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Bradley Bytes

‘Bright sparks’ lock horns over how to spend a penny

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Padraig Conneely waits his turn at the new public convenience opposite the Cathedral.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

There are few bright sparks at City Hall. And there are quite a few up there well capable of talking sh**e.  Little wonder then that the latest bun-fight in the Council chamber relates to the electricity connection to a public toilet. We kid you not.

The toilet talk was instigated by City Councillor Pádraig ‘Potty-Mouth’ Conneely, who is known for having that special ability to talk through his backside; and Director of Services, Tom Connell, who wouldn’t exactly electrify the chamber with his monotone delivery.

Pádraig, a long-time campaigner for a public convenience at Earls Island, opposite Galway Cathedral, wanted to know why the toilet was installed but not yet open for business.

He was bursting to use it for weeks now, and apparently got caught short on a few occasions while its opening was delayed.

He attempted to tie Tom up in toilet paper knots over the delay, which was due to an ESB electricity connection.

Pádraig had contacted ESB, who, he said, were unaware that they were supposed to hook up the fancy bog. “That was the first they heard of it,” he thundered.

Puce with rage, the usually soft-spoken Tom, was taking no, eh, sh*t from Conneely, and uncharacteristically snorted back: “There remains an issue with the electricity connection . . . that was requested from ESB weeks ago. I’d like to know who exactly it was Cllr Conneely was talking to in ESB . . . he’s wrong.”

Pádraig was not happy with the charge for using the new toilet. “You have to pay 20 cent now to spend a penny,” he said, barely able to contain his laughter at his own joke.

Fianna Fáil’s Ollie Crowe, hinting at Padraig’s renowned ability to peel an orange in his pocket, retorted: “You won’t be paying for it anyway, that’s for sure!”

Pádraig, with a neck that would rival that of a giraffe, claimed credit for getting the ESB to connect the toilet; and he invited Tom to the official opening.

That was last week but as you can see from this shameless photograph sent to us by Pádraig’s PR people, Tom didn’t turn up at the ‘official’ unveiling of the new loo. Apparently he had better things to do.

Reports that the lavatory was blocked after Pádraig took the maiden dump in it could not be verified. But passersby have noticed a peculiar smell in the vicinity of the leithreas since he was last seen lurking there.

Meanwhile, Pádraig secured a special introductory offer for users of the new jacks.

“As a goodwill gesture there will be no cost to use the toilet for the first week which coincides with Galway Novena,” said Pádraig in his press release.

You couldn’t make it up.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Red faces for Greens over cuts to Galway City Council’s EV fleet

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Two Green Party members in the ruling pact on Galway City Council approved a local authority budget for 2023 that diverted money away from an investment in green transport.

The draft budget set out by Chief Executive Brendan McGrath and his financial team allocated €240,000 for ‘engineering improvements’, including a new electric fleet of vehicles for the local authority.

Green Party Councillors Martina O’Connor and Niall Murphy voted with their ruling pact colleagues (Fine Gael, Labour and Independents) to spend this money on projects other than the electric fleet changeover. Councillors outside the pact (Fianna Fáil, Social Democrat and Independents) backed it too.

McGrath had earmarked the money for an electric fleet to help meet Government targets to reduce greenhouse gases by 51% by 2030. Reducing fossil fuels through electric vehicles was one intervention that would allow the City Council to play its part for climate action, he said.

“Galway City Council has shown its commitment in reducing our reliant (sic) on fossil fuels and reducing our CO2 emission by purchasing eight fully electric vehicles in 2021.

“A further 12 EV vans will be added to our fleet in 2023. Trials are also underway in using alternative fuel oils in our road sweepers to improve the carbon footprint of our fleet,” the CE said.

That aspiration has been jeopardised by councillors’ cuts to money earmarked for electric vehicles next year.

The rationale, apparently, was that there is such a high demand for EVs nationally, Galway City Council might not be able to source the vehicles to upgrade its electric fleet and, therefore, the money would not be spent at all.

But where stands those emissions’ targets now that the ruling pact including the Green Party has diverted money earmarked for electric vehicles to other projects?

Not a good look for a party that was lecturing others during the Green Party convention in Athlone last weekend.

Photo: Niall Murphy of the Green Party – a member of the Council’s ruling pact that diverted money earmarked for electric vehicles to other projects.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the December 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Only 80 people signed Galway’s book of condolences for Queen 

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Only 80 people signed a book of condolences at City Hall in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.

The book was opened by the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Clodagh Higgins (FG), on September 12, four days after it was announced the United Kingdom and Commonwealth’s monarch had died. The condolences’ book closed a month later, on October 14.

