Cllr Padraig Conneely is ‘Donald Trump of Galway’

Trumped: Galway City councillor Padraig Conneely

Fine Gael County Councillors have been urged to rein in one of their city members, who was branded the Donald Trump of Galway over comments made about the County Cathaoirleach.

Sinn Féin’s Tom Healy condemned Galway City Council Padraig Conneely’s “disgusting” remarks at a budget meeting a fortnight about Galway County Council’s failure to pay towards the 2020 European City of Culture bid.

He said the Fine Gael representative had denigrated the County Council by saying it was broke and had paid scant regard for protocol by demanding County Cathaoirleach Michael Connolly stay out of the city for events until they coughed up their half share of the €1.8 million cost for the joint bid.

He asked that the Fine Gael members of the local authority relay the message to Cllr Conneely that those comments should be “redressed”.

Cllr Conneely likened Cllr Connolly to a “pop-up stand”, appearing at every Capital of Culture event in the city. Independent Cllr Tom Welby said Fine Gael should make him apologise for being “downright disrespectful” towards the county’s first citizen.

“He’s really the Donald Trump of Galway…he’s not a team player, he’s never been. He doesn’t like running mates.”

Fine Gael Councillor Eileen Mannion retorted that by raising the issue, the Council was “giving him oxygen” while fellow party Cllr Tom McHugh responded that they were not his “keeper”.

Independent Cllr James Charity while the remarks by the representative for Galway City West were “outrageous”, they had perhaps made the best argument for an amalgamation of both Councils.

“The City Council owes a considerable amount of money to the County Council. I’d like to thank Cllr Conneely for highlighting that.”

Another Fine Gaeler, Joe Byrne, said if Cllr Conneely was the Donald Trump of councillors, “we’d want to be careful”.

The fact that the City Council official had admitted that they owed money going back to 2012 for shared services such as the fire brigade meant that “his rant became a good news story for the County Council.”

Cathaoirleach Connolly said he had only attended events he was invited while he and County Chief Executive Kevin Kelly had attended a meeting with the bid judges.

Mr Kelly said he would wait until the budget meeting to discuss all finances.

In response to a query from Cllr Tim Broderick (Ind) if the County Council would have to pay €3m towards preparing for the designation next year, he assured councillors it would not amount to this.