Councillors conspicuously absent from cost of living ‘crisis’ meeting


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Councillors conspicuously absent from cost of living ‘crisis’ meeting Councillors conspicuously absent from cost of living ‘crisis’ meeting

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

About 60 people attended the Western Hotel on Monday night, for a public meeting about the cost of living and housing crises facing Galway.

Organised by left-leaning lobbyists, Cost of Living Coalition Galway, it lasted about 90-minutes.

Conspicuous by their absence were almost all of Galway’s elected representatives.

Sinn Féin TD in the Galway West constituency, Mairéad Farrell, was a guest speaker and was there for two-thirds of it, before skipping off to another engagement.

But no other Oireachtas representative (TD or Senator) showed up, although Leas-Cheann Comhairle Catherine Connolly (Ind) was listed in literature as supporting the campaign.

According to one of the organisers, Adrian Curran, a local rep for People Before Profit, all of Galway’s TDs were contacted about the event, which was used to rally support for a cost-of-living demonstration in Dublin on Saturday, September 24, three days before the Budget.

None of the 18 Galway City councillors showed up either.

Lorraine Lally, volunteer with Galway branch of Access for All, who chaired the meeting, said she didn’t want to name names.

But she said a number of councillors politely made their excuses – there was a City Council meeting they had to attend from early afternoon on Monday, and some had been working prior to the Council meeting. Another event on top of that would’ve been too taxing, they said.

The Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins (FG) told Lally that she had a prior engagement – honouring the All-Ireland winning Galway Intermediate camogie team with a reception at City Hall.

Curran wasn’t so kind. He told the meeting he contacted all city councillors but only one replied. That was the Green Party’s Niall Murphy who, Curran claimed, had informed him he wouldn’t attend because he didn’t support the coalition’s aims.

In his absence, Murphy missed many insults from the floor, including that the Greens were Thatcherites. Councillor Niall McNelis’ ears must have been burning, too – attendees labelled Labour more right-wing now than the main parties they had coalesced with, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who predictably also got lambasted.

The Cost-of-Living Coalition Galway, which has the support of students’ unions and some trade unions, is planning more events, which councillors cannot ignore forever.

As Farrell and the Socialist Party’s Conor Burke revealed, the group wants communities to replicate the water charges rebellion, and ‘rise up’ to demand action on cutting the cost of living.

(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: Mairéad Farrell (SF) was a guest speaker at a public meeting on the cost-of-living and housing crises, at the Western Hotel on Monday. She was the only Oireachtas member to attend. City councillors, also invited, were absent too. Adrian Curran of People before Profit is beside her).

This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 16 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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