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CITY TRIBUNE

Conflict aplenty at City Hall but no conflict of interest!

Dara Bradley

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Independent City Councillor Noel Larkin . . . in the wars but no conflict of interest

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley 

If the ruling rainbow pact was trying to ‘pull a fast one’ at Monday’s City Council meeting, it backfired.
Councillors in the mayoral pact agreed to take non-contentious items 2b and 2c first and then, rather than reverting to 1a, they jumped to 4c, which proved to be very contentious.
Item 4c involved ‘filling of vacancy on a committee or approved body’; aka ‘jobs for the boys’ – or in this case, ‘girls’, too.
The report that was circulated said Noel Larkin (Ind), had resigned from the HSE West Regional Health Forum. And the rainbow pact had decided that Martina O’Connor (Greens) would take his place. It said Martina had resigned from the Joint Policing Committee (JPC); and the pact said Noel would take her place.
Declan McDonnell, Noel’s buddy, proposed the change; Pauline O’Reilly, Martina’s chum, seconded it. All was well with the world, and they could move on . . . or so they thought.
A number of councillors hadn’t even arrived in the chamber (it started at 11am, far earlier than usual, to facilitate elected members who were travelling to Lansdowne Road for Republic of Ireland soccer match) when 4c was discussed.
So, the fact that the pact tried to take it as the third item, even though there were several, more important items ahead of it on the agenda, aroused suspicion of one councillor.
Ollie Crowe (FF) smelt a rat. And he nearly self-combusted sniffing it out.
Ollie is ten and a half years on the Council, and never before has a councillor stepped down so soon (less than six months) after being appointed to a body, and without saying why. “Can we have an explanation why he’s stepping down?” Ollie requested.
Deputy Mayor Donal Lyons, ‘King of Knocknacarra’, said, “anyone can step down; they don’t have to give a reason.”
“Is there a conflict of interest?” asked Ollie, several times. “It’s undermining the role of the Council.” The King said there wasn’t.
“It’s not for you to decide what’s right or wrong,” snapped Ollie. Councillors from the Left and the Right were uniting to make a change to the HSE – that was the “first mistake”, he said. The second was not getting anything in writing from the HSE.
Niall ‘This is Politics’ McNelis (Lab) said the HSE agreed that Nurse Martina, as an HSE employee, could serve on the forum.
Ollie wasn’t satisfied. “Is there a conflict of interest?”, he repeated.
Now Noel ‘The Drone’ Larkin took umbrage, at “aspersions cast on my character”. Ollie replied: “I’m entitled to ask the question.”
“He said ‘he’, he said ‘he’, he’s referring to me,” said Noel.
The King said he, as chair, was “being very fair” to everyone. Noel didn’t agree and went nuclear – proposed a Section 50, a vote to sanction Ollie for “continuous disruption of the meeting”.
The pact left Noel hanging. He wanted a seconder. None was forthcoming.
Chief Executive Brendan McGrath confirmed there was no conflict of interest, but he hadn’t got it in writing from the HSE.
Ollie took his word for it, but still argued it wasn’t “normal procedure” for a person to resign a position without an explanation. He apologised, sort of, if he’d caused offence, which, sort of, placated, Noel.
Before voting (it passed 8-4), eagle-eyed Eddie Hoare (FG), wanted clarity on whether, “in six months’ time they (pact) can just decide to change again? The HSE is a public body, if we’re changing (members) every six months, where are we going?” Where indeed.

For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune 

CITY TRIBUNE

Council to consider new pedestrian ‘plaza’ for Galway City

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors will be asked next month to consider a sweeping overhaul of traffic flow in the city centre as the local authority seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly core in the wake of Covid-19.

Currently under proposal in City Hall are major alterations to traffic flow which will allow for restricted car access to Middle Street – creating additional outdoor seating space for businesses in the area struggling to cope amid social distancing requirements.

Senior Engineer at City Hall, Uinsinn Finn, said they are currently considering three different proposals to alter traffic flow on Merchants Road, Augustine Street and Flood Street to reduce the need for car access to Middle Street, while still maintaining access for residents.

“We already pedestrianised Cross Street and we will be maintaining that, and there will be a proposal for Middle Street and Augustine Street.

“Businesses in the area are very much in favour of pedestrianisation – one business has objections but the others are supportive. Another consideration is that there are residents there with parking spaces and we are trying to encourage people to live in the city centre,” said Mr Finn.

The Latin Quarter business group submitted proposals for the temporary pedestrianisation of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower but Mr Finn said the proposals the Council were considering were more in the line of creating adequate space for pedestrians while still allowing residents vehicular access.

This would involve creating a circuit for car traffic moving through Merchants Road around onto Augustine Street and exiting at Flood Street.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents want laneway closed following pipe bomb scare

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in part of Knocknacarra are calling for the closure of a laneway and for more Community Gardaí to be put on the beat following the discovery of a ‘viable’ pipe-bomb type device in the area last weekend.

Up to 13 homes in the Cimín Mór and Manor Court estates had to be evacuated on Friday evening last when the incendiary device was discovered by Gardaí concealed in an unlit laneway, leading to the emergency services being notified.

An Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit was called to the scene and removed the device – according to local residents and councillors, the Gardaí have confirmed that the device was viable.

Gardaí have declined to comment on the detail of the case but have confirmed that the matter is being ‘actively and vigorously investigated’.

Chairman of the Cimín Mór Residents’ Association, Pat McCarthy, told the Galway City Tribune that the discovery of the viable device on the narrow laneway that links their estate to Manor Court was extremely frightening for all concerned.

“For the best part of the past 20 years, we have been seeking action to be taken on this laneway which has been used for dumping and unsociable behaviour on a repeated basis.

“But what happened last Friday evening was really the last straw for us. This could have resulted in serious injury to innocent people and what is also of concern to us is how close this was to the two schools in the area,” said Mr McCarthy.

He said that over the coming days, the residents’ association would be petitioning all residents in the three estates concerned – the other two being Manor Court and Garraí Dhónaill – for action to be taken on the laneway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway designer’s necklace is fit for a princess!

Denise McNamara

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Kate Middleton wearing the necklace designed by Aisling O'Brien

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway jewellery designer is the latest to experience the ‘Kate effect’ after fans tracked down the woman who created a necklace for the Duchess of Cambridge which she has worn several times since it was gifted to her during her trip to the city last March.

Aisling O’Brien’s website crashed on Wednesday night when orders poured in for the piece from around the world. The necklace costs €109 with initials, while the earrings retail for €49.

“I’d never sold more than two things outside of Ireland before. I only had three of Kate’s necklaces in stock – and now I have orders for at least 50. I’ll have to start recruiting some elves,” laughs Aisling, who only set up her website during lockdown.

The 14-carat gold necklace and earrings set was designed by Aisling specially for Kate after examining her style – “understated, elegant, simplicity” is how the Tuam native describes it.

She was contacted about the commission by physiotherapist Thérèse Tully, who wanted to give the future queen a gift as she was using her room to change at Árus Bóthar na Trá beside Pearse Stadium when the royal couple were meeting with GAA teams.

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wearing the necklace)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the full details, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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