Date Published: 10-May-2011
By Declan Tierney
In an unprecedented political manoeuvre, Councillor Padraig Conneely is set to become the Mayor of Galway for the second time in the space of four years.
The controversial Fine Gael councillor, who was at the centre of a recent ‘boycott’ by City Council officials, is set to deny party colleague Councillor Hildegarde Naughton her chance of becoming first citizen.
It was felt that because Cllr Conneely served as Mayor in 2008/2009, the next Fine Gael nominee for the top post would be Cllr Naughton, who fought the recent General Election and polled exceptionally well.
Under the terms of the ‘Mayoral Pact’ drawn up in 2009, it was agreed that Cllr Naughton should serve as Mayor for the 2011/12 term.
However, there is every possibility that she will not be given the opportunity to serve as Mayor during the current ‘lifespan’ of the Council, as it seems that Cllr Conneely has engaged in a separate deal with Council ‘rookie’ Frank Fahy, who was co-opted following Brian Walsh’s election to the Dáil.
Under the terms of the Mayoral Pact between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Independents, the first of five years was to be served by an Independent (Cllr Declan McDonnell in 2009/2010) the second by Fianna Fail (currently held by Cllr Michael Crowe), the third by Fine Gael (likely to be Cllr Conneely), the fourth by an Independent (widely expected to be Terry O’Flaherty) and the fifth by Fine Gael (likely to be Frank Fahy).
The move has angered supporters of Cllr Naughton – they believe that she deserves the honour and the profile of Mayor of Galway as she is certain to be a Fine Gael candidate in the next General Election.
But Cllr Conneely also had a desire for the job and in a ‘sweetheart’ deal with party colleague Frank Fahy, he looks certain to take over from outgoing Mayor Michael Crowe.
At a meeting of the three FG councillors a fortnight ago, councillors Naughton and Conneely expressed an interest in becoming the next Mayor. Frank Fahy indicated at that stage that he would be backing Conneely.
There was an expectation that Cllr Naughton would be the Fine Gael nomination, but it now seems as if Cllr Conneely has scuppered that prospect.
“I expressed an interest in becoming the next Mayor,” she told The Sentinel. “I know that there are two votes against me but nothing has been written in stone as yet.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.