Supporting Opinion

Bike brigade get bitchy over cycling campaign!


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Bike brigade get bitchy over cycling campaign! Bike brigade get bitchy over cycling campaign!

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Members of the Galway Cycling Campaign have turned on themselves. It was only a matter of time really, wasn’t it?

Set up to badger for improved cycling infrastructure in the city, the group is dominated by cyclists with, ahem, strong personalities.

No stranger to spats with local politicians, it was inevitable they would clash among themselves at some stage.

Who knew it would be so public, though?

An internal row among bike enthusiasts has spilled into the public domain after all 18 Galway City councillors were copied on an email thread, which underlined fissures in the group’s objectives and modus operandi.

It starts with a measured email by Galway Cycling Campaign secretary, Neil O’Leary, who attempted to rebut claims by Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF), that the group is focused solely on Salthill because the east side is “not sexy enough”.

In it, O’Leary pointed to submissions the campaign made about cycling infrastructure out east. So far, so good.

Campaign chair Kevin Jennings replied that O’Leary’s email was “very good”.

Shane Foran, a committee member, described it as a “very comprehensive overview”.

That’s where agreement between Jennings and Foran ended, though.

Foran said the “public silence” from the campaign on Ballyloughane and Renmore cycling projects, “has been very obvious”.

He said he found himself in the “embarrassing position of having to explain to people like Councillor Terry O’Flaherty that I could not count on any public statements from the campaign because of the same apparent lack of interest”.

Foran then went on the offensive, with accusations against Jennings we won’t repeat here. In his emailed reply, Jennings claimed Foran’s analysis was “as usual . . . way off”.

Among other things, which again we won’t repeat, Jennings’ email said he was “getting tired” of Foran’s “constant petty sniping at me”.

Foran then copied Councillors on his even lengthier reply to Jennings.

“Since your letter includes claims regarding the motives of members of the elected City Council, I feel it is best to include them in my response,” Foran began.

“I feel it is important for our elected councillors to understand that when you make comments about them, this cannot be assumed to have the support of other committee members. I also think it helpful for the elected council to get an idea of the manner and tone which members (of) the campaign can expect to be treated by you if they try to maintain a dialogue,” Foran told Jennings on the email CCed to councillors.

Addressing “allegations of petty sniping”, Foran said that highlighting concerns was not sniping but “an accepted duty of any board or committee member”.

Jennings then wrote to councillors, expressing “regret” that they received an email from Foran “which seems to be addressed to me”.

“This is not how we usually carry out our business . . . I don’t really invite a response to this email and would prefer it be excused and forgotten as an embarrassing outburst,” he said.

Councillors were chuffed that cyclists’ ire was directed at each other, rather than elected members. As one former mayor confided, “it couldn’t happen to a nicer group”. Ouch!

(Photo: Shane Foran of Galway Cycling Campaign who is involved in a spat with fellow member Kevin Jennings about what he’s described as the group’s ‘public silence’ on Renmore and Ballyloughane cycling projects).

This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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