It was available during normal opening hours during weekdays and so there were 25 working days in which the public could sign the book. It was not available to sign online.

Only 80 people bothered to go to City Hall to write a message in the book that has been sent to Buckingham Palace.

Classy Clodagh said she facilitated the gesture to allow members of the public in Galway to express messages of sympathy to the monarch’s family and subjects.

When she opened the book, and invited the public to sign it, Mayor Higgins said: “On behalf of Galway City Council, and the people of Galway, I would like to extend my sympathies to His Majesty King Charles, to the British Royal family, and to the British people and the members of the Commonwealth, on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Throughout her reign, of over 70 years, she demonstrated a commitment to duty and to public service. Her passing is the end of an era, and our thoughts are with all those feeling this loss at this sad time.”

Despite the popularity of Netflix series, The Crown, and Irish people’s fascination with Royal gossip and pageantry; despite large crowds thronging the city’s streets pre-Covid to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s grandchild, Prince William and his wife Kate, who visited Galway in 2020; and despite the fact that Irish people love a good funeral, something that was borne out by the record viewing figures for the Queen’s funeral on RTÉ, Galway people didn’t bother much to sympathise in the book of condolences.

A Council spokesperson said: “A physical Book of Condolences for Queen Elizabeth was opened by Mayor Clodagh Higgins, it contained approximately 80 entries. The book of condolences has now been sent to the Royal family.”

It will, no doubt, offer great comfort to them.

(Photo: Huge crowds turned out to meet Prince William and Kate when they visited Galway in March 2020. And huge numbers watched Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on TV recently. But only about 80 people signed a book of condolences at City Hall in her memory).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cyclist to be among riders in Galway’s local election?

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Galway City Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) goaded the Galway Cycling Campaign when he challenged them to run for election to City Hall.

The City East representative’s outburst on social media sort of summed up the general attitude some councillors have to campaigning cyclists: ‘If you think you could do better then go get elected.’

It’s not just Cheesy Cheevers. Many other city councillors privately believe those campaigners should put their names on a ballot sheet.

A ‘cycling candidate’ in 2024 seems unlikely, though. Not least because only a tiny proportion of the electorate will vote on the single issue of cycling infrastructure and road safety when choosing who to represent them on Galway City Council.

And also because many current councillors (think Colette Connolly, Owen Hanley, Martina O’Connor, Niall Murphy and others) already attract the support of the cycling lobby, while also offering a broader political agenda.

A Galway Cycling Campaign candidate could still emerge in the next year, though.

And part of the reason why Cheevers and others claimed that the cycling campaign was too focused on Salthill, (Eastside cycling was “not sexy enough”, was how Cheesy Cheevers put it), was because sitting councillors in City West believe their seats may be targeted by a cycling candidate in Salthill/Knocknacarra.

Sitting councillors believed that the Promenade cycleway campaign was used as a weapon to galvanise support not just for the cycleway, but also for a pro-cycling local election candidate.

That might be far-fetched. And, if true, it fairly back-fired on the cyclists with political ambitions. But Galway Cycling Campaign has a number of individuals who would not look out of place on a ballot paper.

Kevin Jennings, Chairperson of the Galway Cycling Campaign, is an obvious contender.

Some among the cycling campaign come across as militant, with tunnel-vision. Jennings isn’t one of them – and if he is, hides it well – and is perceived as more ‘palatable’ to a wider electorate.

Public Relations Officer Martina Callanan is a shrewd media operator, particularly on radio. She was courted by a political party previously, and might be persuaded to run under a ‘cycling flag’ in 2024.

Another ‘friendly face’ among the cycling community who might throw her hat in the ring, is Gráinne Faller. Another savvy media operator, mother and businesswoman, she instigated Sundays 4 Safety, a political protest, with a small ‘p’, that calls for improved road safety for all users. Her weekly gatherings prove she can call on a small army of canvassers.

Shane Foran, who as reported here recently, was involved in a public spat with Jennings, doesn’t appear to be interested in electoral politics but is one of the names mentioned as a possibility every now and again.

Others who might fit the bill are Oisín Ó Niadh and Eibhlín Seoighthe, although an interest in cycling and politics does not necessarily translate into becoming an election candidate.

Many of the potential candidates have somewhat off-putting Twitter and social media personas that don’t necessarily match their actual, real-life personalities. They’ll need to find a heretofore hidden pragmatism and be willing to compromise, if they succeed in getting into the corridors of power at City Hall.

(Photo: Gráinne Faller, a savvy media operator who instigated the Sundays 4 Safety protest, calling for improved safety for all road-users. Those weekly gatherings prove she could call on a small army of canvassers should she choose to run in the local elections).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the November 18 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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