), and LTP (Local Transport Plans) etcetera.

County Councillors needed qualifications in abbreviations and gobbledegook just to keep up with it all; many are now suffering a sort of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the DTs (Delirium Tremens) or AWD (Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium) since they finalised the plan, but that’s all due to withdrawal from abbreviations rather than alcohol.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Apology means invite ‘snub’ is water under the bridge!

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

As apologies go, this was fairly grovelling. An admission, too, that all is not well in the corridors of power at City Hall.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, this week wrote an apology to councillors, who felt snubbed for not being invited to a sod-turning event in the city. Though he took full responsibility, he also confirmed that staff turnover at College Road contributed to the error.

Here’s the low-down. On Tuesday, April 26, Minister Hildegarde Naughton, with shovel in hand for the cameras, officially turned the sod to signify construction was beginning on the new Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge. The City Council was a part-funder of the project, but Councillors were not invited to the ceremony; a big break in tradition.

It’s the custom that the democratically elected representatives of the people are invited to the opening of envelopes. Sod-turnings are big business in the world of local politics and to snub councillors, by not inviting them, is akin to heresy in this game.

Procedure committee meeting minutes show that former Mayor, Frank Fahy (FG), chair of the Council’s Transport Strategic Policy Committee, requested an apology for not getting invited to the bridge bash. And McGrath duly obliged.

“I apologise to you that you were not invited to the event,” Brendan began. “I also apologise to all city councillors who did not receive an invitation. All councillors should have received an invitation to the sod-turning. I apologise for any annoyance that the omission, for which I take full responsibility, may have caused to you and other members of the City Council.”

The CE blamed Covid-19 and “significant turnover in staff” for “an outflow of corporate memory regarding events”.

Sod-turnings haven’t happened since before Covid-19, he said. And the Council hasn’t updated its procedures around such events since Covid-19. “As a direct consequence of staff turnover and the lack of an updated written procedure, councillors, erroneously, were not informed of the event.”

Offering again his “sincere apologies and regret for the omission”, he promised that “where such events take place in the future, councillors will be informed and will be invited to attend”.

The apology means the Salmon Weir saga is now water under the bridge. But some councillors remain miffed about another, separate snub. Elected members claimed not to have been invited to the unveiling of Patricia Forde’s poetry plaque on Church Lane/Market Street during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature in April.

They’re still waiting for the Council to say ‘sorry’ for that, ahem, oversight.

(Photo: Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD with City CE Brendan McGrath as she turned the sod on the Salmon Weir pedestrian bridge. The CE subsequently wrote to the chair of the Council’s Transport SPC Frank Fahy as he, along with other councillors, had not been invited to the event).

This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. See this week’s Galway City Tribune for more. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

The top three worst junctions in Galway City!

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Let’s face it, Galway wasn’t built for cars. It’s not particularly friendly for pedestrians or cyclists either. The Galway City Ring Road may help – if it’s ever built. And some minor improvements are being made to encourage cycling and more walking. The Bypass project is very controversial and we won’t rehash the arguments here. But change is difficult, even minor change. So reducing speed limits in Renmore might seem sensible to planners sitting at a desk, but it isn’t necessarily welcomed by those living in the area who have to navigate the change. It’s the same with cycling infrastructure. Everyone favours cycle lanes until these take away on-street parking from outside their home, or along the Prom.

Whether you travel by private car, bus, bicycle or foot, there are several junctions and stretches of road or footpath that drive us all cracked.

Here are three of the worst, in descending order, marked on a scale of one-to-ten, with 10 being the worst.

Feel free to email your own worst junctions.

3) Kirwan Junction 

No prizes for guessing one of the top-three most awful junctions in Galway City is the Kirwan Junction, the most talked about since the shambles of a changeover of the Moneenageisha Roundabout to “intelligent traffic lights” a decade ago.

The new Kirwan has attracted an avalanche of complaints – formally to the Council but also on social media and anecdotally. Most people are angry that the junction has made tailbacks worse, not better.

And even cyclists and pedestrians aren’t pleased with it – improvements for these users had been one of the selling points when a majority of Councillors voted for change.

Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) has repeatedly complained about the new junction, and in November called for a full audit to be carried out on this and other junctions where tailbacks are regularly reported.

Galway County Councillor James Charity (Ind) described the new junction as “nothing short of a disaster”, which was causing tailbacks on the N84 Headford Road. He told planners to ‘go back to the drawing board’ to improve the flow of traffic at Kirwan.

Rating: 7/10

This is a shortened preview version of Bradley Bytes. See the May 6 edition of the Galway City Tribune for more. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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