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CITY TRIBUNE

Catherine and Noel’s election ‘war chests’

Dara Bradley

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Bradley Bytes – A political column with Dara Bradley

Three Galway Independent TDs have built up a nice little war chest ahead of the next general election, which is expected within 12 months.

Independent Dáil Deputies are entitled to claim an annual allowance of €37,037 for expenses, “arising from parliamentary activities, including research”.

The allowance is not subject to income tax, and if it’s not used up in the year it is claimed, it can carry forward to the following year.

Obviously, the money isn’t supposed to be used on re-election campaigns per se.

But it can be used on policy formation, consultants’ services, technical or specialist advice, including PR, polling or public attitude sampling, and entertainment.

And all of these broad headings, for which the Parliament Activities Allowance is payable, would be capable of generating votes for Independents.

Sean Canney, the Galway East Junior Minister, hit the headlines last month for his Standards in Public Office (SIPO) returns, showing he spent quite a bit of his allowance on wining and dining in fancy restaurants. Canney got €37,037, but spent €43,164.95 – because he had some funding brought forward from the previous year.

Galway West TDs Catherine Connolly and Noel Grealish, and Roscommon Galway TD, Denis Naughten, were savvier with their spending, however.

Naughten spent just €20,000 last year, and carried forward €51,000 to this year.

Connolly spent €35,000 last year, and carried forward €50,000.

Grealish spent €27,000, and carried forward €47,000 to this year.

When their leftovers are added to their Parliament Activities Allowance allocation of €37,037 for this year, it means they’ve the guts of €85,000 each to spend on ‘parliamentary activities’ in 2019, with an election on the horizon. Not bad if you can get it!

Remember that when Independents play the poor mouth.

Déjà vu for Minister Canney

Galway East TD, Sean Canney, a junior minister, got two bites of the cherry when claiming credit for the State’s purchase of the Gate Lodge at Portumna Castle . . . for more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

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

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Election 2020

Labour fails to make up ground

Stephen Corrigan

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Galway West Labour Party candidate Niall McNelis and his wife Aideen at the Galway West count centre on Monday morning.

On the canvass three weeks ahead of the election, Cllr Níall McNelis told the Galway City Tribune he believed Labour’s time “on the bold step” had come to an end.

But as soon as ballot boxes were opened on Sunday morning, it became apparent that wasn’t the case. In fact, the first preference vote share for Labour in Michael D Higgins’ former constituency had decreased to just 3% – a further decline from the 5% Derek Nolan managed in 2016.

Labour’s hammering wasn’t contained to Galway and it’s clear they haven’t been forgiven for their time in Government with Fine Gael. Nonetheless, Cllr McNelis said he was “devastated” by the result when he visited the count centre on Monday morning.

He’d been eliminated on the fourth count the day before, having received 1,548 first preferences.

“I was at home yesterday – I was devastated, gutted, but I know it’s not personal. The party is in trouble and we’re going to have to look at that. The unions have left us and they’re voting for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Fine Gael. That was our core vote; we were a workers’ party once upon a time.

“We were the party that fought for marriage equality long before anybody else – the SocDems have taken that mantel off us; the repeal of the 8th Amendment, we were the ones who fought for that,” said Cllr McNelis.

“The Left vote is very, very crowded here in Galway so [Labour is] going to have to regroup and reorganise. I have to explain what Níall does a bit more. The result that we got, people have been ringing me and saying, ‘Níall, we’re sorry, it was Labour and not Níall’.”

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

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moloney and Parsons grab vital tries for Ireland in Six Nations victory

Keith Kelly

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Kilconly native and Irish prop Cliodhna Moloney leading this charge against Wales during Sunday's Six Nations clash at Energia Park. Moloney and her fellow Galwegian Beibhinn Parson both scored tries in the home team's 31-12 victory.

IRELAND’S women’s side has opened its Six Nations campaign with back-to-back wins, with two Galwegians to the fore in their 31-12 victory over Wales in horrific weather conditions in Dublin last Sunday.

Having began the campaign with an 18-14 success against Scotland, Adam Grigg’s side made it two wins from two when seeing off the Welsh challenge thanks in no small part to tries in the second successive game from both Ballinasloe’s Beibhinn Parsons, and Cliodhna Moloney from Kilconly, near Tuam.

Parsons received huge plaudits for a sensational try against Scotland on the opening weekend of the championship, her length-of-field solo effort helping Ireland to a narrow win. She crossed the whitewash for a second successive game last weekend, and while it wasn’t quite the lung-bursting length-of-pitch effort from the Scotland game, it was another excellent execution by the Leaving Cert student.

Welsh scrum-half Keira Bevans launched a box-kick from just outside her 22 that held up in the wind. The ball bounced once before Parsons gathered possession on the left wing, broke through one tackle, and side-stepped two more before touching down to give Ireland a 5-0 lead in the 17th minute.

“She’s phenomenal,” said Griggs after the game. “You try and help her with her game understanding and her skill level, but the x-factor that she brings is all her.

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

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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